Sabbath Girl


The Sabbath Girl
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Angie Mastrantoni has a lot going for her—a job at a hip art gallery, a new apartment on the Upper West Side—but not much time or hope for relationships. Then her neighbor Seth, a divorced Orthodox Jew with a knish store on the Lower East Side, knocks on her door. The Sabbath Girl is a contemporary romantic comedy about the loneliness of big-city life and the possibility of finding love next door.


It’s the summer in present-day New York City. Friday night. Angie Mastrantoni, 30, is excited to show her grandmother—or “nonna”—Sophia, 77, her new apartment on the Upper West Side and to tell her about her promotion to head curator at the Chelsea art gallery. Sophia’s happy for Angie, but she also wants her to find love. Angie’s not having it; she’s satisfied with her work and fed up with the men of New York. It’s a truce.

Sophia leaves, and there’s a knock at Angie’s door. A man is asking for Mr. Lee, the former resident of Angie’s apartment. Angie opens the door to find Seth Konig, 32, who wears a yarmulke. Seth explains that he’s an Orthodox Jew and he used to ask Mr. Lee for help sometimes with little tasks that Jews are forbidden to do on the Sabbath. It’s a hot night, and he needs someone to turn on his air conditioning for him. Angie’s resistant at first; she has work to do. After some awkward small talk, Seth learns that Angie is Italian, a curator, and she grew up in New Jersey, while she learns that Seth grew up in Riverdale in the Bronx and has a knish store on the Lower East Side. Finally, reluctantly, she agrees to help him with his AC.

At the art gallery, Angie tries to convince Blake, 31, a hotshot painter in sunglasses, to have his first New York solo show there. He’s conceited, plays games with her, and tells her she needs to “woo” him. Angie passionately describes what she loves about his work, and he’s impressed. There’s electricity in the air between them. But then his phone interrupts them, and he abruptly leaves.

Sophia visits Angie on her lunch break in the park. Angie’s bummed about not clinching the deal with Blake. Sophia gives her a pep talk, telling Angie that she was born to be a curator and she should never second-guess herself. It’s a tender moment.

At the knish store, Seth banters with his bossy sister, Rachel, 35. She’s more traditional in her Orthodox Judaism than Seth and wears a headscarf. He tells her about his encounter with Angie and how it was the first time he’s been alone with a woman in two years, since his divorce from Esther, with whom he basically had an arranged marriage. Rachel tells Seth he needs to find someone else, and she’d be happy to set him up with somebody, but he resists and bemoans how awful his marriage was. Rachel worries about Seth being all alone; he tries to reassure her.

The following Friday night. Angie’s apartment. She has a flirty phone call with Blake, and they agree to meet at a wine bar next Friday. There’s a knock at the door—it’s Seth again. He’s apologetic, but this time he needs help changing a light bulb that just blew out. Angie goes to his apartment to change the bulb. They talk more. He tells her about his divorce and his exile from his Orthodox community, and how he fled Riverdale to the Upper West Side. Angie asks about all the books in Seth’s apartment, and he informs her that they’re Yiddish books; he’s taught himself the old language as a hobby. Angie confesses that she went through a terrible breakup too. Seth impulsively kind of asks Angie out, but she hesitates, it gets awkward, and she leaves.

Sophia dances to old, romantic music in Angie’s apartment. She interrogates Angie about who Blake is, and when Angie hints at some romantic interest in him, Sophia warns her not to fall for another cold, selfish artist-type. Angie bristles and makes a joke about going out with an Orthodox Jewish knish man instead. Sophia’s intrigued. It turns out she herself was once a Shabbos goy—a non-Jew who helps Jews with tasks on the Sabbath—as a young girl. Eventually, Sophia relents and tells Angie to go ahead and enjoy her “date” with Blake.

Friday. At the knish store, Rachel tries to get Seth interested in going out with Rebecca Shimmel, a woman from their community, but he’s not having it. Then—Surprise!—Angie shows up at the store. She was in the neighborhood and thought she’d drop by. Seth’s elated to see her. He introduces Angie to Rachel, but Rachel’s wary, gives her the cold shoulder, and exits to the back of the store. Seth apologizes for Rachel’s behavior. Angie apologizes for getting awkward when Seth sort of asked her out the other day. They agree to be friends. They talk about the old-school store, and Seth gives Angie a knish for the road. She loves it. They part on an affectionate note.

As soon as Angie leaves, Rachel comes back in. She’s suspicious and accuses Seth of being interested in Angie. At first he denies it, but then he dares to ask what would be so wrong if he was. Rachel loses it: Angie’s not Jewish—it’s forbidden! They get into a heated argument. Rachel reminds Seth that he’s part of a community and warns him not to lose his way, and Seth admits that he’s starting to think the social strictures of Orthodox Judaism are suffocating. They exchange harsh words, and Rachel tells Seth he needs to pray about all this and straighten up.

That night. Oblivion, a wine bar. Angie and Blake have a flirtatious conversation. She asks whether he wants to have his show at her gallery, but he’s evasive. He says he and his girlfriend just broke up, and he’s having a “creative crisis.” He asks Angie if she’s in a relationship and what makes her tick. She describes her deep passion for discovering the next great artist. Blake says he sees inside Angie’s soul—that she keeps a lot locked up inside and secretly wants to be more free. He says he wants to paint her tonight. She’s caught off guard, but he persuades her.

In his apartment, Seth begins to light the Sabbath candles, but he stops. He’s longing for Angie.

