"GREAT SCRIPT... ITS OWN WORK OF ART." - Missoula Independent

"MAGNIFICENT... GREAT THEATER!" - Minneapolis Post-Bulletin










THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT (2023) - Director

Los Angeles Times - “ENGAGING COMEDY… The play is based on a book by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal that recounts their EPIC JOURNALISTIC BATTLE over the meaning of truth… the intensity of the fighting is fierce… thanks to the ROBUST PERFORMANCE of Ron Bottitta [as John D’Agata]… [Jonah] Robinson is perfectly persnickety as [Jim] Fingal… THE CONFLICT IS RATCHETED UP FOR COMIC EFFECT. The play’s authors don’t take sides. D’Agata’s position is hardly defensible on literary grounds, but the obsessiveness of Fingal can make it seem that no piece of information can withstand his relentless scrutiny… Sweating the small details at a time when authoritarians are blurring the line between fact and fiction is URGENT BUSINESS. But so too is reexamining our assumptions about these categories, which may not be as discrete as we think.” - Charles McNulty

BroadwayWorld - “SIZZLING PERFORMANCES AND SOME TASTY BRAIN FOOD… a smartly-acted brain-tickler that makes its points and LANDS ITS BLOWS WITH HUMOR AND INTELLECT… Truth vs. embellishment. Ethics vs. essence. Article vs. essay. What I as a journalist might label a fact - something knowable and verifiable - a creative writer could transform into something untrue but still utterly beautiful. These contradictions construct the rabbit hole that is THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT… The time spent with author D'Agata, fact-checker Fingal and editor Emily Penrose should make any thinking theatergoer eager to start reading, start writing or at the very least, hop the next flight to Las Vegas… Levy taps the push-pull dynamic between these two men [Bottitta and Robinson] for all its potential both COMIC AND DRAMATIC.” - Evan Henerson 

Splash Magazines - “YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS THIS PRODUCTION… this clever story proves to be timely and – in the midst of laughs – profound… PROVOCATIVE AND CHALLENGINGHUMOROUS AND WITTY as it pits these two men against each other, resulting in a HILARIOUS SLUGFEST between “facts” and “truth.” It is also a RIVETING psychological study of two men diametrically opposed to each other’s views – and a possible (or at least hopeful) mediator trying to salvage the situation. This is a stimulating analysis – not only of an idea, but also of the people willing to defend that idea at all costs. The actor’s energetic approach to the topic is also REFRESHING AND HIGHLY ENTERTAINING.” - Elaine Mura

StageSceneLA - “WOW!VERY FUNNY — and very discussion-prompting… Fountain audiences get treated to a MULTITUDE OF LAUGHS (and some tense, emotion-packed dramatic moments as well), all of this under the assured directorial hand of Simon Levy… Bottitta delivers yet ANOTHER MEMORABLE STAR TURN as a man so set in his ways and so convinced of the rightness of his literary mission that he’s not about to let some inexperienced upstart dictate what he should and should not write… TALENTED NEWCOMER Robinson proves himself more than capable of giving Bottitta as good as he gets, and their verbal combat ignites ABUNDANT COMEDIC, DRAMATIC SPARKS. Tudor completes the STELLAR TRIO to razor-edged perfection as a woman caught in the middle, both figuratively and quite literally in the play’s stunning fade to black… I FOUND IT BOTH COMPELLING AND ENTERTAINING.” - Steven Stanley

Culver City News - “A HIGHLY ENTERTAINING, VERY FUNNY and extremely well written and presented play… THOUGHT-PROVOKING with zinging one-liners, the play explodes into a HILARIOUS SLUGFEST between “facts” and “truth,” making it hard to imagine a play being timelier, given how suspect sources of facts can be these days… BRILLIANTLY DIRECTED by Simon Levy… all THREE TALENTED ACTORS expertly handle the push me-pull you aspects of the tightly-wound script to its full advantage, generating laughs as well as knowing grunts of recognition as thought-provoking questions are asked… EXCELLENT PRODUCTION.” - Shari Barrett

Larchmont Buzz - “AN EDGE OF THE SEAT THRILLER… about fact-checking… an intellectual battle between fact and story that’s so COMPELLING that you might never look at an essay the same way again. It pits accuracy against “truth” in ENTERTAINING AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING ways that are BEAUTIFULLY STAGED by director Simon Levy, in a perfectly designed set by Joel Daavid [with] EXCEPTIONAL ACTING.” - Laura Foti Cohen

Hollywood Progressive - “HARD-HITTINGWITTY… vividly brought alive by a cast of TOP NOTCH THESPS…. EXPERTLY, TAUTLY HELMED by Simon Levy… demonstrates once again that the Fountain Theatre remains one of L.A.’s BEST, SOCIALLY RELEVANT THEATER COMPANIES dedicated to timely, edgy topical productions.” — Ed Rampell

The World Through Night Tinted Glasses - “EXTREMELY FUNNY… follows the misadventures of when an intern Fingal (Jonah Robinson) for a magazine is tasked to do the final fact check on an essay… makes for VERY GOOD COMEDY, but even better drama.” — David MacDowell Blue

On Stage Los Angeles - “This WONDERFUL Fountain Theatre production… based on a true story… flows nicely with three very disparate characters working together: at odds from the get-go: to find their way to the Facts, ma'am, just the Facts?… director Simon Levy guides his actors smoothly through the sticky wickets of well crafted staging… I LOVE THE ORGANIZATION OF THIS PIECE and hope that The Fountain will have, with patrons in attendance, all full houses. DON’T MISS IT!” - Michael Sheehan

Donloe’s Lowdown - “RAPID AND WITTY… a heady, THOUGHT-PROVOKING piece that nudges the audience to think… What’s more important: writing the truth, telling a good story – or somewhere in between.  It takes an intimate look at accuracy, truth, judgment, and ultimately creative license… WHAT REALLY MAKES THIS PLAY WORK ARE THE ACTORS… Levy has directed A SHARP PLAY. The movement around the stage keeps the pace going forward. The repartee between the trio is rapid and witty… The comedy/drama is a case study in the ethics of storytelling.” - Darlene Donloe

Discover Hollywood - “ENTERTAINING AND THOUGHT PROVOKING… under Simon Levy's fine direction [and] the usual fine Fountain Theatre ensemble performance… [the] fast moving script by Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell and Gordon Farrell makes for AN ENJOYABLE PLAY THAT GETS THE THOUGHT PROCESSES GOING.” - Nyla Arslanian

