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Bar Mitzvah Boy

From 6 critic and 19 member reviews
Members say: Entertaining, Delightful, Funny, Great acting, Great singing

About the show

The bittersweet 1978 musical comedy about a young Jewish Londoner who runs away from his Bar Mitzvah comes to the York Theatre. The New York premiere of a new version first presented in London in 2016. More…

Looking at the adult world, Eliot Green doubts if he can cope with being a part of it, and runs away from the event into which his parents have poured their efforts and money. This story of a family’s anxious build up to their only son’s Bar Mitzvah will resonate with many Jewish families, but this tale aims to speak loudly for any important family occasion—whatever the religion.

The Musicals in Mufti Series presents three to five concert revival readings of underappreciated Broadway musicals for 10 performances each. "Mufti" means "in everyday clothes, without all the trappings of a large production," and each show is presented script-in-hand, with minimal staging.


“‘Bar Mitzvah Boy’ may not be a top-drawer Jule Styne musical, but Jack Rosenthal's original story and David Thompson's new book are well enough observed to have the ring of truth. The family chaos in planning the affair and problems precipitated by the son's behavior are sharply and shrewdly detailed enough to be absorbing in a way that all can relate to. Annette Jolles' production for The York Theatre Company gets a great deal out of the material without the trappings of a full production.” Full Review


"Reveals no rediscovered gem...But if the company has not managed to pull the rabbi out of the hat with this one, 'Bar Mitzvah Boy’s' place in the composer’s canon, along with a book that does a fine job of capturing all of the mishigas surrounding that mix of religious rite-of-passage and social event in the life of pretty much every 13-year-old Jewish boy, makes it a must-see for Styne fans or for seekers after elusive musicals." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"A slight but tuneful musical...Regrettably, even in a stripped-down production with an excellent cast and wall-to-wall Jule Styne melodies, 'Bar Mitzvah Boy' is paper-thin material and peopled with stock Jewish characters...This is not top-drawer Styne by any means, but there are some lovely musical moments in the show and make it well worth the visit...Unfortunately, Black's lyrics are not generally up to Styne's melodies...To a person the cast is completely winning." Full Review


"A light coming of age comedy...The cast here was on the whole...outstanding...Although the draw for this show is the score written by Styne...Don't expect to hear any songs that have survived on their own...The lyrics are largely unmemorable. That said, the show is heartwarming and incisive as a story of adolescence, Jewish or non, perhaps due to its pedigree as a play, rather than as a musical, and due to the talents of the cast in putting meat on the bones of their characters." Full Review


"This is exactly the kind of show that the York should be doing as part of its Musicals in Mufti series. It’s also pretty darned awful...It’s pretty clear that the authors were aiming for a show that was funny and heartwarming, and now and then we see faint glimmers of success in this regard...But the show gets weighed down in irritating family quirks and stock Jewish characterizations that feel like a Central Casting sampler." Full Review


"This small cast and the newly scripted version for the most part effectively tell a very simple story that follows a classic dramatic arc...'Bar Mitzvah Boy' is still familiar stuff and would benefit from losing at least ten minutes. It's still most appealing to Jewish theater goers and also Styne fans. But here's where I had my biggest problem with this Mufti take...With this production's overture and songs orchestrated by Loud for a single piano, this made judging this score even more diff... Full Review

Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining, Sensitive

See it if you like a story about family and tradition with a wonderful cast in addition to music by Jule Styne and Don Black.

Don't see it if you don't like hand-in-script performances although they can offer wonderful experiences with "old" musicals.

Entertaining, Intelligent, Refreshing, Thought-provoking, Clever

See it if you like a good story with an incredibly talented cast, so typical of the York Theatre productions

Don't see it if you need full, splashy productions

Great singing, Charming, sweet,, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a rare Jule styne performed originally in London's West End in 1976 about a 13 yo boy trying to understand what makes a man

Don't see it if you don't enjoy scaled down versions of big musicals that eliminate dancing and production numbers.

