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Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story

From 101 member  reviews
Members say: Entertaining, Great singing, Clever, Quirky, Absorbing

About the show

59E59's genre-bending music-theater hybrid starring Klezmer-folk sensation Ben Caplan is about how to love after being broken by the horrors of war. More…

Inspired by the true stories of two Jewish Romanian refugees coming to Canada in 1908, 'Old Stock' is a high-energy concert woven together with a humorously dark folktale about refugees who get out before it's too late, and those who get out after it's too late. And it's about looking into the eyes of God. 

Member Reviews (101)


Entertaining, Great singing, Clever, Quirky, Absorbing
Avg Score

Ambitious, Entertaining, Intelligent

See it if If you like one act musicals with a talented artist in the show. If you like something different, a little corky but satisfying.

Don't see it if If you don't like an unconventional show or a show about immigrants.

Romantic, Intense, Intelligent, Moving, Relevant

See it if Persecuted jews immigrate to Canada around 1900 and make a life. Couple struggles w their relationship due to past traumas. Good music.

Don't see it if Graphic descriptions of violence and starvation in Europe. Lyrics of songs sometimes difficult to hear above the instruments.

Also Music is at

Thought-provoking, Romantic, Resonant, Unsentimental, Wry

See it if you think you might like your klezmer cut with a little bit of jugband--& just a pinch of Jewish ritual—sung by the Yiddish Tom Waits.

Don't see it if you want a full-blown book with your musical: here the drama is stripped down.

Also “Old Stock” alternates songs played in a thematically unified klezmer ... Read more Read less

Clever, Great staging, Entertaining, Relevant, Quirky

See it if you enjoy Klezmer music used to tell a refugee love story and immigrant experiences at the turn of the last century. Good staging.

Don't see it if you do not like Klezmer style music or story about immigrants.

Also Both sets of my grandparents escaped the pogroms to come to this count... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Entertaining, Quirky, Tender, Great singing

See it if Ben Caplan’s energy and talent soar; the band is great and the story is both heart warming and heart breaking. I was totally absorbed.

Don't see it if you don’t like jazz, rock and prayer with your Klezmer music; you don’t care for immigration stories or a musical sung mostly by one person.

Clever, Great singing, Relevant, Delightful

See it if you like shows that are a bit off center.This show is delightful.Very engaging performances.Story is told through song.Thoroughly enjoyable

Don't see it if you hate musicals, or don't like quirky inventive shows.This is a gem.

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intelligent, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if you are interested in a clever, quirky & relevant folk musical portraying historical experiences of refugees. Both funny/entertaining & sad

Don't see it if you don't like folk or klezmer music, are opposed to some expletive and raunchy lyrics, or disinterested in immigration and Jewish themes.

Depressing, Loud, Fine music, Typical immigrant story

See it if You like the Bengsons, or musical traveling shows, or stories about Jewish immigration to Canada.

Don't see it if You want to understand the over-miked lyrics, don't think endless references to sexual acts fit story, believe Canada welcomed immigrants.

Great singing, Intelligent, Masterful, Enchanting, Delightful

See it if your enjoy an interesting immigrant story with a message, combined with great Klezmer music and singing.

Don't see it if you don't like Jewish themes or music, or you are opposed to immigration.

Quirky, Raunchy, Intense, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a different take on the Jewish immigrant experience, sad stories, but then interspersed with odd, sometimes funny, songs.

Don't see it if You don’t like quirky songs that are sometimes crude and don’t always advance the story.

Enchanting, Entertaining, Great singing, Absorbing, Relevant

See it if You enjoy Klezmer-folk music. The music is fun and the story is kind of interspersed between songs.

Don't see it if Well, this is not a musical--it's more of a concert with a bit of a story interspersed. The story isn't enough to stand on its own.

Absorbing, Enchanting, Intense, Profound, Relevant

See it if You like klezmer and/or folk music. You are interested in the Jewish or immigrant experience. You like actor/musician shows.

Don't see it if You don't like "non-traditional theatre." It's more of a staged concert with scenes than a traditional book musical.

Also Maybe. But maybe not. But...maybe. This is the mantra of Old Stock. It... Read more Read less

Clever, Quirky, Intelligent, Great singing, Resonant

See it if you have any connection with Jewish immigrants (i.e grandparents); you enjoy excellent musicals done in a unique fashion

Don't see it if you can't bear to hear about the atrocities of war even if it's not the most important aspect; you can't relate to Jewish characters

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if You want to see a wonderfully enjoyable show with fantastic performers.

