THE GREAT GATSBY - Writer
Variety - "SWEEPING... EXCELLENT...
AN UNDENIABLE CHEMISTRY AT WORK HERE THAT'S LAUDABLE... Levy's adaptation wisely anchors itself around the first-person
account of narrator Nick Carraway... A SATISFYING CONCLUSION... AFFECTING!"
Post-Bulletin - "IT'S NOTHING LESS THAN MAGNIFICENT, a powerful
realization of Fitzgerald's novel of obsession, love, money and the American dream. There's no question that 'Gatsby'
has all the elements of GREAT THEATER... a grand christening of the main stage in the Guthrie's $125 million new home."
Minneapolis StarTribune -
"GREAT START FOR NEW GUTHRIE!... in a new stage adaptation that provoked historic excitement... a clean, imaginative
and sometimes surreal work... a production that is FLEET-FOOTED and, thankfully, not freighted with theatrical froufou."
The Falcon Newspaper - "A STUNNING PERFORMANCE... artfully synthesizing
the writer's renowned work onto the stage with Simon Levy's adapted script... With these colorful and profound characters,
the dramatic performance engages the audience both in laughter and in genuine sympathy. BOLD AND ENTICING, the intense
and convincing acting, the simple yet fitting sets, and the elaborate costumes all add to the EXCELLENCE OF THIS PRODUCTION.
THIS PLAY GIVES LIFE TO FITZGERALD'S TIMELESS STORY."
Arts - "A CLASSY AND ELEGANT PRODUCTION THAT IS CAPTIVATING AND MOVING... The Guthrie's dramatization of this classic
was BEAUTIFULLY ORCHESTRATED."
St. Cloud Times - "'The
Great Gatsby' SUCCEEDS BEAUTIFULLY with its haunting quality. It is a fitting play to open the new Guthrie, leading the
theater on to conquer new dramatic heights... You could feel the excitement in the air with Simon Levy's carefully honed
SEATTLE REPERTORY THEATRE:
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - "SEATTLE REP SUPERBLY MINES THE ESSENCE OF FITZGERALD'S
'GREAT GATSBY'... Playwright Simon Levy does a BEAUTIFUL JOB of distilling Fitzgerald's sometimes fussy prose. Levy's combination
of narration, dialogue and action delivers most of what is best in the novel... BEAUTIFUL... STUNNING... AMAZING... A BRILLIANT
Tacoma Weekly - "A BRILLIANT REWORKING!... the only play version authorized by the Fitzgerald estate since
1926... The use of the Saxman to establish mood was a great touch... MAGNIFICENT."
Seattle Gay News - "'GREAT
GATSBY' CONTINUES TO PACK IN CROWDS AT SEATTLE REP PREMIERE... The Seattle Repertory has one of its strongest audience
hits in recent years with its solid solid production... AN OUT-AND-OUT AUDIENCE PLEASER AND A HOT TICKET!"
ARIZONA THEATRE COMPANY:
TucsonSentinel.com - "WELL-CRAFTED ADAPTATION... Amazing... This show is full of magical moments... Many brilliant
turns of Fitzgerald’s words into succinct on-stage moments... This production of “The Great Gatsby” is worth
seeing even for those not familiar with the novel. Though the book still deserves reading, think of the play as the most delightful,
animated Cliffs Notes you’ll ever find. The show has quality professional acting, exceptional stagecraft... highly creative
writing and direction. It is A SUMPTUOUS PRODUCTION THAT JOYFULLY DEMONSTRATES THE STRENGTHS THAT THE STAGE BRINGS TO STORYTELLING,
even to a masterwork like Fitzgerald’s hallowed novel."
Daily Star - "By the end of the evening, THERE WAS A LONGING TO SEE IT AGAIN. AND THEN AGAIN... This adaptation by Simon
Levy clearly understood that Fitzgerald's words are sacred and can't be improved upon. What was added, deleted or changed
to adapt the story to the stage was so faithful to Fitzgerald that it became seamless. Stephen Wrentmore, ATC's associate
artistic director, directed this piece with a reverence for the language and the story. The sets were simple but the vision
grand - a revolving stage quickly brought us from one location to another; minimalistic set pieces were used to suggest opulence,
or poverty, or a hydroplane. There's a purity to this story and its characters that Wrentmore honored and underscored... This
is "The Great Gatsby," faithful to Fitzgerald and to the spirit of the novel. EXPECTATIONS WERE FAR EXCEEDED."
ExplorerNews.com - "There’s a place that makes for A GREAT DATE NIGHT in Tucson
right now, as the Arizona Theater Company presents “The Great Gatsby” through March 17. A story tangled with romance
and betrayal, director Stephen Wrentmore has created a fine production THAT HAD THE AUDIENCE YELLING "WELL DONE,"
during opening night last week... The play works for many reasons. First, the minimalist sets were dynamic
and artistic, therefore putting the onus on the characters. And the cast pulled it off. No one in the cast really stood out
simply because there were so many fine performances that came together to make for AN EXCELLENT PLAY."