Glamgical - “HILARIOUSA CAPTIVATING PLAY that makes us take a closer look at the avalanche of information to which we are exposed. Media interests, personal opinions, personal experiences, and ethics are all displayed on stage in AN ENTERTAINING AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE.” - Joe Mosqueda

People’s World - “CRISP, SPARKLING DRAMA… In our era not merely of “truthiness” but of outright lies purveyed in our media and by elected leaders of our country, The Lifespan of a Fact COULD HARDLY BE MORE TIMELY… what’s more important: writing the truth, or telling a good story?… The audience is simultaneously entertained by these HILARIOUSLY WRY CHARACTERS, and mentally prodded by their intellectual predicament… THE FOUNTAIN HAS STRUCK GOLD ONCE AGAIN. DON’T MISS IT.” - Eric Gordon

Rubicon Theatre Production:

BroadwayWorld - “A GEM OF A PRODUCTION!  RIVETING! The characters all have the noblest of motives–to tell a compelling story faithfully. They have conflicting values about what the truth means. Therein lies the drama. The play will stay with you long after you’ve gone home!” - Anna Jensen

Santa Barbara Independent - “FURIOUSLY FUNNY…with three excellent actors keeping the battering volley of dialogue pulsing until the inevitable conclusion!" - Maggie Yates

VC Reporter - “EXCELLENT! Seeing these three talented actors chew up the Rubicon scenery is a treat!  Bottitta is perfectly cast as the brash D’Agata, who is supremely confident in his essay. But Robinson is his equal match and foe, and Penrose plays the exasperated editor to a T!” - Tim Pompey

THE CHILDREN (2021) - Director

Los Angeles Times - “GRIPPINGWE HANG ON TO EVERY WORD… Lucy Kirkwood’s “The Children” follows the wisdom of the environmental slogan “think globally, act locally.”… What Kirkwood excels at is creating characters that audiences want to learn more about… The Fountain BRAVELY CONTINUES to bring L.A. audiences important contemporary works the larger theaters in town still haven’t the courage or vision to produce.” - Charles McNulty

TicketHoldersLA - “BEST NEW PLAYACTING AT ITS BEST… This is surely the best play to which we’ve been treated since the world is slowly and tentatively reopening… Bottitta gives the performance of his career… Huffman provides a richly multilayered performance as Rose… Knight gives a heartfelt performance that will linger for many moons to come… Still, it’s the three of these ENORMOUSLY GIFTED FOLKS creating magic together under the patient and insightful leadership of Simon Levy that makes this production so enthrallingKnight, Huffman, and Bottitta offer a textbook example of generous, giving, electrically charged acting at its best, bouncing off one another so brilliantly I bet one could return to this production again and again and see new and completely divergent sparks fly every time. If I were back teaching this semester, I’d be doing everything I could to get my classes to the Fountain to see what quintessential ensemble performance is all about. Above the wonders of this presentation, however, simply The Children is THE BEST NEW PLAY to hit our poor maligned cultural desert oasis in a long time, introducing to our shores a new playwrighting voice in Lucy Kirkwood that could prove to rival some of the best and most appreciated theatrical wordsmiths of the last century.” - Travis Michael Holder

Theatre Notes - “IMPECCABLY MOUNTED… Under the keen direction of Simon Levy, The Children, by British playwright Lucy Kirkwood, is a fast-paced, kitchen-sink wonder with a special kick… The dialogue is ping-pong, non-stop, and the physical movement is ever on-going. And something smolders under the action… Ron Bottitta is a dominating force of nature on stage. Ms. Huffman as Rose, skillfully treads lightly over this domestic mine field, and keeps her revelations tightly within. Lily Knight is a whirlwind of domestic action and keeps a lid on her powerful emotions until they explode. In classical fashion, the action surges towards a climax and dénouement, leaving the audience exhausted and STANDING TO THEIR FEET IN A SUSTAINED OVATION.” - Paul Myrvold

TVolution - “INSIGHTFUL, VICIOUS, ACCUSATORY, DRAMATIC AND VERY, VERY FUNNY, or, in other words, the perfect show for the Fountain Theatre…. a work that amuses us with characters in which we recognize ourselves until it challenges us to realize ourselves…. Bottitta, Huffman and Knight have met every demand of this work superbly… Director Simon Levy has been given a Stradivarius and has played it like one… THEATRE THAT SHOULD NOT BE MISSED.” — Ernest Kearney

ArtsBeatLA - “A TERRIFIC PRODUCTION… boasts a trio of excellent performances and sharp yet often humorous writing. I found the show enjoyable and expertly done… Knight excels as Hazel… Huffman is very good… Bottitta, an actor whose performances I’ve admired for many years, continues to impress as Robin, equally adept in comedic and dramatic moments… Director Simon Levy gets STRONG, EMOTIONAL WORK from his actors, keeps the pacing tight.” - Terry Morgan

Cultural Daily - “STARTLING - Leave it to LA’s ever-adventurous Fountain Theatre to deliver the Los Angeles premiere of this cleverly conceived British play. It is wrapped in enough enigmatic spoilers to make it impossible for me to reveal any of them. Kirkwood is a rising young writer who’s made a name for herself in England by dabbling in the quirky and the sly. When that gets your attention, she unleashes the fully unexpected. To tell you much more about The Children would damage your chance to experience it, which is the point after all and what this play deserves. So mum’s the word… the production, directed by Simon Levy, gets high marks overall for its dramaturgical sturdiness… a cast of three seasoned actors who know how to balance the intensely conflicting and contradictory human traits required of them… A TAUT PRODUCTION AS ARRESTING AS IT IS UNPREDICTABLE IN THE BEST POSSIBLE SENSE.” - Sylvie Drake

Splash Magazines - “SUPERBMOMENTOUS… In an era of climate change and a constant search for safe energy, Tony-nominated THE CHILDREN asks today’s big questions: What about the future? Do we have a personal responsibility for the direction the world takes? What kind of legacy will we leave behind? Does one generation owe anything the next? Playwright Lucy Kirkwood REALLY NAILS IT… Levy helms the production with attention to the small details which make up a life and define an individual. His honest approach to the fallible human beings involved allows the audience to identify with people as well as with philosophical issues. The TALENTED CAST DOES A SUPERB JOB of turning a slice of ordinary life into a momentous moment in time as they breathe life into the characters and their story… The entire cast and crew seem to understand and appreciate the apocalyptic and insoluble quality of these events and their consequences. THE CHILDREN comes along at the perfect time in our history and reflects the conundrums we all face daily.” - Elaine Mura

