Maaor Ziv, Blue Bigwood-Mallin, Luis Fernandes, Theresa Tova, Anne van Leeuwen, G Kyle Shields, Stephen Joffe photo by: John Gundy

Tough Jews

By Michael Ross Albert

In Toronto’s crime-filled neighbourhood of Prohibition-era Kensington Market, a family of would-be gangsters tries to support themselves by running a speakeasy out of their domineering mother’s basement.

When a murder is committed and a job goes wrong, the family is suddenly flung into the high-stakes gangland world of American organized crime.  In order to survive, they must overcome the ghosts of their past, and plot their uncertain future.

Set against the backdrop of the roaring twenties, the Great Depression, and one of the biggest riots in Canadian history, Tough Jews is the story of an immigrant family’s struggle to rise above their station in a violent, intolerant city.

NNNN - "Exciting and immersive, Tough Jews is really, as one of its characters might say, the cat’s pyjamas."

NOW Magazine

"It’s a funny and tragic adventure which explores hard questions of morality, intergenerational trauma, and the lengths to which people will go to protect their family... The show couldn’t be more relevant."

Mooney on Theatre

"Viscerally stimulating, Michael Ross Albert’s Tough Jews is a dirty, violent, and often howlingly funny story."


"Playwright Michael Ross Albert has created a rich script filled with antagonism, violence, period-specific phrases and some Yiddish for added flavour… Equal parts funny and violent, the production resists nostalgia and whimsy. To its credit, Tough Jews never goes soft."

NOW Magazine

Production Details

4 Male

3 Female

120 minutes + intermission

By Michael Ross Albert

Purchase Play Script

Production History

The world premiere of Tough Jews was produced by The Spadina Avenue Gang with support from The Storefront Theatre at Kensington Hall in March-April 2017. The production was directed by Benjamin Blais.

The production garnered 6 Dora Award Nominations including Outstanding New Play and  Outstanding Production. It was the winner of the My Entertainment World Critic’s Pick Award for Outstanding New Play.

The script is available for purchase through PGC’s Canadian Play Outlet

Poster design by Christo Graham

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