THE LIGHT PRINCESS in the PRESS

NEW YORK TIMES - CRITIC'S PICK

Directed by Allegra Libonati, the production favors a refreshingly low-tech aesthetic. Rather than a harness, acrobatic actors skillfully bear the princess aloft. The set design, by Julia Noulin-Merat, includes puppets (by Kathleen Doyle), cutouts and a lake of billowing blue fabric that the ensemble raises and lowers. As it rises around the prince’s head, you, like the princess, suddenly feel what’s been missing: a heart-tugging weight.

As this is a fairy tale, it’s no spoiler to say that the princess achieves gravity. By the end, only young theatergoers are walking on air.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/02/theater/review-the-light-princess-a-musical-at-the-new-victory-theater.html?_r=0

THEATER MANIA

The Light Princess is bound to leave everyone who sees it feeling uplifted. Before kids learn to defy gravity at another musical that's been playing uptown, they should experience the delights of The Light Princess for an unforgettable first taste of live musical theater.

http://www.theatermania.com/new-york-city-theater/reviews/the-light-princess_71943.html

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Hairspray in the Press

HAIRSPRAY RECEIVES 17 CT THEATRE AWARD NOMINATIONS
FROM BROADWAYWORLD.COM

Including: Best Profressional Theatre Company, Best Musical, Best: Director, Musical, Director, Choregographer, Lighting Design, Costume Design, Scenic Design, Leading Actors in a Musical, Leading Actressesss in a Musical, Featured Actors & Actresses in a Musical, Best Ensemble in a Musical. 

 

Reviews ...

"A FULL-FLEDGED BROADWAY QUALITY
PERFORMANCE"

CINDY CARDOZO, BROADWAYWORLD.COM    REVIEW BELOW 

"THIS IS A SHOW YOU CAN'T MISS THIS SUMMER!
- RYAN ELIZABETH LOGIE, Moffly Media     REVIEW BELOW

"BETTER THAN BROADWAY - AT A THIRD THE PRICE"
- SUSAN GRANGER, SSG Syndicate, CT Critics Circle    REVIEW BELOW

"STONC DELIVERS THE BEAT THAT CAN'T BE STOPPED!"
- Geary Danihy,  Connecticut Theater News and Reviews, CT Critics Circle     REVIEW BELOW

"HAIRSPRAY EXPLODES IN DIZZYING DELIGHT IN NEW CANAAN!"
 BONNIE GOLDBERG  - Middletown Press, CT Critics Circle member      REVIEW BELOW

"HAIRSPRAY IS PERFECT ENTERTAINMENT"
MARLENE S. GAYLINN - CT Critics Circle Member     REVIEW BELOW

"HAIRSPRAY WILL BLOW YOU AWAY"
TOM NISSLEY - For the Ridgelea Reports on Theatre, CT Critics Circle Member       REVIEW BELOW

"YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS ONE SINGLE BEAT OF THIS PRODUCTION"
Karen Dydzuhn  -  PATCH.COM

"Summer Theatre of New Canaan rocks the summer months with the powerhouse, feel-good musical, Hairspray. This wonderful production runs through August 3rd outside of New Canaan High School. But don't let the setting fool you. Despite the fact that this show is presented in a unique, all-weather, open-air tent, it is no small, community production. For the price of admission, you are treated to a full-fledged Broadway quality performance that rivals and, in some cases, surpasses many older, well-established, year-round theaters. Audiences of all ages will enjoy this upbeat show featuring a musical score reminiscent of the heyday of early 1960's rock & roll and its hopeful message of inclusion, idealism, and fearlessness in the face of prejudice.  

 

 

South Pacific in the Press

Broadway World Reviews: South Pacific in New Canaan
Sherry S. Cohen

It’s not just Bali Ha’i that will call you. It’s Roger’s  and Hammerstein’s South Pacific. This is a show that’s hard to get wrong, because everyone loves the book and the music. But director Allegra Libonati did all the right things to make this production a must-see at the Summer Theatre of New Canaan.

Lest you think that this is just an amateur production presented in a tent, then you jumped head first to the wrong conclusions. For starters, Libonati chose an exceptional cast, notably Tiffan Borelli as Ensign Nellie Forsbush), Daniel Klein as Emile de Becque, Janelle A. Robinson as Bloody Mary, Jason Michael Evens as Lt. Joseph Cable, Nick Reynolds as Luther Billis, and Kim Wong as Liat. (Several cast members are members of Actors Equity Association.) Then there is Julia Noulin-Mérat’s brilliant set design, which included steps that Libonati used very effectively regardless of the scene. It was simple, but certainly evoked the impressiveness of de Becque’s plantation, the simplicity of the naval base and office, the streets, and a house of ill-repute. Part of the back tenting was open, and the lush trees of Waveny Park enhanced the set. Sara Cogan’s costumes were faultless, as was David Hancock Turner’s musical direction (with a 10-piece orchestra that included wind, brass and bowed instruments).