Larchmont Buzz - “ASKS IMPORTANT QUESTIONSAN INTENSE DOMESTIC DRAMA CROSSED WITH A HEART-STOPPING THRILLERThe Children is a Tony-nominated play getting its West Coast premiere at the Fountain Theatre—and it bears mentioning that it’s performed indoors. Wearing a mask during its emotional story and backdrop of ecological disaster underscores the dangers that undermine our own heightened sense of control over our environment… BEAUTIFULLY CAPTURES the indignity of human frailty and the heroic potential of the human spirit. It asks important questions about the obligations of parents, scientists and human beings in general to protect the earth and their fellow inhabitants.” - Laura Foti Cohen

People’s World - “METICULOUSLY CONCEIVED… a highly successful production of A GORGEOUS PLAY.” - Eric A. Gordon

Discover Hollywood - “THEATRE MAGIC… SUPERB CAST… Settling in at The Fountain for a performance of The Children, Lucy Kirkwood's Tony-nominated play, felt like coming home… For a truly engaging evening (or Sunday afternoon), The Children absolutely delivers and what a joy it is to be back at Hollywood's favorite intimate theatre, The Fountain.” - Nyla Arslanian

Theatre Spoken Here - “A BRILLIANT PREMISE… Lily Knight and Ron Bottitta are superb.” - Morna Martell

On Stage Los Angeles - “CHALLENGING [AND] IMPORTANT… dark humor… STRONG PERFORMANCES." - Michael Sheehan

Angeles Stage - “SHOULD BE SEEN… AND HEARD… Director Simon Levy’s TERRIFIC CAST makes every moment matter in this PROVOCATIVE PLAY.” — Don Shirley

StageSceneLA - “BELIEVABLY REAL… Ron Bottitta, Elizabeth Elias Huffman, and Lily Knight are THREE REMARKABLE ACTORS doing powerful work under Simon Levy’s assured direction.” - Steven Stanley

Stage and Cinema - “THE JOURNEY IS RICH AND HIGHLY RECOMMENDEDThree Los Angeles treasures (Bottitta, Huffman, Knight) richly explore and exploit the tangled pain of three too-tested friends. The dark humor — handled with a theatrical reality rarely seen in L.A. house by director Simon Levy — enhances the looming lessons Kirkwood delivers… BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN PLAY.” - Tony Frankel

DANIEL'S HUSBAND (2019) - Director

CRITICS’ CHOICE!Los Angeles Times – “AN ABSORBING PLAY ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE… ‘Daniel’s Husband,’ A CERTIFIED SMALL-SCALE CROWD-PLEASER, is perhaps most moving in those moments it expands our understanding of family. The play, gaining strength from the intimacy of the Fountain Theatre and the general excellence of the production, begins in laughter, culminates in tears and leaves off in contemplation of the dangers in putting off for another day what matters most… skillful and intelligent… THE ACTORS, UNDER THE DIRECTION OF SIMON LEVY, ARE WONDERFUL.” – Charles McNulty

RAVE!BroadwayWorld – “A PERFECT 10![an] ideal convergence of uniformly talent of talents – with witty, realistic, heart-rendering dialogue by playwright Michael McKeever; sturdy, even-paced directing by Simon Levy; first-rate technical elements; and A PITCH, PITCH-PERFECT CAST of five actors, each at the top of their individual games… May I suggest, that aside from all the laughing you probably will be doing, you might need something to wipe the tears from your eyes. Don’t wait to meet DANIEL’S HUSBAND and his marvelous cohorts!!!” — Gil Kaan

RAVE! – Santa Monica Daily Press – “WELL, THE FOUNTAIN THEATRE HAS DONE IT AGAIN! It has mounted another play that is ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. This one is exquisitely written by playwright Michael McKeever, meticulously directed by the Fountain’s own Producing Director, Simon Levy, and it features one of the finest ensemble casts to be seen currently in Los Angeles…or anywhere else, for that matter… A MAGNIFICENT PRODUCTION that keeps the audience totally engaged, contemplating, perhaps, the very human issues that can challenge and overwhelm those whose lives are different from our own. Don’t miss it!” – Cynthia Citron

RAVE!TicketHoldersLA – “A DYNAMIC CAST honed to razor-sharpness by director Simon Levy… Even though at first one might think Daniel’s Husband is going to be all about crème brulee and the issue of multigenerational relationships, those topics soon fade into dust and the last third of the play is guaranteed to leave you moved and emotionally exhausted, albeit in a gorgeously lyrical way… Brochtrup, O’Hara, and Levy’s knockout supporting players are uniformly exceptional and quite stunning throughout, turning on a dime from playing an updated version of Harold and Emory blowing out the birthday candles to ripping the heart out of anyone in attendance… Yet it is Cummings who, under the extremely passionate leadership of Levy, delivers one of the most indelible performances of a man in pain that anyone could possibly imagine, culminating in a harrowing confrontational scene between he and O’Hara that is the stuff awards are made to honor. It is simply THE PERFORMANCE OF A LIFETIME from an actor who, despite my once bashing him quite ruthlessly in a review at this same theatre, has given us a plethora of brilliant performances over the ensuing years… Levy’s direction is incredibly in tune to the rhythms of McKeever’s play, which in itself is SURELY DESTINED TO BE A CLASSIC IN THE ANNALS OF CONTEMPORARY GAY DRAMA. DeAnne Mallais’ impressively and elegantly appointed set is a welcome addition, as are the contributions of Levy’s crackerjack team of designers… I’m still not sure if my kinship with these characters is due to my own situation in life, but I suspect it’s more universal than that. Daniel’s Husband  is a tribute to committing oneself to love and live, written by a splendid wordsmith and assayed by a brilliant team of designers and players who tenderly make a plea for us all to be kinder and more conscientious of our place in the world if we care enough to try to leave it a better place.” – Michael Travis Holder