Don't see it if If you din’t Like Jewish music. There’s no reason not to see it.

Also The constant use of the word, “Fuck” took away from the play for me.

Great singing

See it if You're looking for a rousing score sung in by deliciously gruff voice of Ben Caplan , who is a captivating performer.

Don't see it if You're looking for a strong story arc.

Funny, Intelligent, Quirky, Great music, Touching

See it if Great music, touching story but narration sometimes too over indulgent and sophomoric with its own “cuteness” .

Don't see it if Do not like klezmer music and/or object to repeated overuse of sexual humor ( or heavy handed attempts at same).

Delightful, Enchanting, Great singing, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if for an original piece & historical events told creatively through song. Sad story told in delightful style

Don't see it if you don't like original theater,klezmer music. Don't want to be reminded of horrific truths

Worthwhile story, poorly told., Acting good, Music ok, Disappointing

See it if Two Jewish immigrants, fleeing Romanian pogroms, meet cute on a sick line upon their arrival in Canada. Book poorly written. Repetitive.

Don't see it if Lyrics badly rhymed. Too long at 85 mins. In the middle, a long prayer in Hebrew, for no reason. Epilogue suggests it's a true story

Also Narrator "The Wanderer" (played by author Ben Caplan as a Dave Malloy ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if I loved the innovation. The different take. The compelling characters. The familiar yet unfamiliar way the story is shared. So unique.

Don't see it if you are looking for a straight laced traditional telling of a depressing hopeful spirited tale.

Absorbing, Funny, Ambitious, Relevant

See it if You like klezmer music, immigrant stories, or Yiddish style theater (plays with songs, but not musicals).

Don't see it if Detailed descriptions of ethnic cleansing will trigger you.

Great singing, Great staging, Great writing, Relevant, Great acting

See it if you want to see a Canadian Jewish Immigration story with imaginative staging and great music. It needs a longer life in NYC.

Don't see it if you don't like a little too much foul language and some songs that go on a bit longer than necessary or you don't like immigrant stories.

Also I saw a preview at the Edinburgh synagogue last year. I am glad I fina... Read more Read less

Delightful, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if This show is like going to a Jewish wedding, bris and funeral with a happy ending and a lot of kezmer-type music. The force of nature that

Don't see it if Loud music and a Zero Mostel ‘I-am -the-star,’ leading performance leaves you cold. You could care less about a Jewish diaspora story.

Also is Ben Caplan, actor, singer, musician, co-music writer and show’s lea... Read more Read less

Dark, Entertaining, Great music, Raunchy

See it if You like shows led by strong personalities and great music. You like raunchy humor (a whole section is devoted to double-entendre).

Don't see it if you don't want a relentlessly depressing story, are looking for something romantic (this couple only barely works as a couple)

Clever, Inconsistent, Emotional, Thought-provoking

See it if You like klezmer music, heartbreaking stories about pogroms and immigration, and don't mind a raunchy, OTT narrator

Don't see it if You're easily offended by profanity or double entendre, or triggered by stories of violent death

Also The description of the show says it's "about looking into the eyes of ... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging, Clever

See it if you enjoy klezmer music and nostalgic jewish immigrant tales

Don't see it if you dislike loud klezmer music and one man shows.

March 19th, 2018
"A work of mingled genres and strong flavors...By and large Mr. Caplan is a noisy treasure...Overwritten, the book and lyrics both. It’s alternately sentimental and lewd and strains too hard for universality, spelling out its metaphors in marquee lights...Still, it succeeds. A near catastrophe te...
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March 20th, 2018
"Shows about immigrants are hardly new ground in theater, but they’re seldom as bewitching as the Canadian import 'Old Stock.' This quirky one-act musical—more like a concert with accompanying dialogue—uses playwright Moscovitch’s Jewish-Romanian great-grandparents’ refugee romance in early-20th-...
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March 18th, 2018
"A perspective we rarely see in the musical genre: It does not take place in America, but Canada...Where the piece falters is in its own sense of place. Moscovitch's script is on the quest for universality, but it skirts around the show's single most interesting (and different) aspect: its settin...
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March 21st, 2018
"There's no other production like it. Compelling storytelling and outstanding music bring to life the stirring tale...Caplan's spirited performance displays his amazing versatility as a musician and a storyteller. Mary Fay Coady as Chaya and Jamie Kronick as Chaim bring genuine depth and some hum...
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