Fuzzy heifetzss
New York | 1h 40m | Already closed

A Walk With Mr. Heifetz

From 12 critic and 138 member reviews
Members say: Intelligent, Slow, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Great acting

About the show

Based on true events, Primary Stages's world premiere drama tells the story of how music helped Israel find its cultural identity during its formative years. More…

In 1925, an unforgettable event occurred when Jascha Heifetz, the most celebrated violinist in the world, played a concert in pre-Israel Palestine. People flocked from all over the globe to see this performance, including Yehuda Sharett, composer and brother of future Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett. Legend has it that after the performance, Heifetz and Yehuda walked together and shared a remarkable conversation that resonated twenty years later when, in 1945, Moshe echoed Heifetz’s experience with his brother in a similar exchange that changed the world as we know it. 

Gotham Playgoer

"Well-intentioned but dramatically inert new play...It's all very high-minded, but, unfortunately, not very dramatic. The different accents of the two brothers interject a discordant note...There is a violinist whose occasional short passages were more of a distraction than an enhancement...Leynse's direction was unfussy...Primary Stages presented another that was more polemical than dramatic. While this play was a big improvement over the earlier one...it's time to seek a new direction." Full Review

Tablet Magazine

"All four cast members are riveting to watch, which is crucial considering that Inverne's characters do little more onstage than rail at one another - the variance doesn't seem to be in action so much as whether arguments take place outside or inside. Still, for a play that's simply a series of arguments, they can be compelling at times...The show's conclusions are rather pat, but as with Yehuda Sharett’s frequent walks, it can be more about the journey than the destination." Full Review

Front Row Center

"A seminar on the history of Israel that manages to be one-sided and absent of fireworks of any sort...Plot is nowhere to be found...No drama...The actors do the very best they can, but neither their work, nor the beautiful music, nor Leynse's direction are enough...Inverne intended this play to be a story that captured the passion of a people prepared to sacrifice anything to have a home. Instead he ended up with a play that has all the intrigue of a warm bowl of milk. A missed opportunity." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"Inverne's rather chatty and sedate drama about art, history, and politics...Its dramatic boiling point remains so high that it never escapes a certain quietude...Leynse's direction maintains a civil tone throughout, which may be a mistake...'A Walk with Mr. Heifetz' has a lot on its mind, and most of it is intelligently expressed, but it rarely rises to the level of drama. It's hard to believe in the transformative power of art when the drama onstage is so earnest and so given to speechmaking.' Full Review

The New York Times

"A play constructed for the sake of an argument...Mr. Inverne wants to make a point about the vital role of music in establishing a culture...But for all the biography in it, this play is an awkward amalgam of hastily sketched history, which will read clearly only to those who already know it, and stories told in detail to characters who would surely not be hearing them for the first time...A show that often aims much higher than it can reach." Full Review


"These are all astute observations made by a writer who has thought deeply about Israeli history and the role music had in shaping it. Inverne, however, forgets to infuse his thoughts with dramatic stakes to make his characters more than just mouthpieces for his reflections...Violinist Mariella Haubs is the most moving element of the production...It's a peek into the emotional dimensions the play could have explored, and a disappointing realization of how much was left on the table." Full Review


"Interesting but didactic...Leynse does what he can to keep our interest alive...The play's willingness to keep the three characters talking about the role the artist plays in nurturing and also empowering a nationalistic musical esthetic is, however, not quite enough to satisfy our thirst for more intense drama. It is fascinating to hear how the tune that was to become the Israeli national anthem was found. What hasn't been found is a compelling enough story to tie all the rhetoric together." Full Review


“Although an interesting idea, James Inverne's ‘A Walk With Mr. Heifetz’ has lofty ambitions which it is unable to fulfill. While the advertisement proclaims that these two encounters ‘changed the world as we know it,’ none of that comes through in the play. The thinness of the material and the two-dimensional characters fail to bring the story to life. Much more needs to be known or revealed to flesh out this intriguing but undramatized story.” Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"What little drama is present is overshadowed by historical and aesthetic issues…Plays can get away with talky, polemical considerations only when they're embedded in strong dramatic circumstances, with interesting characters. Here, the characters are little more than mouthpieces for ideas; just because they're embedded in the grand drama of Israel's birth or are accompanied by optimistic visions of the future, artistic and political, doesn't make them stageworthy." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"Although it is not clear why the onstage violinist is needed, her presence and playing are more pleasant than Mr. Inverne's dialogue between the two men...Underdeveloped characters become conduits for a playwright's polemic...More docudrama than drama...'A Walk with Mr. Heifetz' does not allow the actors or the director to exercise their craft within the parameters of a satisfying dramatic arc that provides a cathartic resolution." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"In his debut as a playwright, Inverne is able to convey his deeply-felt emotion about Israel but his characters are too simply drawn and he touches on too many themes. Despite a good performance by Yuval Boim as Yehuda, the character is distracting and seems unable to focus...It deals with many themes and often they become interwoven and too complicated...In a good historical drama you can actually learn something too." Full Review

This Week in New York Blog

"It's a very talky, didactic play, each act involving two characters arguing over theoretical propositions in dry, matter-of-fact ways, more of a debate than a piece of theater...There's little palpable tension and no conflict...An excuse for first-time playwright Inverne to share his views - which can be intriguing - but he and Leynse have left out any hint of drama...Haubs speaks beautifully with her violin; unfortunately, there is not nearly enough of the Juilliard graduate." Full Review

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting

See it if Wonderful acting, good writing, loved the story.