RAVE!Talkin’ Broadway – “THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PREMIERE AT THE FOUNTAIN THEATRE SERVES THE PLAY BRILLIANTLY AND FEATURES A SUPERB CAST… It’s always a nice moment when a work of art surprises me in a positive way. It reminds me of one of the reasons I love theater in the first place: the primal pull of story. It’s the delight of seeing something new when one was expecting something else… Cummings is great as MitchellBrochtrup is terrific as DanielO’Hara excels as LydiaMartin delivers wry humor and quiet kindness as Barry… McKeever has a skill with humorous turns of phrase… The dramatic scenes are the most memorable, however, and McKeever successfully creates strong emotional moments while creating an intriguing discussion about gay marriage and legal issues… Director Simon Levy gets excellent, subtle work from his cast, and benefits significantly from DeAnne Millais’ elegant living room set… The Fountain Theatre has created a very fine production of Daniel’s Husband, a lovely surprise that local theater-lovers should seek out.” – Terry Morgan

RAVE!Discover Hollywood Magazine – “THE ACTORS HAD A REMARKABLE SCRIPT TO WORK WITH. There was nothing that didn’t ring true. All the dialogue seemed real and was an extraordinary match with the actors…. And the ending was very very touching…. The show is very relatable… At the show’s center is the portrayal of a realistic long-time couple (the amazing Bill Brochtrup and Tim Cummings) who are committed and devoted to each other — just not legally married. They give us a gift — a chance to experience their loving, intimate, yet masculine, relationship… To the well-deserved credit of the writer (Michael McKeever) and director (Simon Levy), THIS IS A SHOW THAT WILL LEAVE AUDIENCES GRATEFUL FOR THE TIME THEY SPENT TOGETHER.” – Bill Garry (in conversation with Michael Breitner)

RAVE!OnStageLosAngeles – “THE ABSOLUTE BEAUTY of McKeever’s story rings true in a human way, a personal and loving way… Simon Levy’s fluid direction is  subtle, allowing the progress of each of the characters room for revelations that must be indicated in McKeever’s script, but enhanced by the craft of each one of the actors… DeAnne Mallais’s beautiful set enhanced by perfect lights by Jennifer Edwards and Peter Baynes’s complementary sound completes the picture.  The ultimate message must give pause to each of us, of any orientation, that Love is the Answer, but not always the answer that we may expect nor expect to have to live with.” – Michael Sheehan

RAVE!Culver City News – “PERFECTLY SCRIPTED, ACTED AND DIRECTED by this brilliant team… Jenny O’Hara lights up the stage… the skill of these four actors in presenting honest and truthful characters, and Simon Levy’s skill at keeping them intertwining with each other as the conversation switches sides, will have you looking at your own behavior in relationships with piercing insight… BE PREPARED TO BE AMAZED… And walk away in awe of this outstanding production sure to be a hit at next year’s Ovation Awards.” – Shari Barrett

RAVE!San Diego Jewish Times/Carol’s Theatre Reviews – “TWO THUMBS UP!… Director Simon Levy and his top-notch ensemble bring out the good, the bad and the ugly of each of the five characters… CUMMINGS GIVES US A PERFORMANCE OF A LIFETIME… There is no doubt that the entire cast is completely and emotionally invested in this production. True emotions that run this deep can’t be phoned in. While I can’t speak to my fellow playgoers, yours truly left a little teary eyed knowing what heartbreak lies ahead for all involved… And the answer to your question: Yes it was well worth the drive [from San Diego].” – Carol Davis

RAVE! – “This is a play that RESONATES LONG AFTER THE FINAL MOMENTS… A largely domestic comedy with tragic overtones, the story gains its resonance from the interactions among the characters as they grapple with life and its surprises… Thanks to the fine production, this night of theater stimulates discussion and debate… Brochtrup and Cummings make their relationship believable, sympathetic, and complex. O’Hara makes a compelling case for her interference, and her portrait of the mother is subtle and nuanced. Martin and Fernando’s characterizations normalize what could be too melodramatic if focused solely on the crisis. They interject as friends who have a role to play as tragedy strikes, and they must look on. Both handle their parts with just the right sense of support… Director Simon Levy skillfully provides a balanced and evenhanded touch at the lighthearted and charming outset, but when Daniel’s fate has to be decided, he gives the actors space to explore the realism of the situation with empathy and believability. His emphasis on the multi-dimensional nature of the characters adds to the thoughtful import of the story.” – Melinda Schupmann

RAVE!Hollywood Revealed – “A DELIGHTAN EXCITING PIECE OF QUALITY THEATRE… will send you running to the historic Fountain Theatre in Hollywood to see a superior drama… Solidly directed by Simon Levy, with EXCELLENT CASTING, this ninety-minute play flies by in an instant… Director Levy makes sure the actors reach their emotional goals, and every one of them makes the most of their moments. Watching the four middle-aged actors not over-or under-play their characters’ wants and needs is a joy to behold… What works so well in this well-crafted, small-set drama is the balance McKeever shows in his characters: Lydia is no villain and Mitchell has a strong point. So the vivid setup works like gangbusters and THE PLAYWRIGHT HAS A HIT PLAY in his satchel.” – Dale Reynolds

RAVE!San Diego Gay and Lesbian News – “CLEVER, CHARMING, AND FUNNY… There are lots of clever and just plain funny plays out there, but “Daniel’s Husband” keeps your attention thanks to sharply written characters and TERRIFIC ACTORS who bring them to vibrant life… These are all folks I’d love to have dinner with. They’re bright, funny and delightful to be around… Kudos to director Simon Levy for setting the right tone. Special mention to DeAnne Millais for the beautiful set, and to Jennifer Edwards, Peter Bayne and Michael Mullen for their excellent lighting, sound and costume designs. “Daniel’s Husband” is a fine play with something to say, and excellently performed.” – Jean Lowerison

People’s World – “I LOVE THE FOUNTAIN THEATRE… I was one of those at the end of those 90 minutes (no intermission) proud to give it a much deserved standing ovationMcKeever’s dialogue is crisp and timely, campy and humorous too, revelatory of the comfortable lifestyle two accomplished professionals, an architect and a writer, have created for themselves. LEVY HAS CAST THE PLAY PERFECTLY and organized the characters’ interrelationships most convincingly… the play is so well acted, and the theme is so important, that it does deserve to be seen.” – Eric A. Gordon