GRAND THEATRE (London Ontario Canada): London
Free Press - "GATSBY SMILES!... Somewhere out there, Jay Gatsby is smiling one of those enigmatic smiles, with everything
and nothing behind it. 'Yes, old sport,' Gatsby is saying, 'That's about right. That's about right.' Surely, that SMILING
SIGN OF APPROVAL would be Gatsby's suitably understated take on Simon Levy's adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great
Gatsby at the Grand Theatre. The Grand production is indeed a BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED interpretation of the 1925 novel which defined
the Jazz Age. Director Susan Ferley and her fine cast and stage team have created a melancholy valentine to the Jazz Age and
its iconic fictional hero in The Great Gatsby, which opened Friday. THIS IS INDEED A GRAND GATSBY."
The Gazette - "The Grand Theatre’s Canadian premiere of The Great Gatsby DOES
JUSTICE TO F. SCOTT FITZGERALD'S WORK... Fitzgerald would likely approve of director Susan Ferley’s work, as the stage
production stays honest to his novel. The Great Gatbsy’s actors... do a wonderful job portraying their characters...
Simon Levy, who adapted The Great Gatsby for the stage, includes elements such as the green light on Daisy’s property
that Gatsby continuously looks at over the docks. Through exaggerations and fine details, the stage production of The Great
Gatsby reminds us that Fitzgerald’s plot is much more than a sad love story. The final scenes of the play are perhaps
the best. After a shocking series of events, Carraway’s final reflections are of helplessness and bitterness. With a
few final words, Greg Gale seals a melancholy tale and leaves the audience with a lingering feeling of nostalgia. Moving back
to the 21st century is almost a shock—The Great Gatsby is NOT EASILY FORGOTTEN."
FSU.org - "Pretty great Gatsby... THE ENTIRE PLAY HAD A MAGICAL AIR ABOUT IT, echoing the atmosphere of one
of Gatsby’s lavish parties. The music, costumes and sets were awe-inspiring. Any vintage fashion-lover would certainly
swoon over the dresses, hats and shoes worn by Daisy and her friend Jordan Baker... Many aspects of this production of The
Great Gatsby were ASTONISHING."
CYRANO (2012) - Director
CRITIC'S CHOICE! - Los Angeles
Times - "INSPIRED AND INSPIRING!... Performed simultaneously in spoken dialogue and American Sign Language by a
mixed ensemble of hearing and deaf actors, Sachs’ MOVING ADAPTATION transposes Rostand’s archetypal heroic outsider
into a gifted coffeehouse poet whose inferiority complex is rooted in his deafness rather than his perfectly normal nose.
TROY KOTSUR EXCELS as this modern Cyrano... Sachs’ adaptation skillfully maps Rostand’s principals to their updated
versions... Raci is by turns HILARIOUS AND POIGNANT as clueless loser Chris, and Anova invests Roxy with the sensitivity and
sense of isolation she unknowingly shares with Cyrano... THE PERFORMANCES QUICKLY CATCH FIRE in Simon Levy’s well-paced
and precisely focused staging. Besides offering a refreshing take on a classic, the signed/spoken presentation offers hearing
folks the opportunity to appreciate sign language’s unique emotional expressiveness."
PICK! - BackStage.com - "SUPERBLY CRAFTED PRODUCTION... CLEVER AND DEEPLY MOVING... It's a HAUNTING PERFORMANCE [Troy
Kotsur as Cyrano], beautifully realized in the nurturing hands of Levy and complemented by A REMARKABLE CAST of deaf and hearing
actors, some signing, some voicing the words of others. Paul Raci, himself a CODA (child of deaf adults), is EXCEPTIONAL as
Cyrano's tattooed rocker brother Chris... Like Kotsur, Raci bridges the gap between the tale's two worlds with poignancy and
A HUGE DOSE OF HUMOR."
RAVE! - 5 STARS! - Examiner.com - "I CAN'T RAVE ENOUGH to adequately
convey my excitement and admiration for the new adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac that opened this week at the Fountain Theatre.
Written by Stephen Sachs and directed by Simon Levy, THIS BRILLIANT CYRANO is performed by the extraordinary actors of the
Deaf West Theatre... Although Kotsur dominates the action (he never leaves the stage), he is surrounded by an ensemble (six
deaf members out of 13) that is as perfect as he is. Whether dramatically voicing the words that the others are signing, or
“speaking” the words with their expressive hands, THE PLAYERS ARE THRILLING TO WATCH, and under Simon Levy’s
deft direction, Jeff McLaughlin’s clever set design, and Jeremy Pivnick’s creative lighting design, THE PLAY EMERGES
AS A POIGNANT, INVENTIVE, RIOTOUSLY FUNNY, AND MARVELOUSLY SATISFYING MASTERPIECE!"
- TalkinBroadway.com - "NOTHING SHORT OF AMAZING!.. Troy Kotsur was born to play Cyrano... Kotsur is Cyrano, from the
second he walks on stage... He's confident, quick-thinking, and, above all, eloquent... this Cyrano is A DAZZLING ACCOMPLISHMENT,
A TERRIFIC ADAPTATION which takes the essence of Rostand, makes Cyrano's physical issues so much more dramatically interesting
than a big nose, throws in a dash of modern-day tech, and puts the whole thing in the hands of a very capable crew of actors,
whose hands are more than up to the challenge."
