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.
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.
"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."
“‘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.”
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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 difficult."