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.

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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. 

Find tickets from $35

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Discount Codes

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Playbill Club
$35 - $55
through 3/04


For performances January 31-February 11
$35 (Reg. $70)

For performances February 13-February 25
$45 (Reg. $70)

For performances February 28-March 4
$55 (Reg. $70)

Discount sites

Good discounts, but availability varies

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

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

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

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

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


“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

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's time to seek a new direction." 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

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

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

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

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

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

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


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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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 1040's.

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.

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
Intelligent, Confusing, Disappointing, Overrated, Slow

See it if you can endure talk, talk, talk without much point. Whatever the underlying intent was, it did not make a statement or grab one's attention

Don't see it if You are looking for theater that makes you think about what is one the stage rather than what could have been. Missed opportunity

During previews
Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if You are interested in the history of Israel and its intersection with classical music

Don't see it if You want action or humor delivered in a traditional manner

Also This play made me think of the Sondheim quote "art isn't easy." Highli... Read more Read less

During previews
Intelligent, Banal, Disappointing, Slow, Well acted

See it if Despite good acting (esp Lochtefeld's Moshe) play is slow & legubrious Ostensibly about music its really about the creation of Isreali state

Don't see it if A didactic history lesson lacking drama. For a play concerning Jascha Heifetz & the creative power of music, its tone deaf

During previews
Cliched, Slow

See it if A so-so play that feels more like an essay on history. The violinist is good, wish there was more of her.

Don't see it if Not very well written or interesting the way the story is presented.

During previews
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Banal, Disappointing

See it if PREVIEW-cerebral play with reflective text emphasizing the gravitas of the events surrounding Heifetz & the time with Hobbs->musical scoring

Don't see it if Play never escapes heaviness of 1st act despite more traditional 2nd act; audience score can vary by 20 show score points depending upon vie

During previews
Heifetz should have stayed home; so should you

See it if OK concept: show how music is key to building the foundation of the new state of Israel; persuasive acting

Don't see it if concept not developed in coherent or compelling manner; historical characters spout cliches about music; violin accompaniment is meh

During previews

See it if you like theater made of endless static 2-person conversations

Don't see it if you don't like the above. Also if you expect a play about Heifetz. He's just the catalyst here.

During previews
Disappointing, Cliched, Insipid

See it if You want to hear beautiful violin playing and are interested in heifitz and history of israel

Don't see it if You do not like violin playing on stage and youre looking for a play with an interesting plot.

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing

See it if An intelligent play that imagine the conversations of men who have contributed to the birth of the state of Israel with their talent,

Don't see it if If you do not like intellectual conversation

Also and virtuosity (Mr. Heifetz); activism, and artistic creativity (Mr. Y... Read more Read less

During previews
Thought-provoking, Resonant, Slow

See it if a well-acted play about Israeli history and how important music can be might interest you

Don't see it if you want a more dramatic less talky play.

During previews
Absorbing, Ambitious, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great writing

See it if you are a history buff and enjoy fictional dramatizations of what might have occurred.The haunting melody in the background only enhances it

Don't see it if accents are hard for you to decipher or if you prefer your history not to be fictionalized or if large productions are preferred

During previews
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Slow, Good message

See it if You know it’s a dialogue piece. Teaches a little history and exposes you to emotions of the characters about Israel. Act 2 is quite moving.

Don't see it if Could use some drama, especially in the first act. I did enjoy the use of violin and message of your art having a positive effect on others.

Cast & Creatives (10)