RAVE! - Dany Margolies, Los Angeles Drama
Critics Circle - "In Stephen Sachs’ INTELLIGENT, TOUCHING world premiere adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano
de Bergerac, Cyrano is a modern-day deaf poet. CHARMINGLY AND IMAGINATIVELY DIRECTED by Simon Levy, the action is beautifully
spoken and delivered in American Sign Language, with a ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME, MUST-SEE PERFORMANCE in the title role by Troy
RAVE! - LifeInLA.com - "ELEVATES SIGN LANGUAGE TO A BEAUTIFUL, VIVACIOUS ART FORM for Deaf and
Hearing Audiences Alike... The romantic, tragi-comic Cyrano offers EXCELLENT PERFORMANCES AND DIRECTION, deaf culture from
an insider’s perspective, poetic dialogue, and aesthetically gorgeous signed language... KOTSUR BRILLIANTLY AND ARTFULLY
LEADS THE CAST AS CYRANO... Under the direction of Simon Levy, Cyrano harmoniously merges the realms of oral, signed, and
electronic communication to craft a story that highlights the many emotional shades of adoration through poetic performance,
be it brotherly, platonic, romantic, community, or self-love. Levy makes fluid use of the stage, cast, and set with careful
attention to conversant and all-encompassing audience needs... A SHEER AND EXCEPTIONAL PLEASURE."
RAVE! - StageHappenings.com - "BRILLIANT WRITING! ... This new production, an adaptation by Stephen Sachs of
Edmund Rostand’s 1897 über-romantic drama, is QUITE THE THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE. A co-production of the gifted
Fountain Theatre and the esteemed Deaf West Theatre, this is AN EXTRAORDINARY PRODUCTION OF A TERRIFIC PLAY, both of which
deserve a long life here and a longer life abroad... [Sachs] has found the poetic equivalent in ASL and the most romantic
of us will fall into his vision, watching A GLORIOUS ACTOR, Troy Kotsur, make the most of his talents opposite A GORGEOUS
ACTRESS, Erinn Anova... As stated above, the acting is superlative, beginning with Kotsur and Anova. And a large part
of what works on us is the EXCELLENT speaking of the shadow-actors, starting with Victor Warren who voices Cyrano, Al Bernstein’s
Chris, and James Babbin’s Bill, as well as the entire ensemble, including Martica de Cardenas as Roberta, who runs the
hearing-poets coffee shop, along with Raci’s rocker, Chip Bent as a bully, Ipek D. Mehlum, Daniel Durant, Maleni Chaitoo
and Eddie Buck. Levy helps them all in their consistently believable characterizations... GO. SEE IT AND GROW."
GO! - LAWeekly.com
NOT MEANT TO STAND (2011) - Director
RAVE! - Los
Angeles Times - "A MASTER PLAYWRIGHT STANDING TALL! - Williams’ caustic 1982 swan song is remarkably forward-looking
in its outraged swipes at social ills: unaffordable medicine and healthcare costs, skyrocketing insurance rates and rapacious
greed... Director Simon Levy emphasizes Expressionistic grotesquerie as Williams’ characters exploit one another with
relentless glee, and A FINE CAST ENSURES THE GRIM LAUGHTER IS CONTAGIOUS. Alan Blumenfeld’s splendidly belligerent patriarch,
Cornelius McCorkle, faced with his wife Bella’s (Sandy Martin) slide into dementia, is concerned only with getting her
to reveal where she’s hidden her grandaddy’s moonshine profits before he has to put her away for good... Williams
as late-career social satirist never equaled the inward-looking dramatist with uniquely poetic insights into fragile, sensitive
souls trampled by a brutishly inhospitable world. Here, the focus is mostly on those doing the trampling (the only character
with the stature of Williams’ classic protagonists — the McCorkles’ gay, alcoholic son — has already
died before the play begins). Nevertheless, as the play eventually delves into Bella’s unraveling mind via Martin’s
haunted performance and some nifty staging effects, Williams’ language, rhythm and imagery LEAVE HIS REPUTATION AS A
MASTER PLAYWRIGHT STANDING TALL."
RAVE! - Back Stage - CRITIC'S PICK! - "MUST VIEWING!... flashes of
brilliance... An exceptional cast and astonishing design add to the rewards of this bracingly intelligent rendition... The
performances of Blumenfeld and Martin are riveting, illuminating the craziness and torment within this toxic family, without
lapsing into melodramatic clichés. As a character who's somewhat closer to sane, though hardly a beacon of class, Billet
provides a good counterpoint to the adversarial parents. Newcomb has hilarious moments as the sexually liberal Bible thumper.
The Fountain is to be commended for taking a chance on an imperfect but powerful piece that is MUST VIEWING FOR ALL WHO CONSIDER
THEMSELVES WILLIAMS AFICIONADOS."
