“The Immigrant” a worthy journey at Penguin Theatre


20160515-_dam5940_26451707934_oDonald Trump should see this one. A true story about a Russian Jewish immigrant who lands in Hamilton, Texas where there are no Jews, he speaks little English, turns his life around from selling one cent bananas from a wheelbarrow to building a business that should go on Shark Tank.

Author Mark Harelik writes about his grandfather, Haskell, in a loving way, and about the love story between him and his wife, Leah (Melissa Miller). Luckily Harelik sells his first bananas to Ima Perry, a real Texas woman (Tina Johnson) who is so impressed by him that she buys a whole wheelbarrow full. Her husband Milton Perry (Bill Phillips) is a good-old-boy banker and Haskell winds up renting a room their house. Haskell eventually sends for his wife and happiness spreads.

Although Milton Perry is initially reluctant, he winds up getting a mortgage loan for Haskell and his wife. It might sound easy Haskell overcame being shot at, a bullet hits his wheelbarrow, and Milton’s objections to him living in the Perry home.

He faces the realities of being an immigrant in Texas. This feel good drama includes a quarrel and a rift… but tells a true American story. This play is portrayed poignantly and with wonderful performances by Leibman, Johnson, Miller and Phillips.

Gutsiest Little Theatre on Crickettown Road has once again brought a timely play to its stage. It tells a story of how immigrants came to America. There are millions of success stories and of course there are some troublesome stories too.

But for an evening of professional theatre right here in Stony Point, I recommend “The Immigrant” at Penguin Rep and Rate it Three out of Four Stars. Joe Brancato, Penguins artist director has done it again.

“The Immigrant” runs weekends through June 20. Call 845-786-2873 or go to penguinrep.org.

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