Montrealer’s will have yet another reason to celebrate their literary heritage this summer as Mordecai Richler’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz takes to the stage as a musical. The production will guarantee the reliving of the vexatious yet loveable Kravitz, whose coming of age story marked Richler’s international renown and made Duddy the quintessential Montreal anti-hero. This time, however, Richler’s classic will be set to the tune of Oscar and Grammy award-winning composer Alan Menken.

Menken, who worked on a production of Duddy Kravitz nearly three decades ago, went on to become one of music industries most legendary composers, writing the music for Disney classics like the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. Menken now says that writing the score for Duddy has become a pinnacle in his career.

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The musical, adapted by David Spencer, will give fans a slightly happier ending than Richler’s novel, adding some relief to the otherwise serious plot.

“We have to be honest with the fact that we’re doing musical theatre- and we have to reward the audience for going on a ride with this character. They need catharsis,” says Spencer.

The score is to be both serious and light, says Menken.

“He’s a survivor, and he does it to make his family proud and bring something back. I think you will also come away with the sense of Mordecai Richler and his vernacular, and the world that inhabits so much of his work.”

As Jews growing up in urban areas, both Spencer and Menken hope to shine a light on the culture they share.To have the musical go live in Richler’s own city, Menken says, is a dream come true.

The Duddy Kravitz musical will run from June 7 to June 28 at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts. Buy tickets here.

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