Later that night. A friend’s loft in Soho where Blake is staying. He and Angie are looser. She’s excited and nervous as he prepares to paint her. Things quickly turn romantic, and they kiss. It starts to get more intense, but then Blake’s phone rings. It’s his “ex-girlfriend,” Indiana. It seems they may not really be broken up after all. He wants to get back to making out, but Angie’s turned off. She realizes she’s just a rebound fling for Blake, and she doesn’t like it. Blake denies this, but Angie goes at him, and he’s seriously flummoxed. She tells him she still wants his show at her gallery, but she’s going home.

Seth’s apartment. He’s writing in a notebook when Angie shows up. He’s surprised to see her. It’s the first time she’s been here without a job to do. Angie comes in and opens up to Seth about her lousy night with Blake. She asks what’s in the notebook he was writing in, and Seth reveals that he’s actually translating a collection of short stories by an old Yiddish writer. Angie’s impressed. She notices that his Sabbath candles aren’t lit and asks him why. When he doesn’t answer, she suggests that they should light them. To Seth’s amazement, Angie—a non-Jew!—lights the candles and gets him to say the prayer over them. Then Seth kisses her. She’s stunned. He confesses his feelings to her, and she reciprocates. They kiss again, passionately.

The foyer of a synagogue in Riverdale. Seth and Rachel are at their cousin’s bar mitzvah. She can sense something’s different about him. He gets up the nerve to tell her that he and Angie spent the night together. Rachel’s horrified. Seth tries to explain that he and Angie have a real connection and are right for each other, but Rachel warns him that he’s setting himself up for a disaster and that their relationship could never really go anywhere. She tells him to protect himself by not seeing Angie again and staying up in Riverdale with her; that’s where he belongs—back in his community.

A week later. Angie’s apartment. Sophia dances to her romantic music, but Angie shuts it off, exasperated. Sophia asks what’s wrong, and Angie reveals to her that she and Seth slept together, and it all seemed wonderful, but since then he’s totally vanished. Now she regrets the whole thing and realizes how stupid it was in the first place. Sophia tells Angie that Seth is just scared of all the obstacles facing their relationship, and if Angie really cares for him, she should fight to make it work; she should go see him and talk to him. Angie doesn’t want to hear this—she’s not used to feeling so vulnerable—but Sophia urges her to follow her heart.

The knish store. Angie shows up to speak to Seth, but he’s not there; Rachel is. She tells Angie that she told Seth not to see her again. Angie’s taken aback. The two women argue over Angie and Seth’s relationship, which grows into a dispute over their very different lifestyles—the modern, secular Angie and the Orthodox Jewish Rachel. Angie concedes that she’s made unfair assumptions about Rachel and makes a heartfelt plea for her and Seth to be together. She asks Rachel to tell Seth that she wants to talk to him. Rachel says she can’t do that. It’s a standoff.

The gallery. Angie’s surprised to see Blake, who, for the first time, is not wearing his sunglasses. He says he’s come to let Angie know that he’s not going to have his show at her gallery—but it’s not because of what happened between them. No, thanks to her, he’s realized that he needs to “work on himself” and become a better man. Angie’s amused and confused by this. Blake explains that he’s going to go back home to Iowa and stay with his parents for a while. And then maybe one day he and Angie can work together down the road. She’s tickled by his transformation, and they part on good terms.

Then Seth enters. He’s here to make amends. He’s brought a knish for Angie, but she doesn’t want it. She tells him how much he hurt her by running away after their night together. He apologizes and says he got scared. They get into a charged conversation about their relationship—how and if it could ever work. Seth promises he won’t run away again and makes an impassioned case. Angie’s on the fence. Then, to his relief, she says they should go get a bagel together. Maybe they have a future after all.

In the final moment of the play, Sophia appears to Angie, dancing, but Seth can’t see her. Angie reveals that her beloved grandma died a couple of years ago but is still with her all the time. Sophia’s been a spirit all along. And now she gets to see her granddaughter happy and in love.


An endearing, gentle, romantic, charming and heartwarming modern love story.

—Front Row Center


Angie: Female. 30. Italian-American. A gallery curator. Smart, passionate, alone.

Sophia: Female. 77. Italian-American. Angie's grandmother. Romantic, magical, funny.

Seth: Male. 32. Jewish-American. An Orthodox Jew. A knish maker. Bookish, awkward, lonely, but charming.

Blake: Male. 31. A hotshot painter. Sexy, arrogant, brooding.

Rachel: Female. 35. Jewish-American. An Orthodox Jew. Seth's sister and partner in the knish business. Overbearing but well-meaning, traditional, a yenta.

Setting: Time: Now. Summer. Place: New York City.

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Authorized Materials must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement (see Materials).

Billing responsibilities, pertinent copyright information, and playwrights' biographies are available in the show rider that comes with your license agreement.

“It is refreshing to see the young writer Cary Gitter unabashedly dive into a genre as rare onstage as it is popular onscreen.” —NY Times

“Gitter has created something genuine and his characters ring true and possess an earnestness that is in seriously short supply these days.” —Broadwayworld

“The clever script delivers some provocative observations on cultural differences, misconceptions, family pressures, loneliness, single life, love, and romantic fantasies.” —Onstage Blog

“Mr. Gitter excels at romantic comedy writing.” —StageBuddy

The Sabbath Girl is just what is needed to brighten our hearts.” —NYC Skyline

“A sweet, light confection … an easy-to-digest, soothing and satisfying morsel.” —Theatre is Easy

“Comfort-food romantic comedy.”—New York Stage Review

Authorized Materials must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement. Your materials will be sent to you digitally by your Licensing Representative.

The Authorized Materials/Production Package for The Sabbath Girl are all fulfilled digitally and consist of:

Acting Edition

Stage Manager Script