KCRW 89.9FM – “GO SEE DANIEL’S HUSBAND’… The reason to see ‘Daniel’s Husband is the cast… THESE ARE SOME OF THE FINEST ACTORS IN L.A. …. the kind of acting that makes small intimate theater special… you’re not going to see a cast this good in a space this small in other cities… ENJOY THESE ACTORS!” — Anthony Byrnes

THE IMMIGRANT (2018) - Director

RAVE! - BroadwayWorld - "EXTRAORDINARY!... You will laugh, nod your heard in agreement, and shed a few tears during this gloriously heartfelt journey... Director Simon Levy, who has won much acclaim for his current production of Chaim Potok's The Chosen at the Fountain Theatre, now brings his directorial insight on achieving assimilation into America to the Sierra Madre Playhouse... The play is a timely and touching meditation on parents and children, newcomers and natives, Christians and Jews, and on what it means to be an American... Be prepared to be amazed!... four remarkable actors... Don't miss this extraordinary look at a family's journey from hardship to living the American dream, through both heartbreak and wonder." - Shari Barrett

RAVE! - Splash Magazine - "5 STARS!... POWERFUL STORY with many fascinating revelations of the human condition... The acting is five star across the board with well-deserved kudos to Sigi Gradwohl [Leah], Stuart W. Howard [Milton], Kaye Kittrell [Ima] and Adam Lebowitz-Lockard [Haskell Harelik]." - Ron Irwin

RAVE! - Stage Struck Review - "A TOUCHING AND EXTRAORDINARY TALE!... As directed by Simon Levy, the SMP production focuses on the humanity of all involved – their connections, their disconnects, and the ways in which contact can breed understanding... Worthy of considerable note is the startlingly effective use of projection-based sets, which allows a swift move from place to place and time to time... Sierra Madre Playhouse’s productions have become more and more polished with the years, and “The Immigrant” is a fine step along that path... Warm, timely, and given a polished production, it is a fine reminder of both the tenacity of those new arrivals and the ability of even the most stereotypically insular Americans to connect in a shared humanity." - Frances Baum Nicholson

RAVE! - Stage and Cinema - "HEARTWARMING!... RIVETING!...  Simon Levy’s sensitive direction and Matthew G. Hill’s dynamic use of multi-media turn this family tribute into a charming, thoughtful evening... This story of a life fulfilled in America is definitely worth seeing." - Tony Frankel

RAVE! - - "LOVINGLY RENDERED!... a quartet of excellent actors... Levy employs the help of a galaxy of consultants, designers, and specialists to bring authenticity to the play... a loveling hone productino helmed by The Fountain Theatre's Simon Levy." - Leigh Kennicott


THE CHOSEN (2018) - Director

CRITIC’S CHOICE!Los Angeles Times – “DEEPLY EMOTIONALHEARTFELT… The Fountain Theatre in East Hollywood, which last year warned against the soul-numbing effects of divisiveness with the chilling “Building the Wall,” has returned to the theme in gentler form with a heartfelt stage adaptation of Potok’s 1967 novel… Under Simon Levy’s direction, the action gently builds, recedes, then builds some more toward a deeply emotional resolution.” – Daryl H. Miller

RAVE! – “BRILLIANTLY PRESENTEDFOUR AMAZING STAR PERFORMERS… a moving coming-of-age story… funny, poignant, timely and timeless… the ultra-Orthodox father and son are portrayed with a great depth of understanding by Alan Blumenfeld as Reb Saunders and Dor Gvirtsman as his son Danny, with the more modern yet still very traditional duo portrayed thoughtfully and realistically by Jonathan Arkin as David Malter and Sam Mandel as his son Reuven… directed with visionary insight by Simon Levy.” – Shari Barrett

RAVE!Stage and Cinema – “A MARVELASTONISHINGIT IS PROFOUNDLY MOVING, AND EQUALLY THOUGHT PROVOKING…  in director Simon Levy’s inestimable hands, [its] vital, alive, and importantBlumenfeld is a marvel. His size and strength commands attention, while his delicacy gives voice to the silence between him and his son… Arkin deftly shifts from the funny, loving single parent to a believable firebrand — a man determined that his people should survive and flourish… Sam Mandel’s [ ] goodness and humor are a great asset to the play…  Dor Gvirtsman is astonishing. His Danny emerges as a brilliant, angular, unpredictable mass of confused loyalties and diametrically opposed certainties…. This production resonates on so many levels. For me, it is both antidote and bittersweet reminder of what our society has lost in its race to exalt the lowest common denominator… I found myself deeply affected.” – Samuel Garza Bernstein

RAVE! – “EXQUISITE AND HEARTFELTTHE PERFORMANCES ARE ALL SUPERB… Under the precise and emotionally expansive direction of Simon Levy, this seemingly insular story becomes a universal paean to the values of friendship, family, and identityYOU HAVE NO EXCUSE TO MISS THIS EXCEPTIONAL PRODUCTION.” – Michael Van Duzer

WOW!StageSceneLA – “ABSOLUTELY SUPERBSTUNNING PRODUCTIONIt’s [ ] hard to imagine The Chosen being given a more stunning production than Simon Levy has directed so masterfully, or a more brilliant cast than the one assembled on the Fountain stage, or a more sensational intimate production design, one that enhances Potok, Posner, and Levy’s vision every step of the way… As gripping, edifying, and moving a production as any I’ve seen at the Fountain, The Chosen is a must-see for audiences of any age, ethnicity, or religious affiliation. Even atheists may end up in tears.” – Steven Stanley

RAVE!The TVolution – “STUNNINGAGELESS AND UNIVERSAL… The strength of Potok’s work is the triumph of love over faith… As ensembles go, the worth of this quartet is slightly beneath the crown jewels of England…  the production is a stunning display of craft and professionalism [ ] all contributing to a stellar staging… Director Simon Levy succeeds in that rarest of feats, making two hours fly by and leaving his audience wishing for a third.  Maybe even a fourth… The Fountain Theatre is always a hallmark of superbly staged showsTHEATRE AT ITS FINEST.” — Ernest Kearney