RAVE! - BroadwayWorld.com - CRITIC'S PICK! - 5 OUT OF 5 STARS! - "Astutely
directed by Simon Levy and PERFORMED BY A BRILLIANT ENSEMBLE, this House has the symbolism and lyricism expected of Williams
with the addition of a few surprising features... As in many Williams plays, humor is a staple, and House's black comedy
is one of its finest assets. There is nothing more heartbreaking or funny than watching various characters scramble desperately
to pick up spilled meds or swill down a plethora of pills with beer. Tennessee Williams was an original whose poetic language
and multi-layered imagery, both real and surreal, of the decaying South stand the test of time. ADD A House Not Meant to Stand
TO HIS LIST OF CLASSIC MASTERPIECES!"
RAVE! - StageAndCinema.com - "SUPERB!... The discovery of A House
Not Meant To Stand makes this not merely AN IMPORTANT THEATER EVENT, but a revelation of just how potent Tennesee Williams’s
talent was in a period that has been categorized as one of decline. And Sandy Martin’s great performance does for Bella
McCorkle what one imagines Laurette Taylor did for Amanda Wingfield. What she is doing doesn’t even look like acting.
What higher compliment can one pay an actor?... a career-transforming performance... House may or not come to be counted among
his genuine masterpieces, but Levy has at least given us a chance to see how fecund and bountiful his talents continued to
be right up to the end. He was still experimenting with structure and content; he could still create characters, with all
his art at his command, who matter; he was still capable of writing those insanely beautiful arias that any actor, rising
to the occasion, can take pleasure in singing... HILARIOUS... TRAGICALLY MOVING."
RAVE! - CulturalCocktailHour.com
- "MUST-SEE! - The Fountain Theatre’s “A House Not Meant To Stand” deserves A STANDING OVATION.
The dynamic cast, its Gothic set spewing forth leaks, and the darkly wry barbs of Tennessee Williams added up to A RIVETING
PERFORMANCE of Williams’ 'Southern Gothic spook sonata.' The Fountain Theatre’s “A House Not Meant
to Stand” offers a rich and worthy tribute to a master playwright. Happy Birthday, Mr. Williams."
- ReviewPlays.com - "FANS OF WILLIAMS WILL LOVE THIS PLAY AND THOSE NEW TO HIS WORK COULD NOT FIND A BETTER PLACE TO
GET INTRODUCED TO ONE OF AMERICA'S GREATEST WRITERS... Every nuance of the original presentation has been carefully captured
by Director Simon Levy who leads a superb cast that makes the characters vibrant and believable... this play is a powerful
denunciation of a type of life in the South and the Fountain Theatre’s production is another example of the EXCELLENT
WORK that has become a trademark of the company."
Variety - "THE FOUNTAIN PRESENTS CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE
OF LIFE IN THE OLD BOY TO THE END IN HIS FINAL OPUS 'A HOUSE NOT MEANT TO STAND.'... Sandy Martin's shattering central performance
counters any preconception that Williams' sweet bird of youth flew off with his talent in its talons... it's quicksilver Martin,
playful even in distress, who's indelible here. At first Bella lurches about like Cornelius' marionette, but once the strings
are cut she emerges as a worthy epilogue to all Williams' faded Southern belles bereft of hope at the end of the Camino Real.
In their best tradition, the actress keeps her comical yet ever real... As battered in reality (a truck nearly flattens her)
as those heroines were metaphorically, Bella dissociates into that fugue state of memory and grief with which so many Williams
plays wind up. Behind a scrim, Martin's valedictory is like the author waving from the grave... VISUALLY SPLENDID PRODUCTION!"
RAVE! - StageSceneLA.com - "WOW!... SIMON LEVY AND THE STERLING CAST HE HAS ASSEMBLED all do the kind of accomplished,
multi-layered work that audiences have come to expect at the Fountain Theatre. For those willing to throw away preconceived
notions of what a Tennessee Williams play ought to be, A House Not Meant To Stand is likely not only to entertain, but to
spark many a discussion of just how his wild-and-crazy last produced play fits in with the rest of Tennessee’s much
loved, much lauded body of work."
RAVE! - Examiner.com - 5 OUT OF 5 STARS! - "A RARE COMEDY AND MEANT
TO BE SEEN!... features a superb cast... Alan Blumenfeld deliciously portrays bombastic McCorkle patriarch Cornelius... Sandy
Martin’s portrayal as matriarch Bella McCorkle was mesmerizing... The Fountain Theatre’s contribution to the Tennessee
Williams Centennial is NOT TO BE MISSED and with a show this splendid and a limited run, it is sure to sell out, so don’t
RAVE! - StageHappenings.com - "YOU MUST RUN TO THE FOUNTAIN THEATRE!... Not only will you gain
insight into the alcohol-soaked and pill-ravaged mind of one of the theatre’s greatest writers toward the end of his
days, but you will witness what an amazingly beautiful production can be created with a script that is seemingly incapable
of being produced... Thanks to Simon Levy’s luminous direction, however, this House is a Haunted Mansion I wouldn’t
have missed for the world."
