Ilana Levine

Q & A with with Ilana Levine, who starred as 'Rivkeh Lev' from 26 Feb - 09 Jun 2013 in the Off- Broadway production of Aaron Posner's My Name is Asher Lev, directed by Gordon Edelstein, which played at the Westside Theatre Upstairs from 08 Nov 2012 - 01 Sep 2013.

Place of birth?
Teaneck, New Jersey.

You now live in?
Brooklyn, New York.

Did you go to training school, if so which one?
I went to Fordham University at Lincoln Center but when I first started out I studied with a wonderful teacher, Gloria Maddox. Her wisdom and kindness remain with me always.

As an actor, do you have a preference for stage, tv or film?
My preference is to work!

Your first stage performance was?
Babe in Crimes of the Heart.

Career highlight to date?
There are many roles I've loved playing. My first television series was Tanner 88 for HBO and it was directed by Robert Altman and of course there was Lucy in You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown. The casts of both those projects remain life family to this day.

What's the best advice you have ever received?
Say “yes.”

What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage?
It was in summer stock. I was very young... There was a stage hand I liked and he was flirting with me backstage and I was so thrilled to have his attention that I missed my entrance.

What is the most annoying part about your job?
Leaving my children at night to go to the theater. They are still little and not getting to say good night and do our bedtime rituals is something that I miss terribly when I'm in a play.

Briefly tell us how you become involved with My Name Is Asher Lev?
Gordon Edelstein (the play's director) who I have known and respected for many years asked me to do the role. I am thrilled.

Briefly tell us about the character you play in My Name Is Asher Lev?
I play several roles - Rivkeh, the young mother of Asher Lev living in Hassidic Brooklyn in the 1950‘s. Anna, a sophisticated art dealer with an amazing eye for talent and great respect for artists who owns a prominent gallery in New York and a nude model.

If you had not become a performer, what might you have done instead?
I have no idea. I have been doing this for so long that it's hard to imagine another life. I have so many interests and passions and I spend a lot of time working with many not for profit organizations, trying to find a way to bring together those in need with people who have the means or time to give. This is something that brings me tremendous happiness.

Who are your favorite actors/actresses?
I am in awe of actors who also write. I wish i had the discipline to write. I have lots of notebooks filled with ideas and scenes but have yet to finish a script!

If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would you say to them?
I had the great pleasure of meeting and chatting with Barack Obama last summer. Hard to beat that.

Favorite after-show haunts?
Angus McIndoe.

What was the last Broadway show you saw?
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. All four actors give inspiring performances and I am so thrilled i got to see it.

What was the last book you read?
I just read the novel My Name is Asher Lev. It was beautiful and haunting. .

What was the last film you saw, and name some of your favorite movies? My husband and I got all the screeners of the nominated films this year so I have seen so many in the last few weeks that it’s a bit of a blur but the french films "Rust and Bone" and "Amour" were stand outs.

Favorite TV programs?
The Real Housewives franchise is my gulity pleasure and I am the president of the Downton Abbey fan club and of course, Nurse Jackie!

Favorite holiday destinations?
Anywhere my family is but we do spend every August on Martha’s Vineyard.

Do you have any superstitions?
I seem to knock wood an awful lot.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
My husband, my daughter and my son.

What are your future plans?
There is a play by the writer Stephen Belber that I did last summer at New York Stage and Film. There is talk of it having a future life and that would be thrilling. My husband ("Nurse Jackie" star Dominic Fumusa) is also in it and any chance to work together makes us very happy.