RAVE!Theatre Notes – “EXTRAORDINARY… Aaron Posner’s SPLENDID ADAPTATION of Chaim Potok’s well-loved novel, The Chosen, immerses the audience in a time now distant, and in a culture that has persisted since the dawn of literacy… With deftness and savvy, director Simon Levy keeps the action brisk and the performances heartfelt. The creative team for The Chosen is first rate… Mr. Mandel is an engaging storyteller. Mr. Gvirtsman is ideally cast with attitudes and emotions that run the gamut from frosty hauteur to joyous friendship to agonizing emotional pain. Mr. Arkin as Reuven’s father displays compassionate concern for his son, wise discretion with Danny, and fierce power in defense of Zionism. And Mr. Blumenfeld is simply extraordinary as Reb Saunders, dominating the stage with charismatic power, both contained and released, as the plot surges toward a satisfying climax and an affecting dénoument.” – Paul Myrvold

RAVE!Cultural Weekly – “INSPIREDLIVELYABSORBING… It is the beauty of the script that, like life, its unpredictability delivers delicacy and depth and eventually redemption. It is as much a treatise about fathers and sons as it is about Talmudic wisdom, seeking understanding and acceptance, communicating through others and seeing things for what they are while becoming your own person… As is so often the case at The Fountain, the production is rewarding. While possessing one of the smallest stages in town, it is most frequently home to large ideas and strong emotions. This company thrives on them. The Fountain’s Producing Director Simon Levy staged The Chosen with the kind of attention to pacing, energy and detail (including religious detail) displayed in his previous efforts. The acting is equally balanced, as are the production values. IT’S ANOTHER WIN FOR THIS LITTLE ENGINE THAT CAN.” – Sylvie Drake

RAVE! – MegilLA, A New Scroll of Jewish News – “WONDERFUL!RELEVANTILLUMINATING new stage adaptation… Seated in the small theater, it is not the size of the venue that makes me feel that I am right up there on stage with these two fathers who though collegial are in ideological conflict over the destinies of their sons. It is the passion, and involvement that they feel towards their son’s life choices about friends, education, and careers that draws me to them.” – Edmon J. Rodman

RAVE!Theatre Spoken Here – “DEEPLY MOVINGdirected sensitively by Simon Levy… Sam Mandel, as Reuven, is so likeable you understand why the stern Rebbe (Alan Blumenfeld) accepts him into his home. Dor Gvirtsman, as Danny, is touching as the emotionally guarded acolyte, while Jonathan Arkin, as activist/philosopher, brings clarity to the questions that haunt both young men… Their fathers, one Hasidic the other Orthodox, represent two opposing value systems. We witness the complicated relationship between parents and their children, and how fathers who care can both dominate and inspire their sons… AS FRESH AND MEANINGFUL AS TODAY’S HEADLINES.” – Morna Murphy Martell

RAVE!Splash Magazines – “MESMERIZINGSUPERBLY ACTEDGRAB YOUR KLEENEX… A universal story of relationships in their multitude of forms makes this play something for everyone – Jewish or not… The emotional scenes not only between the fathers and sons but also as the Reb davens (prays) for guidance will bring tears to your eyes. The smattering of Hebrew (done correctly) is explained clearly for those who might not understand the meanings.  In the end, each family must come to terms as to the raising of their sons and their own futures… This is a play that will bring tears to your eyes and make you want to hug your children.” – Serita Stevens

RAVE!Carol’s Culture Corner – “HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!HEARTWARMING… This story, told through the eyes of Reuven, makes the point of the importance of allowing people to understand one another, friends with different backgrounds, fathers and sons. The powerful cast brings each of these characters to life with their REMARKABLE PERFORMANCES.” – Carol Kaufman Segal

RAVE!Santa Monica Daily Press – “YOU WILL WANT TO CHOOSE ‘THE CHOSEN’ – The four participants, under the superb direction of Simon Levy, present their opposing positions convincingly and forcefully, dealing with everything from the concepts and admonishments of the Torah to the arcane minutiae it also offers… “The Chosen” succeeds exceedingly well.” – Cynthia Citron

RAVE!Discover Hollywood – “TOP FORMGREATA STANDING OVATION… Simon Levy, the Fountain’s long-time producing director, skillfully uses every inch of the compact Fountain stage. Together, the director and actors work smoothly and effortlessly… On the theater’s intimate stage, I was convinced that I was watching their own stories in their own living rooms.” – Bill Garry

RAVE!SoCal Arts and Entertainment – “STRIKINGEXCELLENTDirector Simon Levy makes striking choices in staging the play, beginning with a baseball game between Reuven Malter, an Orthodox Jew (Sam Mendel), and Danny Saunders, an ultra-religious Hasid (Dor Gvirtsman), that turns into a Holy War; Levy’s use of sound effects is particularly noteworthy. The cast of four, fleshed out by fathers David Malter (Jonathan Arkin) and Reb Saunders (Alan Blumenfeld), is uniformly excellent.” – Jordan R. Young – (Review includes Q&A with Simon Levy)

5 STARS!Haines His Way – “EMOTIONALLY STUNNING AND HEARTFELT PRODUCTION… It’s a heartwarming and deeply felt story brought wonderfully and vividly to life by Levy’s spot on direction and the superb talents of his quartet of actorsThe Chosen is sure to be chosen as one of 2018’s best. DON’T MISS IT!” – Rob Stevens

RAVE! – “BRILLIANTMAGNIFICENT WORDSMITHERY… Luckily for the Los Angeles theatrical community [ ] the Fountain Theatre is not a producing entity that avoids taking risks… Under the passionate leadership of director Simon Levy, this resurrection of The Chosen is welcome indeed. Nothing is lost from the beauty and simple truths revealed… On DeAnne Millais’ striking bookcase-dominated set, with both the Malter and the Saunders households separated by a neutral area featuring the type of steel understructure that could easily recall the J Street Station, Levy manages to cleverly keep the action surprisingly fluid, aided by Donny Jackson’s creamy, atmospheric lighting and energized by the dynamic sound design of Peter BayneALL FOUR ACTORS ARE PERFECTLY CAST.” – Travis Michael Holder


