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Playwrights Canada Press Spring 2020

Bar Mitzvah Boy
By (author): Mark Leiren-Young
Mark Leiren-Young


Playwrights Canada Press



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


General Trade
May 20, 2020
$17.95 CAD


8.38in x 5.37 x 0.25 in | 130 gr

Page Count:

96 pages
Playwrights Canada Press
DRAMA / Canadian
Jewish Playwriting Prize from the Jewish Plays Project 2017, Winner Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour 2021, Long-listed

Joey Brant needs to have a bar mitzvah immediately. Like, next Tuesday. Except he’s not thirteen, the usual age for the Jewish milestone. He’s in his sixties. A task he thinks he could quickly cross off his to-do list becomes a deep immersion into the faith he no longer follows when he meets Rabbi Michael Levitz-Sharon.

Michael’s personal life is hanging together by a thread. Her preteen daughter is being treated for cancer, which has put a strain on her marriage and her beliefs. Between her duties as rabbi, mother, and wife, she doesn’t have much time or energy to spare. So, when she finds Joey in her office on Shabbat asking for immediate help, she refuses.

Eventually Joey wins Michael over and they embark on a crash bar mitzvah course, leading the two into a series of reflections on their own faith and family. Through the genuine connection established between Joey and Michael, this sentimental dramedy will charm anyone who has ever questioned why bad things happen to good people.

Mark has had books published by Anvil Press, Knopf, Greystone Books, Orca Books, and more.

Mark Leiren-Young has written over two dozen plays, including dramas, comedies, musicals, revues and theatre for young audiences. His play Shylock has been produced around the world since debuting at Bard on the Beach in Vancouver in 1996. The Czech production of the play ran for three years in Prague and was broadcast as a television special in 2019. He won the 2009 Leacock Medal for Humour for his bestselling memoir Never Shoot a Stampede Queen. He lives in Victoria, BC. You can find out more about Mark at leiren-young.com.

"A gentle, bittersweet comedy."

- Darren Barefoot, The Georgia Straight

"This is a well-thought-out play… [Leiren-Young] knows how to grab an audience’s attention immediately and just the right moment to surprise you with a sudden plot twist… Bar Mitzvah Boy is terrific from start to finish."
- Bernie Bellan, The Jewish Post & News

"Truly a subtle and intelligent (actually exquisite) presentation of how two individuals deal with timeless and complex issues that we all deal with in some way or another — What part does faith and ritual play in me being a Jew? What roles will community and synagogue life play over the course of my life? Oy vey!"

- Rabbi Allan Finkel, for the Winnipeg Jewish Theatre

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