RAVE! - Buzzine.com - "I thank Simon Levy and the award-winning Fountain
Theater for bringing me Williams’ birthday centennial... A LIVELY AND BOISTEROUS ROMP!... Tennessee Williams was a writer
who always laid his own open heart naked on the table. And with this “comedy” at the end of his life, he had done
the same thing. I had been given the privilege of witnessing a STRONG PRODUCTION of what was a final cry (laugh?) of despair...
A House Not Meant to Stand is a darkly comedic version of Tennessee Williams’ familiar themes: the yearning heart, the
frantic heart, the damaged heart, and family cruelty... an amazing performance by Sandy Martin!"
RAVE! - AssociatedContent.com
- "THIS IS ONE NOT TO BE MISSED!...The Fountain Theatre HAS A MARVELOUS REPUTATION OF PROVIDING HIGH QUALITY THEATRICAL
PROGRAMMING for the community it serves, and though it is a small theatre, it is more than capable of delivering excellence
in theatrical productions. Its current run of A House Not Meant to Stand, BRILLIANTLY PRODUCED AND DIRECTED by Simon Levy
(with assistant producers Deborah Lawlor and Stephen Sachs) is A SPLENDID EXAMPLE OF THIS KIND OF EXCELLENCE... a fabulous
look at the lives of a family in the midst of turmoil... a cast that is more than superior... An engaging and powerful production
that should not be missed."
RAVE! - Examiner.com - 4 STARS OUT OF 5 - "IT IS WORTH SEEING AND SEEING
AGAIN so as to fully grasp what was on Tennessee Williams' own ebbing mind... Bella is brilliantly portrayed by Sandy Martin.
Her characterization is so nuanced, idiosyncratic and committed that I can’t imagine anyone else in the role. She is
Pat Taylor in Tolucan Times - "On Saturday, I went to the Fountain Theatre as a guest of
my friend Andrea, another theater critic. We saw Tennessee William’s last written play, A House Not Meant to Stand,
compellingly directed by Simon Levy. Having not visited this long respected theatre in ages… it was a joy to be reminded
of the dedicated and high quality of work always offered here. Kudos to co-artistic directors Deborah Lawlor, Stephen Sachs,
and Simon Levy."
RAVE! - StageHappenings.com - "IT WOULD BE A SHAME, INDEED, TO MISS THIS TERRIFIC PRODUCTION!...
It's a fun play... SUPERB CAST!"
RAVE! - WeHoNews.com - "WHAT A HOOT! A BRIGHT, HILARIOUS HOOT SPOT-ON
IN ALMOST EVERY WAY!... the only rowdy, broad and bawdy comedy (plus some darkness) I know of by Tennessee Williams... a funny
but haunting and remarkable portrayal by Sandy Martin... a hilarious Alan Blumenfeld... done to perfection by Lisa Richards...
Every part of this production by Simon Levy deserves praise; all the actors do fine jobs... ABSOLUTELY WORTH SEEING!"
RAVE! - Los Feliz Ledger - "A POWERFUL PRODUCTION THAT DESERVES TO BE SEEN BY THOSE WHO LOVE AMERICAN THEATER
AND APPRECIATE EXCELLENT ACTING... Sandy Martin is brilliant as the fragile yet wily Bella, a character based on Williams’
aunt Bella. Alan Blumenfeld’s portrayal of Cornelius Williams, drawn from Williams’ own father Cornelius
Williams, is riveting. The character of the McCorkle’s son Charlie who provides a more human counterpoint to his sparring
parents is well performed by Daniel Billet. Virginia Newcomb’s interpretation of his sexually emancipated, born
again fiancée Stacey’ adds humor. The play is beautifully directed by Simon Levy who was recently honored with
a lifetime achievement award by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle."
RAVE! - EDGELosAngeles.com - "AS
BEAUTIFUL AS ANY OF WILLIAMS' PREVIOUS WORKS... Director Simon Levy deftly navigates the many layers of this final effort
of the great playwright... ALL PRINCIPLE ACTORS ARE FORMIDABLE IN THEIR ROLES, but it’s really Ms. Martin’s performance
that centers the play. She balances dementia and confusion beautifully with her lucid determination to care for her remaining
children... Even to the very end, the ghosts that haunted Tennessee Williams in his own life and work - his family- still
resonated with him."
RAVE! - CynthiaCitron.com - "THE ALWAYS WONDERFUL FOUNTAIN THEATRE!... under the
inspiring direction of Simon Levy and BRILLIANT PERFORMANCES BY A STELLAR CAST... The patriarch, Cornelius, is a blustering
bully, loud, offensive, and arrogant, and Alan Blumenfeld plays him exquisitely... it’s being presented at the Fountain,
which is a house that, we believe, is meant to stand for a very long time."