Don't see it if You have no interest in the history of the Jewish culture.

Clever, Quirky, Great staging

See it if you like Israeli history,if you like pivotal lesser known characters in Israeli history, if you like being transported in time to a kibbutz.

Don't see it if you like plays that spoon feed you, if you are uninterested in the Israeli politics of the 1930's and 1940's.

Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking, Interesting

See it if you're interested in a play that ties music with the formation of the State of Israel with personal stories.

Don't see it if you're impatient; you don't like talky plays.

Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if You want to know more about Heifetz.

Don't see it if History and biographical shows bore you.

Ambitious, Great acting, Relevant, Great staging

See it if you want to see some good acting a beautiful set, an interesting topic & some nice background violin work. Pre Israel, Israel ..the setting

Don't see it if you need a history lesson. It sometimes gets bogged down in the minutia.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Slow, Inadequate

See it if you are interested in the violent development of the Israeli state, the role of art in politics, the impact of grief, brotherly relationship

Don't see it if you're not interested in 20th century history of the Israeli state, don't know much about the Sharret brothers, not into Israeli music

Ambitious, Clever, Confusing, Entertaining

See it if You know about the History of Israel in 1926 and have a understanding of what transpired and you understand Hebrew.

Don't see it if If you are looking for an easy understanding of what is happening between characters.

Boring, Disappointing, Not surprised it's the playwright's 1st play, Fails to make us care

See it if you're strongly pro-Israel &/or would enjoy anything to do with Israeli history, even if the play itself is poorly written & constructed.

Don't see it if you want an interesting, cohesive play that gives you a reason to care about what's onstage, esp if you're not already strongly pro-Israel.

Also 1st act was poorly done, except for the violin playing. Actor playing ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Intelligent, Profound, Disappointing, Slow

See it if Covers an important time in world history, and gives an insight into the early days of Israel. I found the first act compelling.

Don't see it if But the second act was disappointing. It didn’t really go anywhere, and ultimately didn’t have much to say. However...

Also After the show, there was a mini-concert (which I understand they’ll b... Read more Read less

Indulgent, Slow, Dated

See it if You have an affection for all stories Jewish and WW2 -y

Don't see it if You are over easy tropes used to tell antiquated stories.


See it if you are so fascinated with the modern history of Palestine that you don't need much of a story. Acting was excellent but did not save it.

Don't see it if You require a basic plot and not just arm-waving about principles.

Disappointing, Cliched, Slow, Dated, Fluffy

See it if you really want to see something about the history of Israel/Zionism

Don't see it if you're looking for an interesting, engaging way to learn history. this is quite boring

Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if you're interested in seeing great acting

Don't see it if you are not interested in the historical perspective

Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Profound, Reflective

See it if You like character dramas; you love classical music, history, psychology, or exploring the depths of human experience

Don't see it if You aren't deep or contemplative, you don't care much for art or classical music or cultural or world history

Also Even more than a exploration of the role art can play in the formation... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Must see, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a life affirming play with two acts that book end World War 2 and how music has amazing healing abilities.

Don't see it if If you're only looking for musicals or trite fluff

Also The acting is phenomenal and the characters beyond believable. Some pe... Read more Read less

During previews
Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Must see

See it if Musicals are not your thing and a play with substance is what you are craving. Mr.Lochtefeld was superb .

Don't see it if A slow, finely acted bit of history is not what you wish to witness in your leisure time. To each his own, but it will be your loss !

During previews
Absorbing, Enchanting, Great acting, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if you like a bit of history, a bit of music, and some fine acting with a beautiful and moving story

Don't see it if you want something fast-paced or flashy.

During previews
Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Profound

See it if you appreciate great acting, intimate pieces in intimate spaces, and plays about the 'big issues' of life.

Don't see it if you like fluff pieces.

Also This gem needs to go to Broadway! A beautiful play, about the importan... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You like historical pieces about Israeli history in the early 1900s and post ww2. Acting excellent especially yehuda sharett.

Don't see it if If you don’t like a piece about the history of kibbutz music

Also Held my attention from the onset. Focus was on lesser know composer y.... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intense, Riveting

See it if You like historical drama, have Jewish or Israeli roots, or like shows based on music (Altho it is not exactly a musical)

Don't see it if You’re not into nonfiction, or if you’re looking for a fast moving plot.

During previews
Ambitious, Intense, Thought-provoking, Informative, Great script

See it if you like dramas based on factual material

Don't see it if you prefer something light and fluffy.

Also Quite well done. Very professional. The violinist is superb.

During previews
Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if You like GOOD DRAMA

Don't see it if You do not like very wordy drama.

During previews
Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You like plays of ideas and violin music

Don't see it if You are not interested in Israel or music and do not enjoy plays about ideas

During previews
Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Profound

See it if You are interested in the creation of the State of Israel. Thought provoking. Well acted.

Don't see it if You have no interest in Israel.

During previews
Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Profound

See it if you would like to see a poignant dramatization of how the beauty and power of music influenced the formation of Israel.

Don't see it if you prefer silly fluff to intelligent drama.

Cast & Creatives (10)