PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: My Name Is Asher Lev Star Ari Brand
15 Jan 2013
Ari Brand, who plays the title role in Off-Broadway's My Name Is Asher Lev, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
Brand was cast in the 2009 production of Neil Simon's Broadway Bound, which never opened. His stage work also includes Black Tie (Primary Stages), Romeo and Juliet (Delacorte), My Name Is Asher Lev (Long Wharf), The Diary of Anne Frank (Westport Country Playhouse), Arabian Nights (Berkeley Rep, KC Rep), The Claw of the Schwa (MITF Award for Outstanding Actor in a One-Act) and the Vineyard Arts Project.
Full given name:
Ari Hillman Brand
Where you were born/where you were raised:
New York, NY
What your parents did/do for a living:
My father was a concert pianist, and my mother is a bassoonist and music teacher.
I have one brother, a clinical neuropsychologist.
I play a bunch of instruments. Also, I can name all the presidents in order. I won a box of Mike and Ike's for reciting them in my 4th grade history class.
Something you're REALLY bad at:
I'm terrible at remembering names.
First Broadway show you ever saw:
The Who's Tommy, when I was 9. I remember the gunshot made my heart jump, but I was enraptured by the idea of a rock musical and loved every second of it.
Did you have any particular mentors or inspirations when first starting out?
My theatre professor and advisor in college, a brilliant Russian director named Yuriy Kordinskiy, was particularly instrumental in my pursuing acting. Also, I might not be acting today if it weren't for my manager/fairy-godmother Ellen Novack.
If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be?
Mike Nichols' Waiting for Godot with Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Bill Irwin and F. Murray Abraham.
Current or recent shows you recommended to friends:
Sleep No More
Favorite showtune(s) of all time:
"Feed Me" from Little Shop of Horrors
Some favorite musicals:
West Side Story, Little Shop, The Fantasticks, Tommy, She Loves Me
Some favorite modern plays:
This Is Our Youth, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Lieutenant of Inishmore, Sight Unseen
Some favorite modern playwrights:
Kenny Lonergan, Martin McDonagh
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with:
Your personal acting idols, living or dead:
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Danny Kaye
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget:
David Cromer's Our Town
Music that makes you cry, any genre:
Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition"
MAC or PC?
Most played song on your iPod:
In the last few weeks, "Impossible Soul" by Sufjan Stevens
Upworthy, ESPN, NY Times, my baby niece's tumblr
Last book you read:
"The Art of Fielding" by Chad Harbach
Must-see TV show(s):
“Friday Night Lights”
Last good movie you saw:
“Weekend” -- an absolutely beautiful film by Andrew Haigh
Some films you consider classics:
“West Side Story” “Braveheart” “Spaceballs”
Performer you would drop everything to go see:
Pop culture guilty pleasure:
“Call Me Maybe” tribute videos
Three favorite cities:
New York, Rome, Berlin
First CD/Tape/LP you owned:
4 Non Blondes - "What's Up?"
First stage kiss:
As Georg Nowack in She Loves Me my sophomore year of high school. We had fake snow come down right when it happened, and one night it took a really long time for it to come dow… we had to wait there, lips locked. There are worse problems for a girl-crazy 16 year-old.
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager:
When I was 12 I was in an Off-Off-Broadway production of Macbeth, playing the two young boys, and the cast was so generous and welcoming. It introduced me to the kindness of a theatre company.
Holed up in a seedy motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert, two former lovers unpack the deep secrets and dark desires of their tangled relationship, passionately tearing each other apart. Led by director Daniel Aukin (Back Back Back at MTC, 4,000 Miles), Tony winner Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur at MTC, Born Yesterday) and Sam Rockwell (A Behanding in Spokane, The Way Way Back) bring an explosive intensity to Sam Shepard’s (Buried Child, True West) landmark myth of the new Wild West.