OPUS (2010) -
CRITIC'S CHOICE! - Los Angeles Times - full review - "THE FOUNTAIN THEATRE SCORES WITH ITS BRISK AND ENTERTAINING STAGING of Michael Hollinger's inside
look at the passions and betrayals within a string quartet... BUOYANT PERFORMANCES... A romance
set to music... Simon Levy's direction moves con brio, invisible yet exact, the rhythm of the line readings
creating its own musicality. Each actor offers a specific tone: Cooper Thornton's Alan is a droll Lothario, while clear-eyed
but reticent cellist Carl (Gregory G. Giles) holds secrets of his own. Lebano's vain Elliot makes the hard decisions but
can't hear the exquisite musical shadings that obsess Blinkoff's tremulous, childish Dorian... ACCOMPLISHED CAST...
It's the smaller moments that compel, creating an intimacy that make 'Opus' A STYLISH MIDSUMMER DATE NIGHT."
- Charlotte Stoudt
CRITIC'S PICK! - Back Stage - full review
"Director Simon Levy's LOVINGLY CRAFTED production perfectly captures the tension and the
aesthetic beauty that make this INTELLIGENT PLAY take flight... Startling plot reversals keep the play
fascinating up to the final melodic fadeout... The five member ensemble is rock-solid... Levy's classy production
delivers a symphony of harmonious pleasures." - Les Spindle
RAVE! - BroadwayWorld.com - full review - "BRILLIANT!... What more can be said that has not already been extoled?... Sensational work from
all five actors!... Levy's direction is impeccable... With an astounding cast and direction, THIS PRODUCTION IS ONE
MORE CLASSIC FOR THE CLASS-A FOUNTAIN THEATRE." - Don Grigware
RAVE! - CultureSpotLA.com - full review - "THE MUST-SEE PRODUCTION!... The characters are richly drawn, the dialogue true to life and
the story compelling. The actors, all with exceptional credits in theater (and some having made recognizable TV appearances),
make wonderful music together... Hollinger portrays human relationships with an accuracy and sensitivity
that give it a universal appeal. That’s what makes “Opus” compelling and assures its longevity."
- Julie Riggott
LATheatreReview.com - full review - "I CAN SUM UP MY REACTION IN ONE WORD: 'BRAVISSIMO.' Opus is an all-around professional
production, with artistry, craft and attention to detail that is not lost on the audience and has become the hallmark of
Fountain Theatre productions... The acting is excellent all-around." - Joel Elkins
RAVE! - ReviewPlays.com/Santa
Monica Daily Press/San Diego Jewish World - full review - "MAGNIFICENT! - Exquisite play! - Impeccable timing... Gorgeous music... an altogether
absorbing study of very real and very human individuals as they cope with their lives and prepare for the most important
performance of their careers. A performance to which we, along with the president, can only shout “Bravo!”
- Cynthia Citron
- Park LaBrea News/Beverly Press - full review - "THERE'S LITTLE TO SAY ABOUT PERFECTION. EXCEPT THAT THE FOUNTAIN THEATRE DOES IT AGAIN!... The
play is not just about a string quartet; it's about relationships, commitment, connection, survival, ambition, the individuality
and the plurality in harmony, life, love and every worthwhile endeavor... EVERY PERFORMANCE IN THIS UTTERLY DELIGHTFUL
PLAY IS A GEM, DISTINCT AND PURE... And there is the hallmark of meticulous directing, which always abounds in
Levy's work!... 'Opus' demonstrates how working together creates beautiful music." - Madeleine
GO! - L.A. Weekly - full review - "CANNY SCRIPT... Because classical music can be such a sublime art form, one tends to regard those
musicians as inhabiting a more celestial sphere than the rest of us. Playwright and classically trained violist Michael
Hollinger confutes that notion with this PERCIPIENT DRAMA, which examines the political and emotional fracas
within a string quartet... SOLID ENSEMBLE." - Deborah Klugman
RAVE! - L.A. Weekly (2nd review) -
full review - "What happens at play's end, after the White House appearance, could be Shakespearean, were it the story of a king
rather than a little-known string quartet. But it's all there: The personal intrigue, democracy, hypocrisy and tyranny walking
arm-in-arm. Sometimes in four or five people, you can see the whole world. And that Hollinger has pulled
that off in a somewhat minor key is no minor accomplishment. Then again, HE'S WELL SERVED BY THE ENSEMBLE, AND THE
DIRECTOR, not to mention music advisers Roy Tanabe and Larry Sonderling. Frederica Nascimento's set has a quasi-expressionistic
backdrop, which captures the rich veneer of the instruments themselves, and Peter Bayne's crucial sound design is impeccable."
- Steven Leigh Morris
RAVE! - StageSceneLA.com
- full review - "THIS IS L.A. INTIMATE THEATER AT ITS BRILLIANT BEST... Director Simon Levy adds Opus
to the string of hits he’s directed at the Fountain, most recently last year’s equally gripping Photograph
51, and neither his work nor the cast he has assembled could be any better... The Fountain has a history of long-running,
multi-award-winning productions, and Opus looks to be no exception." - Steven Stanley
RAVE! - Buzzine - full review "SOMETHING WONDERFUL HAPPENS WITH A PLAY THAT WORKS... It's a theater experience that doesn't always
happen. It happens in Opus... all excel in this small, well-crafted play." - Clare Elfman
- StageHappenings.com - full review - "A HELLUVA THEATRE EXPERIENCE! This is one high-toned evening that should be viewed by lovers of
theatre and of classical chamber music... Director Simon Levy has worked his signature magic with
the entire production and the five actors are to be congratulated on such intense individual and ensemble work."