BABY DOLL (2016) - Director – “SIZZLING!DON’T MISS THIS BABY DOLL!I cannot think of a better way to spend a hot summer night than to watch a sizzling stage production of a Tennessee Williams film… a practically flawless production at the Fountain Theatre, directed with stunning clarity by Simon Levy…and boasting an unforgettably ingenious cast of five… It is indeed Williams’ greatest achievement to turn sensuality into a spiritual and poetic powerhouse… Under Simon Levy’s perfectly modulated direction, the ensemble is divine. LaVanchy is pretty, innocent yet brazen as Baby Doll. This is a most difficult role and Lavanchy gives it her all in a luminous performance. Bess is handsome and sensually alluring as Vacarro. We sit on the edge of our seats, just waiting for him to win Baby over. Bess also brings compassion as well as power to the role, making him a knight in shining armor. Prosky makes the perfect uneducated, ill-mannered animal that is Archie. He brings Archie’s pain to the surface, and his dramatic outbursts are nothing short of beastial. Karen Kondazian as Aunt Rose is wondrous. It is delicious delight to watch her create a full inner life with a character that has less dialogue. Her reactions really tell the story. Another illuminating performance! George Roland ably completes the cast as the sheriff, who brings some peace to the last scene of the play. Kudos as well to the splendid creative team!… This authorized adaptation by Pierre Laville and Emily Mann stays faithful to the movie, eliminating only a few minor characters. Branded as a dark comedy as well as a drama, there is much humor as in all Williams plays. And the poetry! Who else but Tennessee Williams could express malevolence as “an explosion of evil spirits that haunt the human heart”? And once again the Fountain Theatre shows its brilliance. It is no small wonder that it has always been and still is considered the premier Equity Waiver theatre of LA.” – Don Grigware

Los Angeles Times – “EROTIC!… This production [ ] has a secret weapon in Lindsay LaVanchy, who draws out all the sensuality and sadness, the petulance and helplessness of Baby Doll … LaVanchy allows us to once again hope that maybe this time romance will live up to its promise… Casts a poetic spell… Tennessee Williams is the greatest playwright America has ever produced.” – Charles McNulty

StageSceneLA – “WOW!MAJOR SUMMER ENTERTAINMENT!… A just-right darkly comedic tone and pitch-perfect performances… director Simon Levy and his stellar cast… With a half-dozen or so of his plays in seemingly perpetual rotating rep, it’s easy to forget that Tennessee Williams penned well over two dozen major stage works (not counting movie scripts both original and adapted) in his lifetime. Baby Doll may never join its more illustrious companions as a revival favorite, but at the Fountain, it is as Baby Doll-icous as “ninety minutes, no intermission” can get.” – Steven Stanley

Paul Myrvold’s Theatre Notes – “If you love Tennessee Williams, DON’T MISS THIS PRODUCTION! Who knows when it will come around again?… stars the excellent Lindsay LaVanchy in the title role… played with aching intensity and pent up frustration by John Prosky… Daniel Bess, a handsome, muscular Adonis… the delightfully dotty Karen Kondazian… Smartly directed by Simon Levy… This is classic, fascinating Williams.” – Paul Myrvold

EdgeMediaNetwork – “A PHENOMENAL SHOW that will leave your every sensation aching for more… LaVanchy brings us a stunning portrayal of Baby Doll… [ ] Her chemistry with Bess is electrifying from the start. The two are a delight to watch both in moments of tenderness and during passionate outbursts. They make the stage their own and leave the audience fanning themselves and longing for a cold drink as their seduction reaches its peak… The Fountain Theatre’s “Baby Doll,” is many, many things — it’s salacious, but spectacular; provocative, but profound; revolting, but riveting. Overall, it is a brilliant show that will seduce you with its story and charm you with its characters. And above all, it is well worth a view and the perfect show to add some sexy sizzle into your summer.” – Michelle Sandoval

On Stage Los Angeles – “A MUST SEE!… The romance of Williams’ words in and of themselves is seductive… moves quickly and assuredly thanks to Levy’s decisive hand.” – Michael Sheehan

Discover Hollywood – “FIRST RATEFOCUSES THE HEAT LIKE A MAGNIFYING GLASS IN SUNLIGHT… When Tennessee Williams writes, the words spill naturally, sometimes with smoke, sometimes with fire… Simon Levy’s direction uses the intimate Fountain stage to great effect… Lindsay Lavanchy in a riveting performance as Baby Doll. She is a child, a schemer, and an awakening sexual being all in one… The middle-aged man, Archie Lee, portrayed by John Prosky, is ornery and comically pathetic… The talented Karen Kondazian, as worn-out Aunt Rose, adds comic relief… Daniel Bess plays Vacarro with a cruel streak hidden under matinee-idol bravado… This Baby’s pedigree shows… The Fountain is one of L.A.’s most successful 99-seat houses, winning local and national awards.” – Bill Garry – “FOUR STARS!The Fountain’s lavish, excellent production does Williams proud… The film’s history has a lurid side to it. Its poster image of Baby Doll (the semi-naked Carroll Baker) lying in a crib sucking her thumb was denounced as “salacious” and “morally repellent” by Cardinal Francis Spellman, the Archbishop of New York, who (before the film was even released) declared that Catholics would be committing a sin if they saw it…  This is only the second time the Williams estate has given permission for the adaptation to be staged, making it something of a coup for the Fountain.” – Will Manus – “VIVIDLY REAL AND DETAILED!… Although a relatively minor work compared to masterpieces like The Glass Menagerie or Summer and Smoke, this adaptation of Tennessee Williams nicely demonstrates his status as one of America’s great playwrights. Yet even great plays need good performers and designers, which this production enjoys.” – Zahir Blue

TheatreMania – “EXCITING TO WATCH!… With the seduction at its center, the tone of Levy’s production waves between dark humor, heat, and menace… In Bess’ hands, Sylva is all smoothness and cunning. In 1952 Mississippi, Italians were only slightly less marginalized than the African-Americans who work in Archie Leigh’s factory, and Bess’ seductiveness is laced with a cold streak. Prosky’s Archie Lee is as cruel as he is physically grimy, but even he can work a giggle or two out of a tender moment with his Baby Doll — before he resorts to threats and violence, that is. The arresting LaVanchy anchors this production, and not just because of her character’s four-alarm sexuality. The actress lets us witness the desperate danger of Baby Doll’s plight and the transformation from girl to woman that is taking place at the worst possible time. The character has had it rough, and it’s clear we are watching the last hours of her innocence. LaVanchy locates the fear and the deep sadness of Baby Doll… sizzling!” – Evan Henerson – “STELLAR CAST!Ol’ Tenn would be thrilled to see his BABY DOLL return to her rickety crib and be brought to such glorious life once again… With the boost from Laville and Mann’s crafty, respectful adaptation, venerated Williams interpreter Levy has done wonders… Truly noteworthy.” – Travis Michael Holder – “DON’T MISS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO SEE THIS TENNESSEE WILLIAMS PREMIERE!…  sensuous comedy/drama… Simon Levy directs a cast of outstanding actors.” – Carol Kaufman Segal



