EMMY AWARD NOMINEE LAUREN AMBROSE AND ADAM KAUFMAN STAR IN "UNORTHODOX," A NEW "HALLMARK HALL OF FAME" PRESENTATION CURRENTLY IN PRODUCTION IN NEW YORK CITY AND WASHINGTON, D.C. FOR BROADCAST ON THE CBS TELEVISION NETWORK
Susie Essman ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"), Ricki Lake ("Hairspray," "China Beach")
And Academy Award and Golden Globe Award Winner
Mercedes Ruehl ("The Fisher King") Also Star
Emmy Award nominee Lauren Ambrose ("Six Feet Under") and Adam Kaufman ("Without a Trace") star in UNORTHODOX, a new "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation which is currently in production in New York City and Washington, D.C. for future broadcast on the CBS Television Network. This quirky love story revolves around the unexpected wedding and unconventional married life of a 26-year-old widow and her late husband's brother, a handsome 30-year-old cardiologist. Susie Essman ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"), Ricki Lake ("Hairspray," "China Beach") and Academy Award and Golden Globe Award winner Mercedes Ruehl ("The Fisher King") also star.
Jake Lever (Kaufman), a successful, 30-year-old Washington, D.C. doctor who seems to be living his dream, is stunned to learn of the death of his older brother, Benjamin. Jake and his mother, Janice (Ruehl), who are not religious, drifted apart from Benjamin after he moved away to become a rabbi and chose to devote nearly all of his time to his rabbinical duties and his faith. As a result, Jake and Janice are virtual strangers to Benjamin's young widow, Leah (Ambrose), and the other mourners in Benjamin's close-knit Hasidic community in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Already ill-at-ease in Benjamin's world, Jake is shocked when he is asked to honor an ancient Levirate marriage law. As a single man, he's expected to marry the childless Leah to carry on Benjamin's name...or else deny his brother's existence in a ceremony that will release them from this generally un-enforced Jewish law.
Despite his serious relationship with a beautiful surgeon, Carol (Christy Pusz), Jake finds it unthinkable to deny his brother's existence and impulsively suggests he and Leah marry and maintain a secretly platonic relationship in Washington, D.C. Leah gladly accepts as a means of finally pursuing her own dreams without offending her very traditional and domineering mother, Malka (Essman).
Jake and Leah's oversimplified plan to live separate lives out of Jake's two-bedroom apartment proves to be more challenging than anticipated, especially when Leah's suspicious mother shows up unexpectedly. The harder they work to disguise their "pretend" marriage, the more their real love for each other grows.
Ricki Lake portrays Gerry, the first female rabbi Leah has ever met, who invites Leah to join her temple in Washington, D.C.
UNORTHODOX is a Hallmark Hall of Fame production. Brent Shields ("Pictures of Hollis Woods") and Michael Besman ("About Schmidt") are the executive producers; Jeff Bleckner ("Boston Legal") is the director; P'nenah Goldstein wrote the script based on her play "Loving Leah."