- Dale Reynolds
- CultureVulture.net - full review - "A GEM!... Sometimes it seems like the best way to review something terrific is to just lean
back and say, "You must go, see for yourself. It's wonderful." "Opus"
at the Fountain Theatre is just such a gem. It is 90 minutes of tightly written and meticulously acted theater,
entertaining and thought provoking... Watching "Opus," it is hard to believe that the actors
in front of you are not musicians, or for that matter, that they are not a real quartet performing before you... BEAUTIFUL!"
- Karen Weinstein
- Santa Monica Mirror & Splash Magazine Worldwide - full review - "THE FOUNTAIN THEATRE IS ONE OF L.A.'S MOST RESPECTED VENUES having garnered over 200 awards for production,
performance, and design in its 20-year history. Its latest production is certainly destined to be yet another notch on its
belt. Working with a brilliant script by Michael Hollinger, Opus, a stirring look at the behind-the-scenes
drama of a string quartet, award-winning director Simon Levy put together a fabulous ensembleOpus
is a pitch-perfect production that is an extra special treat for classical music lovers, but you don’t
have to love classical music to thoroughly enjoy the performances by this gifted ensemble... A THEATRICAL BREATH
OF FRESH AIR." - Beverly Cohn and created a fascinating evening
- LAStageBlog.com - full review - "A MINOR MASTERPIECE under Simon Levy's direction." - Don Shirley
RAVE! - Hollywood Reporter
- full review "THE ACTING, LIKE MOST STRING QUARTETS, EXCEEDS THE SUM OF ITS PARTS. There is real teamwork, whether
as characters in the play or just actors on a stage doing battle and interacting with one another... Cooper Thornton as the
second violin increasingly dominates the play with his resigned sense of humor, bringing a Jason Robards Jr. sense of pathos
to his work along with a split-second sense of timing. Gregory G. Giles gets bad news and delivers it as only a cellist
with his feet firmly on the ground could do. Between them, Christian Lebano as the controlling first violinist and Daniel
Blinkoff as his ephemeral lover and rival capture the stilted, awkward rituals classical music relationships must go through
in their final stages, like black holes of mortality. The set is cleverly designed to provide the labyrinth through which
all touring ensembles must continually travel... Rips open the heart of classical music." - Laurence
- Los Feliz Ledger - full review - "HILARIOUS AND POIGNANT!... Director Simon Levy has skillfully drawn out the different personalities
of the five characters... Classical music mavens and theater enthusiasts alike will savor “Opus,”
an insightful look into the emotions and angst of a string quartet at the Fountain Theatre. The play was so successful
in its July run that it has been extended through August." - Marilyn Tower Oliver
RAVE! - StageHappenings.com
- full review -
"DROP WHAT YOU'RE DOING RIGHT NOW. MAKE RESERVATIONS FOR 'OPUS'... exquisitely directed
by Simon Levy... five superb actors... the audience sits mesmerized... This intimate production is LIVING
THEATRE AT ITS BEST." - Shirle Gottlieb
PHOTOGRAPH 51 (2009) - Director
L.A. Weekly - PICK OF THE WEEK - "SHOULD NOT BE MISSED! - Simon Levy efficiently orchestrates the manipulation
of time and space, turning vast leaps into imperceptible segues, and inspiring powerful performances from his actors. The
entire cast sparkles." - Mayank Keshaviah
Monica Daily Press - "ENTHRALLING! - Impeccably directed by The Fountain’s Simon Levy... Despite her prickly personality
and personal tragedies, director Simon Levy has presented her as a rich and sympathetic character. And the men around
her, treacherous as they might have been, are also presented with sympathy and understanding. Further, what might have
become a fairly static recitation about a complex and barely comprehensible scientific subject is rendered enthrallingly exciting
with the help of Travis Gale Lewis’ innovative set design and Kathi O’Donohue’s dramatic lighting. Lewis’
set, a series of angled, solid black walls, comes to life as blackboards as Franklin, in her lab, and Watson and Crick in
theirs, rush to chalk up their arcane formulas and drawings as they approach the solution to their quest. 'Photograph
51' is an important slice of history, beautifully acted and intriguingly presented. An exciting adventure all around."
- Cynthia Citron
CurtainUp.com - "This STUNNING
PRODUCTION of Anna Ziegler's prize-winning play is whipped into a tightly-paced 90 minutes by director Simon Levy at
The Fountain Theatre... Ziegler superbly sculpts the humanity and emotional lives of these scientists into their race for
the prize. The play was the winner of the 2008 Stage International Script Competition for Best New Play About Science and
Technology. It well deserves the honor and this production does it justice." - Laura Hitchcock
Back Stage - "Ziegler uses considerable ingenuity to explicate dense
scientific information; create clever, credible characters; and tell a story that won't conform to standard notions of plotting.
