The Immigrant (musical)
|A New American Musical|
|Music||Steven M. Alper|
|Basis||Mark Harelik's The Immigrant|
In 1909, Haskell Harelik, a young Russian-Jewish man, steps out of steerage into the port city of Galveston, Texas. Speaking no English, he wrangles together a wheelbarrow and a bunch of bananas and heads north into the great interior. When he reaches the tiny rural community of Hamilton, deep in the heart of Texas, he can go no farther. Exhaustion drops him in the front yard of Milton and Ima Perry. Acting with Christian charity, Ima convinces her husband to give Haskell a room for the night, but when she finds out Haskell is a Jew, she has second thoughts.
Six weeks later, the young immigrant is still in their home. Milton summons Haskell to his office to give him his walking papers, but he gets caught up in Haskell's innocence and excitement about this "new land," and ends up loaning him money for a new horse and wagon. Haskell quickly prospers and Milton keeps giving him assistance against his better judgement. Meanwhile, it revealed that Haskell has indeed been sending money to his wife, Leah, in Russia.
When Ima finds out that a group of boys from town have attacked Haskell on the road, her view of what she considered her good Christian community is shaken, and Milton feels he's made himself a target in the town by helping Haskell. He sets Haskell up in a new grocery store, but when Leah arrives unexpectedly from Russia, Milton and Ima both feel taken advantage of.
Haskell and Leah have moved into the attic above the grocery. Haskell has made a home for himself in Hamilton, but what feels like freedom and promise to Haskell feels like a life of isolation to Leah. Haskell tries to comfort her, but she seems inconsolable.
Leah is pregnant with her first child, but is unhappy. Haskell sends her to visit the Perrys. Ima and Leah realize how much they have in common. While Leah's need for a mother and Ima's need for child bring them together, Haskell and Milton still can't settle their differences. Nonetheless, they form a father-son relationship.
Ima urges Milton to get baptized, but Milton refuses. Haskell and Leah have three more kids. However, when Haskell accidentally insults Milton during dinner, Milton storms out of the house. He isn't heard from for a long while, and Haskell goes to find him.
After Milton dies unbaptized, Ima is desolate and runs to Leah's arms for comfort. Haskell brings home a young sapling to plant in hope of their salvation. The story ends as Haskell, Ima, and Leah gather around the young tree, pressing their hopes and their faith into its new leaves, knowing it will outlive them all.
°On the cast recording, "Shabbos" is listed instead of "Safe and Sound".
The Immigrant: A New American Musical was developed off-off-Broadway at CAP-21 and appeared for a limited, two-week run at the CAP-21 Theatre in 2000. The cast featured Evan Pappas as Haskell Harelik, Jacqueline Antaramian as Leah Harelik, Walter Charles as Milton Perry, and Cass Morgan as Ima Perry.
A 2013 regional production of The Immigrant at Seven Angels Theatre  in Waterbury, Connecticut featured Max Bisantz as Haskell, Rita Markova as Leah, and Paul Blankenship as Milton. In this production, lyricist Sarah Knapp performed the role of Ima and composer Steven M. Alper served as musical director and conductor.
The show was directed by Randal Myler, with scenic design by Brian Webb, costume design by Willa Kim, lighting design by Don Darnutzer, and sound design by Peter Fitzgerald.
The show featured the same cast as the original production, though Adam Heller replaced Evan Pappas as Haskell. The Immigrant closed on November 28, 2004, after 29 performances. This production was nominated for two Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Book of a Musical and Outstanding Orchestrations.
Laura Hitchcock claimed, in her Curtain Up review, "Few musicals take on religious issues and rituals in such depth and Harelik does it with subtlety and without condescension." On the score, she said that "Alper and Knapp's music hauntingly utilizes the Klezmer and ethnic themes to project Haskell's roots." The New York Times review mentioned that The Immigrant is a "deeply satisfying new musical, with much on its mind about history, humanity, man and God and the American Dream, is beckoning to theatergoers with a taste for rich characters in a tale that touches the heart, glows with humor and soothes the ear."
- Elyse Sommer, A CurtainUp Review of The Immigrant. CurtainUp. November 28, 2004
- A NOTE FROM THE BOOKWRITER. The Immigrant
- THE CAP 21 THEATRE, The Immigrant, a new musical. The Knapp-Alper Pages
-  broadwayworld.com
-  "Seven Angels Theatre"
- Kenneth Jones. Tevye in Texas? Musical Immigrant Opens Nov. 4 at Off-Bway's Dodger Stages. Playbill. November 4, 2010.
- BroadwayWorld Philippines. The Immigrant. BroadwayWorld Show Database.
- Drama Desk Awards, 2005 nominations Archived 2008-07-04 at Archive.today. 2005/55th Drama Desk Awards
- Amazon.com. The Immigrant (A New American Musical). Original Cast Recording (2005)
- Notes. Reviews. The Immigrant.
- Laura Hitchcock, A CurtainUp Los Angeles Review of Immigrant. CurtainUp. April 5, 2008.
- Lawrence van Gelder. THEATER REVIEW; A Welcome to America That Touches All Bases. The New York Times, September 28, 2000