"But do remember Ari Brand, who plays the title role, a boy in 1950s Brooklyn who horrifies his Hasidic Jewish parents and community by becoming an artist. The Manhattan-born Mr. Brand appears on the Long Wharf main stage in a haunting performance as a child who grows into a man, suffering the torture of a talent that offends the world into which he was born... It is a blessing — a brakha? a mitzvah? — that Mr. Posner has given us so much of Mr. Potok’s language in Mr. Brand’s voice. "
"Brand is a charismatic anchor who grounds the show while reflecting Asher’s struggles. With his dark eyes burning, the young actor... brings a grave, sincere intensity to a character willing to sacrifice his culture and faith to follow his calling. It’s not the showiest performance of the year, but it may be one of the most affecting."
"a finely focused, deeply sincere Ari Brand... My Name Is Asher Lev is a simple statement of that simplest and most complicated thing — a person’s creation of him- (or her-) self, that all-important second birth that so many of us put off till adulthood (or death). You should see it, your children should see it, everyone should see it, from Williamsburg to Wasilla."
"And then there's Brand who is the rock solid center of the entire play. Much of the evening he is simply standing and talking to us. But Brand demonstrates a complete command of his voice and body, pushing the story along, creating tension and humor and anger and sadness with understated ease. Handsome and compelling, he's a genuine find; stumbling upon his talent full-blown makes you know how that art dealer felt when she first saw Asher's work. It doesn't happen often."
"On each night a different pair of actors is selected at random to improvise one scene. On the night I attended, Allen Gilmore... and Ari Brand (I especially liked him as the boy who literally goes blind when his love leaves his side) took turns describing the contents of a bag that they both claim to own. At times they were cracking up their colleagues on the stage, which did not feel at all unprofessional. Rather, it was a moment when actors and audience were entirely in synch, each enjoying the same spectacle and letting, if only for a bit, the barriers between seats and stage fall away."
"As Teddy, Ari Brand offers the evening's most intriguing performance, creating a young man in full flight from his heritage who nevertheless is informed by and respects it. Teddy's tentatively expressed fear that he may not be in love with his polar-opposite bride-to-be is considerably affecting in Brand's hands."