Bar Mitzvah Boy

Critics

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92 %

Reviews: 6

Audience

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Reviews: 0

Joey Brant is a Jewish divorce lawyer in his 60s. He has never had a bar mitzvah ceremony. He feels the need to get one now, before his grandson has his bar mitzvah. For reasons which will become clear in the story, Joey's bar mitzvah ceremony must take place at the synagogue he attended five decades ago. Joey, a thoroughly secularized man, must now re-connect with the faith of his ancestors. He promptly alienates the synagogue's regular instructor, which means that Joey must now go to the temple's rabbi for his bar mitzvah lessons.
Rabbi Michael Levitz-Sharon, a woman, finds her faith challenged at the same time that Joey is rediscovering his spiritual roots. her 11-year-old devoutly Jewish daughter has contracted terminal cancer. The daughter, Rachel, wants nothing more than to live long enough to be bat-mitzvahed. The impending tragedy is taking its toll on Rabbi Michael's marriage.
Will Joey at long last have his bar mitzvah and find his faith? Can Rabbi Michael retain her beliefs?
Starring R. Emmett Lee and Pamela Heffner. Directed by Howard Teichman. Written by Mark Leiren-Young. Presented by West Coast Jewish Theatre.

Reviews

Avatar
"Director Teichman manages to keep the action flowing in a story marked by contradictions and divergence. BAR MITZVAH BOY is a tale told primarily in the head through psychological dynamics – with the strengths and weaknesses of such an approach. At times, the play becomes talky and lags in action. However, the piece comes together with a riveting ending."

sweet - Elaine L. Mura - LA Splash - ...read full review


Shari Barrett
"The somewhat cavernous Miles Memorial Playhouse can make it difficult to hear actors once they speak in whispers or as softly as it would seem appropriate to do in such serious conversations. It is a slippery slope which Teichman has taken into account, but my advice is to sit as close to the stage area as possible to grasp the intensely important bits of information shared quietly between the student and his teacher as they learn to find a common ground leading to friendship and mutual respect. The loose ends are tied up nicely by the end of the play when the two ask the audience to join them in a prayer printed in the program. I wish it was also translated into English so those of us who do not understand Hebrew could enjoy the meaning of the prayer which seems to be uniting them in the faith that will carry them through life. Overall a deeply spiritual exploration of faith and friendship."

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Avatar
"Director Teichman keeps his cast in almost perpetual motion, on the large main floor stage. He has carefully chosen this West Coast premiere, which is loaded with religious subjects but is never didactic. Non-Jewish theatre lovers willing to open their minds, will come away with a little more knowledge of the ancient query about what it means to be Jewish. Do stay for the fifteen minute Q & A at the end of the show."

sweet - Ingrid Wilmot - Will Call - ...read full review


Carol Kaufman Segal
"Howard Teichman, Artistic Director of the West Coast Jewish Theatre, directs this hearwarming production."

sweet - Carol Kaufman Segal - Carol's Culture Corner - ...read full review


Stephen Fife
"Director Teichman is savvy in knowing how to appeal to the traditional sentiments of his target audience/subscriber base of older Jews, and many in the audience seemed entertained. The problem, of course, is that this audience is diminishing, and the next generation may not respond as obligingly to the ingratiating tone of Teichman's productions. It's time for the company to be looking forward, rather than always in the rear-view mirror. It still isn't too late."

sweet-sour - Steven Fife - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar
"These two character elements make this play as one that's comical, tragic, charismatic, along with the notion that keeping one's faith never goes out of style. Howard Teichman, artistic director for the West Coast Jewish Theatre, directs this single act play as one that would appeal to anyone that desires a story of keeping with tradition while staying with the times of now."

sweet - Rich Borowy - Accessibly Live Off-Line - ...read full review


Avatar
"Director Teichman manages to keep the action flowing in a story marked by contradictions and divergence. BAR MITZVAH BOY is a tale told primarily in the head through psychological dynamics – with the strengths and weaknesses of such an approach. At times, the play becomes talky and lags in action. However, the piece comes together with a riveting ending."

sweet - Elaine L. Mura - LA Splash - ...read full review


Shari Barrett
"The somewhat cavernous Miles Memorial Playhouse can make it difficult to hear actors once they speak in whispers or as softly as it would seem appropriate to do in such serious conversations. It is a slippery slope which Teichman has taken into account, but my advice is to sit as close to the stage area as possible to grasp the intensely important bits of information shared quietly between the student and his teacher as they learn to find a common ground leading to friendship and mutual respect. The loose ends are tied up nicely by the end of the play when the two ask the audience to join them in a prayer printed in the program. I wish it was also translated into English so those of us who do not understand Hebrew could enjoy the meaning of the prayer which seems to be uniting them in the faith that will carry them through life. Overall a deeply spiritual exploration of faith and friendship."

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Avatar
"Director Teichman keeps his cast in almost perpetual motion, on the large main floor stage. He has carefully chosen this West Coast premiere, which is loaded with religious subjects but is never didactic. Non-Jewish theatre lovers willing to open their minds, will come away with a little more knowledge of the ancient query about what it means to be Jewish. Do stay for the fifteen minute Q & A at the end of the show."

sweet - Ingrid Wilmot - Will Call - ...read full review


Carol Kaufman Segal
"Howard Teichman, Artistic Director of the West Coast Jewish Theatre, directs this hearwarming production."

sweet - Carol Kaufman Segal - Carol's Culture Corner - ...read full review


Stephen Fife
"Director Teichman is savvy in knowing how to appeal to the traditional sentiments of his target audience/subscriber base of older Jews, and many in the audience seemed entertained. The problem, of course, is that this audience is diminishing, and the next generation may not respond as obligingly to the ingratiating tone of Teichman's productions. It's time for the company to be looking forward, rather than always in the rear-view mirror. It still isn't too late."

sweet-sour - Steven Fife - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar
"These two character elements make this play as one that's comical, tragic, charismatic, along with the notion that keeping one's faith never goes out of style. Howard Teichman, artistic director for the West Coast Jewish Theatre, directs this single act play as one that would appeal to anyone that desires a story of keeping with tradition while staying with the times of now."

sweet - Rich Borowy - Accessibly Live Off-Line - ...read full review