The message of book is still relevant. By coincidence, the show opened Summer Theatre of New Canaan’s 10th season just as Paual Deen’s show was cancelled because of her racist slur. How timely is that?

Borelli, who previously played Ensign Janet Macgregor at the Maine State Music Theatre’s production of South Pacific, was born to play Nellie. A native of Oklahoma, she got the Arkansas accent right, but what was more impressive was that she nailed the retro style look and subtle mannerisms of the era. She is also a first-rate singer. Klein, an opera singer, has a smooth voice and smooth movements that are perfect for musical theatre. Robinson was the most likeable Bloody Mary this critic has ever seen. Evens, as Cable, projected the right bearing as a Princeton WASP who is struggling to break out of his social prison. (Next stop: A.R. Gurney’s [fill in the blank]!) He and Wong had good chemistry as the ill-fated lovers. Reynolds was funny and energetic as Billis.

The Summer Theatre of New Canaan’s production of South Pacific is absolutely outstanding. Even if you’ve seen the show several times before, make sure you see this production. It just may make other productions look pale in comparison.

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MY FAIR LADY in the Press

It is abso-bloomin-lutely safe to give this production of “My Fair Lady” a score of 15 on a scale of 1-10. Don’t miss it, and don’t wait.
Tom Nissley,  Ridgelea Reports on Theatre,  Connecticut Critics Circle

Perfection in its 'loverly' way and should not be missed.
Bonnie Goldberg,  Connecticut Critics Circle

Richard Sheridan Willis creates a strong Henry Higgins, putting his own stamp on the character. He manages to combine charm and irascibility in equal measure, from the moment he comes on stage.
Irene Backalenick,  nytheaterscene.com, Connecticut Critics Circle

Memorable is Brian Silliman as Alfie Doolittle, Eliza's loving father. Silliman is one of the company's living treasures, creating a delicious and hilarious character (as he has in such past performances as Falstaff and Sir Toby Belch). And with fine performances right on target are Gary Harger as Colonel Pickering and Anne Holbrook as Henry Higgins' mother. Christian Libonati is an appealing Freddie... all backed by a solid ensemble, under Allegra Libonati's steady direction.
Irene Backalenick, nytheaterscene.com, Connecticut Critics Circle

Allegra Libonati's excellent direction was entirely true to the show, and to the play that inspired it, and Doug Shankman's comic choreography was both lots of fun, and aristocratically stylish when appropriate, very well executed by the cast...Clever set pieces and effective lighting, by Charles Pavarini and Devon Allen, respectively, evoked the right atmosphere for the show. The costumes by Arthur Oliver were positively sumptuous, especially the Ascot scene and, of course, the Embassy Ball. Orchestra conducted by a very talented young man, David Hancock Turner, handled Loewe's almost-symphonic score extremely well.
Anderson Broecking, Brooks Community Papers

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H4 in the Press

"H4 is gutsy and engaging drama …  you will sense the quicksilver energy of this production …  Allegra Libonati's direction is intelligent, and sometimes ingenious... Michael Chmiel is ideal as the overreacher Henry "Hotspur" Percy, seamlessly blending chivalry with recklessness … One cannot help being captivated by Sarah B. Brown's minimalist set, Brenda Abbandandolo's modern-day costumes, and Johnathan Carr's first-rate media design... It's a gripping interpretation... H4 gets the thumbs up." - CurtainUp.com

"Resonance Ensemble's H4 is a marvelous rendition of this Shakespeare history. Amidst rollicking farce and fast-paced action, we clearly get the story of a boy willing to sacrifice himself and his friends to accept his destiny as a man and king...  The adaptation by Michael Chmiel, Allegra Libonati, Michael Nathanson, and Brian Silliman is an excellent cutting and intermeshing of the two parts of Henry IV...  There are many fine performances to speak of  ... heartbreaking ... hilarious ... heavy metal air guitar matches fantastically with a scene's dialogue ... towering, bloodthirsty ... spine-tingling ... magic...so many great moments, it temporarily transports the space into another sphere of energy...  Johnathan Carr innovatively uses video projections that interact with on-stage characters... Libonati's coordination of all the elements at work here, the variety of characters and scenic styles, makes for a smooth yet unpredictable production... during intermission, audience members sprinted back into their seats." 

 

Snow Queen, Wayne State  in the Press

https://bonstelleandstudiotheatres.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/a-moment-with-allegra-libonati-guest-director-of-the-snow-queen/