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February 21, 1992 - Image 68

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-02-21

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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68

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 1992

JI

events in Mr. Morrow's life
have a Jewish accent to
them. The actor starred as a
Jewish youngster caught in
the cross hairs of the secular
and religious worlds in the
off-Broadway production of
Chaim Potok's The Chosen.
Mr. Morrow also was
chosen to play a teen coping
with Jewish guilt in Soulful

MICHAEL ELKIN

ASK MANAGER FOR DETAILS

• 15% Off on Sunday

Rob Morrow Gets
A Northern Exposure

Berkley

I

t was summer exposure
that turned "Northern
Exposure" into a blister-
ing CBS hit, a series set high
in the mythical Alaskan
mountains of Cicely, and
also standing near the top of
the Nielsen ratings, which
dictate its future.
In a rural retreat redolent
of redwoods and rubes,
"Northern Exposure" is
Everyman with ice down his
back. Cicely, Alaska, is a
town that time has not so
much forgotten as lost track
of.
Indeed, where the
creatively quirky "Twin
Peaks" made mountains out
of molehills, "Northern Ex-
posure" makes its moun-
tains stand on their own.
Into this pixilated but pic-
turesque postcard of a town
comes — reluctantly —Dr.
Joel Fleishman, a New York
physician plagued by con-
formity, a true misfit in a
place that offers wide lati-
tude and longitude to its ec-
centrics.
Dr. Fleishman is the an-
swer to the "what's wrong
with this picture?" question.
Sophisticated and slightly
arrogant, this strait-laced
city slicker is odd man out in
a town of free-thinking odd-
balls.
Forced to serve in Cicely as
a payback for debts he in-
curred as a med-school stu-
dent at Columbia Univer-
sity, Dr. Fleishman puts a
stethoscope to the town's
heartbeat and discovers it to
be highly irregular.
As played by actor Rob
Morrow, Dr. Fleishman
grates and grabs with a per-
sonality akin to scratching
fingernails on a chalkboard.
"What I like so much
about Joel is his curiosity,"
says Mr. Morrow. "He gets
so excited by so much."
Much as critics have
reacted to Mr. Morrow and
the prototypical Jewish
physician he portrays. Dr.
Fleishman has never met a
bagel he hasn't liked; in-
deed, "Exposure" fans know
that the East Coast doctor is
in constant search of those
water-wheel reminders of
home in a town whose
culinary staple is the
mooseburger.
Now, about those bagels
"It's become this giant
thing," says Mr. Morrow
with some exasperation in

Screams of a Chosen

Son, and as a member of a
Jewish family at odds with
itself in a production of The

Rob Morrow:
Out in the cold.

his voice. "It's beginning to
bug me."
Add a dab of cream cheese
and call it a smear cam-
paign? "This whole thing
started when I was out in
Seattle shooting and said
how much I miss New York
bagels. As a joke, my
girlfriend back in New York
sent me six dozen bagels
from Horn and Hardart."
That care package from
home hit home with the
show's producers. "They
heard what happened and
put it in the show."
Mr. Morrow grouses at the
ongoing storyline that has
Dr. Fleishman curing his
homesickness with a bite of
bagel.
But he has no problems at
all with the biting scripts
that paint a puckish picture
of Cicely.
Indeed, Mr. Morrow, much
of whose background is in
theater, enjoys Joel and the
wacky backwoodsmen and
women who make myth of
the show's sense of Alaska.
(Scenes are actually shot in
Roslyn, Wash., not that far
from Seattle and the
mischievous mishugas that
once beset the set of the ABC
series "Twin Peaks.")
While Dr. Joel doesn't
identify readily with the na-
tives of Cicely, Mr. Morrow
identifies himself as a Jew-
ish New Yorker proud of his
religion — "but not
necessarily practicing it" —
much like the good doctor he
plays.
Indeed, Mr. Morrow says
he thinks the focus on Dr.
Fleishman is more on his
New York roots than his
Jewish religion.
Ironically, some staged

Substance of Fire.
"I don't pursue characters
that have an agenda of
Judaism," says Mr. Morrow,
adding that "I gravitated
toward them for their quali-
ty parts."
Quality is part and parcel
of Mr. Morrow's bio. A foun-
ding member of the non-
profit Naked Angels ensem-
ble of New York, Mr.
Morrow's work has been ac-
claimed in more than 35
productions.
Indeed, quality was a
major consideration in the
27-year-old actor's decision

Sophisticated and
slightly arrogant,
this strait-laced
city slicker is odd
man out in a town
of odd balls.

to gain some "Northern Ex-
posure."
"I was interested in it be-
cause it seemed to have more
integrity, intelligence and
nuance than the other
scripts that had come my
way."
Now, fame has found Rob
Morrow 3,000 miles away
from home. "I'm falling in
love with it out here," he
says of the Northwest, far
from the clatter and clutter
of New York.
But with it all, "I love New
York — in small doses," Mr.
Morrow says.
Certainly, some of what
makes the medicine go down
is the fact that Morrow and
his girlfriend, a producer,
share a pad in the big city.
They, of course, also share
an interest in the direction
of Dr. Joel's love life.
"She's comfortable with
it," says Mr. Morrow of his
mate's feelings about his
alter ego's entanglement
with the engaging Maggie
(Janine Turner).
His girlfriend "was wary
in the beginning — after all,
her boyfriend was going off

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