Bursting with energy, a bustling opening number, " Time To Shine," in which madcap dancing florists and caterer's helpers scurry to prepare for young David Rosen's big day, THE BAR MITZVAH takes off on a rip-roaring ride for the entire Rosen family. Paralleling David's journey, the show also explores the inner feelings and anxieties of David's divorced mother Natalie, who bravely battles facing her ex-husband Sam, for the first time since their divorce ("When I See Him Again").
Making a grand entrance, the prima donna caterer, Mrs. Schwartz, complains about the stressful demands of her business (" The Caterer's Lament"). Natalie explains the impossibility of making everyone happy as she pares down the guest list ("The Invitation").
After singing the insightful and sensitive "Today A Man," David is joined by his friends in a rock and rap number, "My Name Is On The Line," in which he expresses his ambivalence about receiving checks as gifts that must be saved for his future. We next meet ex-husband, Sam, in a flashback to better times ("One Little Raindrop"). The pace quickens when quirky, but well meaning relatives, Aunt Gertie and Uncle Simon explain to David the importance of having lots of mazel (good luck) in life ("With A Little Mazel").
After the heartbreaking flashback of little David's, "Why Doesn't Daddy Live Here Anymore?" Marla, David's rebellious older sister and their frazzled mother Natalie, have it out in the powerful duet, "Someday You'll Understand." Sam then sings the wistfully hopeful "Maybe Now." The first act reaches a comic frenzy as the bar mitzvah guests -- including warring relatives -- begin to arrive and a freak accident sends the rabbi to the hospital along with a very pregnant guest who has gone into labor. The remaining guest sing, "A Bar Mitzvah Without A Rabbi."
The second act begins with Sam blessing David ("God Bless This Child") and then features a flashback to a bittersweet moment between Natalie and her recently deceased mother. After admonishing Natalie to reconcile with Sam, Mama takes center stage in a riotously clever Charleston rag production number, "The Matzo Ball Mix."
Things heat up between Natalie and Sam as they sing and open up their hearts in the soul searching ballad "Independent Me." In the same flashback, we visit Natalie's psychotherapy group, where Natalie and Dr. Stephens' oddball patients are inspired by his powerful anthem, "Slay The Dragon." Meanwhile, back at the bar mitzvah ceremony, Mrs. Schwartz is joined by the temple president for "The President's Song" and" Wait Till They Get The Bill."
Young David saves the day at his own bar mitzvah by filling in for the rabbi. In a moving speech, his wisdom and awareness are apparent, helping everyone to realize that love is all that matters. As the Rosen roller coaster reaches it's joyful destination with laughter and tears and a hopeful reprise of "Maybe Now" from Natalie and Sam, Marla leads the entire company in the uplifting finale "Love is The Answer."