Franklin's early death means the tale has no real climax or emotional payoff, but Ziegler juggles her materials so skillfully
that we scarcely notice the lack. Director Simon Levy gives the piece an IMPECCABLE PRODUCTION, with an admirable young cast.
Alpert combines Franklin's brusque authority with vivacity and charm." - Neal Weaver
Variety - "TERRIFIC! - Polished and entertaining... Director Simon Levy
directs the show smoothly, segueing from straight drama to narration to the lead character's private imaginings with admirable
clarity. Attention clearly has been paid to the actors' performances...Alpert is terrific as Franklin, full of astringent
authority and tart humor, a woman in full control of herself, if not her world." - Terry Morgan
LA CityBeat - "ABSORBING AND TOUCHING! - The no-nonsense Franklin
is seen here not simply as a casualty of sexism but also, more dimensionally, as a woman whose loner obstinacy might even
have irritated other women scientists – if any of them had been in the labs. Partially because of her premature death
at age 37, from a cancer that Ziegler suggests might have been caused by her work in the lab, she assumes a tragic stature
that elevates the play and Simon Levy’s staging into an absorbing and touching event." - Dpn Shirley
THE MILK TRAIN DOESN'T STOP HERE ANYMORE (2007) - Director
L.A. Weekly - GO! - "SUPERB! - Director Simon Levy and a terrific
cast headed by Karen Kondazian do a magnificent job of bringing this black comedy to life. The production design is as superb
as the cast." - Sandra Ross
Back Stage West - CRITIC'S
PICK! - "Fascinating production! - Director Simon Levy skillfully manages to make this world of isolation, privilege,
deception, lust, and hallucination work as a richly textured whole." - Wenzel Jones
L.A. Times – “TALENTED CAST! – The Fountain Theatre’s new production lunges into this problematic
play with energy and enthusiasm… the cast is deliciously game.” – David Ng
CurtainUp.com - "It's getting the best performance it's likely to have at the Fountain
Theatre under the direction of Simon Levy, whose intuitive understanding of the playwright has earned him exceptional privileges
from the vigilant Williams estate." - Laura Hitchcock
- "COURAGEOUS! - Levy's handsomely staged production (awesome set by Travis Gale Lewis, fine costumes by Shon Le Blanc,
marvelous lighting by Kathi O'Donohue, superb sound effects by David B. Marling) is crisply professional. Kondazian is a consummate
actress... Rodgers is superb... Pelikan brings welcome down-to-earth realism to her role... Rhino Michaels, Dominic Acosta
and Lauren Silvi offer fine support. Valiant production under Simon Levy's assured direction." - Les Spindle
MASTER CLASS (2007) - Director
Santa Barbara News-Press - "KONDAZIAN
DAZZLES! It's easy to see why Kondazian won an Ovation Award for this role... The Santa Barbara Theatre production provides
the rare pleasure of watching one virtuoso portray another... Under Simon Levy's direction, the three students also do fine
work... Of the three productions of the play I have seen, this one EXEMPLIFIES WHAT CALLAS STOOD FOR." - Tom Jacobs
CASA Santa Barbara - "A MASTERFUL MASTER CLASS!... Karen Kondazian is mercurial, mesmerizing... [she] displays
her mastery, her artistry in the role... DIRECTOR SIMON LEVY HAS ORCHESTRATED THE PLAY PERFECTLY!" - Alex Henteloff
The Independent - "ENTERTAINING AND MOVING!... Karen Kondazian was wonderful... GENIUS PRODUCTION... BRILLIANT!"
- Charles Donelan
Special to CASA - "BRILLIANT PERFORMANCE... Under the direction of Simon
Levy, Karen Kondazian DAZZLED the Lobero audience... hitting the STANDING OVATION button at the finale. BRAVO!" - Hedda
THE GIMMICK (2006) - Director
CRITIC'S CHOICE! - Los Angeles Times
"RIVETING AND INSPIRING! ELEGANT AND POETIC! This solo piece is guaranteed to
touch the soul of anyone who's ever aspired to a better life. With understated supplemental music and lighting, Simon Levy's
staging deftly showcases his performer's talents to best advantage... Orlandersmith's performance mines brutally honest anguish,
longing and beauty that transcend time and place in a voice all her own. In the end, she leaves us heartbroken, stirred and
above all GRATEFUL FOR LETTING US INTO HER WORLD." - Philip Brandes
CRITIC'S PICK! - Back Stage West
INTIMATE AND POWERFUL!
With pulsing physicality and a visceral
embrace of language... Orlandersmith has such a strong connection to her material that it's impossible not to be completely
drawn in; HER WORDS AND PRESENCE ARE INESCAPABLE... Simon Levy directs, and the production makes beautiful use of lighting
by Kathi O'Donohue and sound by David B. Marling." - Jennie Webb
Reporter - "SPELLBINDING! POWERFUL! POETIC! Orlandersmith combines the riveting personal power of a Maya Angelou with
the theatrical command of a professionally trained actress... Orlandersmith is more than a charismatic talker; she is physically
gifted as well. BRILLIANT!" - Lawrence Vittes