Kathleen Chalfant, Walter Charles and Lynn Cohen Will Appear in Readings of Mark Harelik's Texas Plays

By Adam Hetrick
February 11, 2013

Tony Award winner Kathleen Chalfant, Walter Charles, Lynn Cohen and Richard Topol will take part in staged readings of the American National Theatre's "Two-Thirds of a Texas Trilogy" Feb. 25 at the Clurman Theatre.



The plays include The Immigrant and The Legacy, or What the Jews Believe, both penned by actor-playwright Mark Harelik (The Normal Heart, The Light in the Piazza). Randal Myler will direct the 4 PM reading of The Immigrant, while Harelik will direct the 7:30 PM reading of Legacy.

In addition to Chalfant (Angels in America, Wit), Charles (Anything Goes), Cohen ("Sex and the City") and Topol (The Normal Heart), the readings will include Jacqueline Antaramian, Ronald Cohen and Russell Posner.

Here's a look at the plays:

The Immigrant. "Rural Central Texas, 1909: A young Russian-Jewish immigrant, newly arrived in America through the port of Galveston, pulls his banana cart into the hamlet of Hamilton. Fleeing the vicious pogroms of his homeland, he has left his sought refuge in the land of the free. Able to speak only Yiddish, alone in the midst of a staunchly Christian community, he begs for shelter. Over the next 30 years, he makes a home and raises a family in this tiny town. The Immigrant is the story of a young Russian-Jewish couple and the local couple that take them in, as religion meets religion, culture meets culture, fear meets fear, and love meets love. This is the true story of Haskell Harelik, the Immigrant."

The Legacy, or What the Jews Believe. "Rural Central Texas, 1962: The Immigrant's son, Dave, still lives in the old family home that his father built. The family is still the only Jewish family in this isolated country town. As his son Nathan faces the (to him) bizarre prospect of becoming Bar Mitzvah, his wife Rachel faces an even greater crisis of faith. As Dave encounters the remoteness of his community, and the even further distance from the faith of his father, his entire family faces the legacy left behind by their immigrant forebears: What do the Jews believe? This is a fictionalized account of the next generation of the family introduced in the Immigrant, and the 2nd play in Mark Harelik's unfinished Texas saga of one Jewish-American family."

Tickets are free. For reservations, e-mail info@americannationaltheatre.org, or phone (323) 252-8474. The Clurman Theatre is located at 410 West 42 Street.