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The Immigrant

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Andrew Wind (left) and Ken Clement Andrew Wind (left) and Ken Clement

The Stage Door Theatre in Coral Springs is staging an absolutely marvellous production of The Immigrant, a real-life story of playwright Mark Harelik's grandfather who emigrated to the U.S. as a Russain Jew in the early 20th century. First performed in 1985, the play has been seen by countless audiences over the years. It certainly resonated with the mostly elderly and largely Jewsih audience in Coral Springs, just west of Ft. Lauderdale.

The young actor Andrew Wind portrays Haskell Harelik, who is befriended by a couple in a small Texas town- they help set up his own dry goods store. The wife is portrayed with vividness and gusto by Janet Weakley. Her husband, a bank manager in the town, is portrayed by Ken Clement.

With the opinion many now have of the banking industry, it is always on the mind of the theatre-goer that Milton, played by Ken Clement, will turn out to be a secretely nasty type, luring Haskell into a joint business venture only to toss him out when the business goes well. But this is a homespun story where there is no evil. Milton and his wife have a heart of gold, and they both embrace Haskell's wife (played by Anne Chamberlain), who unexpectedly arrives from Russia once Haskell has enough money to buy her passage by land and sea.

The story spans several decades, right into World War II when Haskell's three sons join the US military. Pictures on the wall of the theatre set depict the actual people portrayed in the story, which elicited tears from many in the audience. A heart-warming story of struggle and love, the play, produced by Derelle Bunn, features a superb cast. For more information visit the website: stagedoortheatre.com.

Photo by Sharon Kersten

Clifford Cunningham

Dr. Clifford Cunningham is a planetary scientist. He earned his PhD in the history of astronomy at the University of Southern Queensland, and has undergraduate degrees in science and ancient history from the University of Waterloo. In 2014 he was named a contributor to Encyclopedia Britannica. He is the author of 14 books on asteroids and the history of science. In 1999 he appeared on the TV show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Asteroid 4276 was named in his honor in 1990 by the International Astronomical Union based on the recommendation of its bureau located at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

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