'Dora' gains momentum on stage

Former 'Kochav Nolad' finalist Liron Lev is still entertainingthe crowds as Diego in this summer's live hit show 'Dora and the Pirates'.

dora 88 298 (photo credit: Courtesy )
dora 88 298
(photo credit: Courtesy )
You may not know Liron Lev's name, but you've almost certainly heard his voice. The 24-year-old actor came in fourth place during the second season of Kochav Nolad (A Star is Born), and has performed voice-over roles in over 150 TV shows and movies, including the voice of Tom Riddler in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In addition to dubbing Potter into Hebrew, Lev has also given his voice to characters in kid-hits such as Pokemon, Dragon Ball, and Chicken Little. To Israeli teens, however, he is best known as Ilan, a character in the first two seasons of the popular TV show, The Eight. Now Lev is adding another impressive role to his acting resume. As Diego, the second lead in Dora's Pirate Adventure, a live action musical that arrived on Israeli shores at the beginning of the month, Lev has found a new devoted fan base. With 90 million worldwide viewers watching the cartoonDora the Explorer daily and a revenue of $10 billion so far, it's no wonder the pre-schoolers everywhere are begging their parents for tickets. The live show already boasts 1200 performances in 170 cities. Now that Israel has cast the show with Hebrew speaking performers, the Dora phenomenon is only gaining momentum. The theatrical presentation stars the adventurous Latina heroine, Dora, along with her cousin Diego - a nature and science expert. Boots the monkey, Swiper the Fox, special helper Backpack, and all their colorful friends join the sea-faring journey to track down the Pirate Piggies and reclaim their stolen treasure. Capitalizing on the TV program's success, the show offers audience members the chance to help Dora solve a problem or puzzle by singing, counting, and dancing along with their favorite characters on stage. "Many famous and professional actors have tried out for the role of Diego," says Lev. Gip Hoppe, the international director of Dora, personally oversaw the auditions and was also pleased that Lev chose to accept the role, though Lev admits the decision wasn't so clear cut at first. Acting in a pre-school show didn't initially appeal to the singer, who is putting out his own album in the next few months and is more inclined to perform his own original work. "Dora does have its unique qualities, though," says Lev. "The kids get really drawn into the play, and it is fun to see them enjoy it so much." 'Dora and the Pirates' is running 36 consecutive times through August 8 at Tel Aviv's Ganei HaTa'arucha. Tickets cost NIS 170, but Mega costumers can purchase tickets for NIS 85.