Delightful, Funny, Charming, Great writing

See it if you appreciate a charming, witty, intimate musical about family relations and traditions/

Don't see it if you only enjoy full-blown musical productions

Delightful, Great acting, Great singing, Fun, Intimate

See it if You like Jewish culture; if you liked Fiddler and Falsettos; if you want to discover a cute gem of a musical.

Don't see it if You don't like the Mufti's style of simple productions; if you don't like "undeveloped" projects; if you don't like cute/fun stories.

Also Such a wonderful and intimate, production, cast, characters, and singi... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Keeps your interest

See it if you are Jewish or have experienced a bar mitzvah. See it to understand more about what a 13-year old goes through on his special day.

Don't see it if Jewish themes do not interest you. Don't see it if you are expecting a full-blown musical.

Also Peyton Lusk, the 13-year old, playing the lead was fabulous. He was al... Read more Read less

Sweet, Pleasant, Fun, Entertaining, Cliched

See it if you're interested in Jule Styne's lesser known work and/or an enjoyable, if not dazzling show.

Don't see it if you're not interested in a story about a Bar Mitzvah gone awry.

Styne's music lifts british teen angst

See it if primarily of interest to Styne completists. Ben Fankhauser shines as the older sister's bf. Peyton Lusk is terrific in the title role.

Don't see it if British accents annoy you. Jewish family troubles are the same in London as in Brooklyn. Breezy -- well done. Piano only.

Great acting, Funny, Great singing, Entertaining, Great cast

See it if you enjoy seeing well acted rarely produced shows with good songs by famous composers.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy Jule Styne's music, older shows and/or shows dealing with religious rites of passage.

Entertaining, Funny, Well acted, Sweet and somewhat indulgent

See it if you can appreciate the pressures on a family in preparing for a catered event with more than 100 guests.

Don't see it if fail to see the universality of the situation, which in this case pertains to a Jewish family.

Stripped down musical about uk boy's bar mitzvah journey worth seeing primarily for jule styne's music

See it if Jule Styne could not write a bad melody; lyrics clever in a few songs; over course of performance show grows on you; professional cast

Don't see it if this is hokey, cliche-laden musical; performances somewhat rough/cast uses scripts; singing no more than passable; thin piano backup

Disappointing, Slow

See it if Want to see the full canon of Jule Styne shows.

Don't see it if Tired of cliched shows - dated and not very interesting characters

Very minor jules styne show.

See it if You are a big Jule Styne Fan.

Don't see it if You want to see a first rate musical.

Amateurish dull slow

See it if You like Tim Jerome who is excellent as the grandfather.

Don't see it if You want an interesting intelligent story about a bar mitzvah. This s not it. Story inane. Stock characters. Rhyming lyrics simple

Also Mother is miscast. Too old.. she could be grandmother and way too scre... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Hurtful!, Dated shallow script, Use better judgement & remove offensive racial slurs!, Minor music!

See it if U are friends/family/associates of this work. U are okay with mediocre script, forgettable music, stereotype roles & senseless racial slurs.

Don't see it if U value respect for people of all backgrounds. U believe God is about love & theater & artists should promote tolerance & healing NOT hate.

Also I saw the preview & was disappointed this mediocre revival play even w... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Refreshing, Delightful

See it if You want to see a touching story about growing up around your crazy family.

Don't see it if You are expecting a big broadway over the top musical.

Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Clever

See it if you want to see something funny and entertaining

Don't see it if you only want to see great sets in plays

During previews
Delightful, Entertaining, Sweet, Nostalgic

See it if You're interested in rare Jule Styne works, you've been Bar Mitzvah, or you know anyone who ever has been.

Don't see it if You need fully staged shows to be happy

Also This show was originally a full-scale lavish (and unsuccessful) produc... Read more Read less

During previews

See it if you are a Jule Styne completist

Don't see it if you are hoping for a musical with an absorbing plot and great music

Also Hallelujah Baby was such a pleasant surprise that this feels even more... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (15)