Two weeks ago I saw BAR MITZVAH BOY, part of the York Theatre’s Musicals in Mufti series, which revives musicals. This season they’ve been reviving the musicals of composer Jule Styne of GYPSY fame.
It was terrific. I wish it had had a longer run, it was so terrific. I would have gone back to see it again, and so would the friend who attended the show with me.
And I wanted to give a great big BRAVO and a shout-out to the show’s young star, Peyton Lusk. From the second he took the stage, this kid was wonderful. The entire ensemble cast was great, but the character that Peyton played basically has to carry the whole thing, and he delivered. His comic timing was impeccable, and in other scenes, he’d break your heart. For the most part, I all but split my sides at this production, laughing.
The show was based on a TV movie that was made into a British musical, and I’m not sure if it was ever shown here in NYC before. It should be. It’s about a little boy who is reluctant to have a bar mitzvah, and no wonder: his wacky family is too busy trying to turn it into the social event of the year…
The rest of the cast included Lori Wilner, hilarious as the mother, Ned Eisenberg as the father who’s paying for it all, Tim Jerome as the delightful Grandpa, Neal Benari, Ben Fankhauser, Julie Benko, and Casey Watkins. Superb, all.
The original production was rewritten a bit before this round of performances. The only fault I found with the show came from one part of the storyline. I’m going to mention it, just in case more rewrites are under consideration and somebody involved manages to find this blog post. The child, at one point, takes off running, but although it’s mentioned in passing some time later, you don’t see the family immediately calling the police. I mean, sure, they’re self-absorbed to a fare-the-well, but hello!
While the Musicals in Mufti shows are done in concert, with the actors allowed to read from scripts, getting back to Peyton Lusk, he had his whole part memorized. I didn’t see him look at his script once. Like I said, BRAVO!
If ever there was a production that ought to be moved to Off-Broadway, I’d have to say it’s this one.