CRITIC’S CHOICE!Los Angeles Times – “HIGHLY AFFECTING!… At 83, South African playwright Athol Fugard remains a vital chronicler of the political, moral and spiritual damage wreaked in his country by apartheid… The Fountain, which has become Fugard’s Los Angeles home, has kept us in touch with a playwriting career that is dynamically interwoven with history… Fugard never lets us forget that history is the handiwork of human beings and that progress is contingent on the courage of individuals to momentarily let go of their grudges and listen to what the other side has to say… Elmarie’s second-act conversation with Jonathan is the heart of the play, a collision of irreconcilable truths that must somehow be reconciled for the sake of a country both claim as their own. Spoke and Brown are NOTE-PERFECT IN THEIR ROLES. There’s isn’t a trace of sentimentality in Spoke’s Elmarie, whose ferocity has such powerful conviction that it is impossible to dismiss anything she says, no matter how politically indefensible. Brown’s humane Jonathan is a teacher whose soul has been touched by his early bond with an artist, a man whose only possession was the story he tried to etch into the landscape before becoming swallowed by it for eternity. Artists in their late works often turn their lives into allegories. It just so how happens that Fugard’s tale is also South Africa’s.”

RAVE! - ArtsInLA – “THE PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR… If there was any doubt that Athol Fugard is our planet’s greatest living playwright, the arrival of his newest, most personal, and most arresting play cinches that distinction. Debuting at Fountain Theatre, the place the esteemed South African writer has called his “artistic home on the West Coast” for many years now, this play brings the message of his life’s labors full circle… This is Fugard’s most important and most eloquent play in years… Thanks to this monumentally simple and jarringly evocative production, beautifully interpreted by a STELLAR CAST under the gossamer, sweepingly subtle yet impassioned direction of THE WONDROUS SIMON LEVY, this is also the production of the year in Los Angeles, not to mention THE BEST ENSEMBLE CAST OF 2015.”

RAVE!Theatre Notes – “SUPERB… The racial order of apartheid and its effects leap from the stage… Under THE IMPECCABLE DIRECTION OF SIMON LEVY, the performances are stunning.”

RAVE! – Cynthia Citron Reviews – “CHEERS AND CONGRATULATIONS TO EVERYONE INVOLVED IN THIS STERLING PRODUCTION!... it is a rich, impeccably mounted production… FLAWLESS AND INSIGHTFUL DIRECTION BY SIMON LEVY. Even the spatial relationships between the actors as they deal with each other is a revealing factor in the telling of their stories. But of course Levy is working with ONE OF THE FINEST ENSEMBLES anyone could put together. Thomas Silcott as the artist Mabuza, reveling in his creations and musing about his legacy, Philip Solomon, natural and devoid of childish cutesiness, as Bokkie, Suanne Spoke, the epitome of Afrikaner womanhood, as Mrs. Kleynhans, and Gilbert Glenn Brown as the grown-up Bokkie, are each as good as it gets.

RAVE! – StageSceneLA – “WOW! – DEEPLY MOVING… It informed, inspired, and most importantly touched me in a way I did not see coming… GORGEOUSLY ACTED… all-around superb performance [under] Simon Levy’s richly nuanced direction… THE FOUNTAIN THEATRE AT ITS WORLD-CLASS BEST.” – Steven Stanley


REBORNING (2015) - Director


RAVE! – BroadwayWorld – “BRILLIANT!... RAZOR-SHARP, WITTY SCRIPT RECEIVES EXPERT DELIVERY BY ITS SPOT-ON CAST… Playwright Zayd Dohrn dazzlingly attacks, dissects and vividly presents the unusual concept of reborn dolls in the Fountain Theatre's powerfully intriguing Los Angeles premiere of his Reborning.  Simon Levy firmly directs his very talented cast of three… BRAVO TO ALL INVOLVED!”

RAVE! - Discover Hollywood - "DO NOT MISS IT! It is beautifully portrayed and a "MUST SEE' piece of theatre."

RAVE! – StageSceneLA – “WOW!… LOS ANGELES THEATER AT ITS WORLD-CLASS BEST!... Riveting and ultimately redemptive…. GRIPPING THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE that an expert team of L.A. talents has BROUGHT TO ELECTRIFYING LIFE at the Fountain… Under Simon Levy’s adept direction, Reborning’s trio of leads all give POWERFUL, RICHLY-LAYERED PERFORMANCES.”

RAVE!Rob Stevens – “YOU SHOULD REALLY EXPERIENCE THIS REMARKABLE PLAY!… director Simon Levy skillfully leads his two dynamic actresses in uncovering every nuance that the playwright has written into his characters… DON’T MISS IT!”

RAVE! – LASplash – “ANOTHER HIT!… emotionally moving… The fabulous acting was played with emotion and pathos, and the story kept the viewer engrossed and guessing for the whole hour and a half.”

RAVE!Night-Tinted Glasses – “A FASCINATING STORY!… Director Simon Levy chose a fine cast for this deeply individual drama which delves into such powerful material.”

RAVE! -  TheLosAngelesBeat - "THE PLAY, ITS ACTORS, THE WRITING, DIRECTION, SET DESIGN AND LIGHTING ARE SIMPLY SUPERB!... Direction by Simon Levy; subtle as a whisper—as well it should be–yet sets a perfect pace for the unfolding of the edgy comedy/drama at hand. Not a beat is missed and the pacing–SIMPLY IMPECCABLE!"


THE NORMAL HEART (2013) - Director

LA Weekly - PICK OF THE WEEK! GO! - "Director Simon Levy has mounted A DEEPLY MOVING PRODUCTION at the Fountain Theatre, bathed in the compassion without which it would be merely a horror story, and performed by A DEEPLY COMMITTED ENSEMBLE." - CRITIC'S PICK! - "THE PLAY MUST BE SEEN BY ANYONE WHO TRULY CARES ABOUT THE HUMAN CONDITION... DIRECTED WITH METICULOUS DETAIL by Simon Levy and has an OUTSTANDING CAST... The cast under Levy's taut direction is phenomenal... Fountain Theatre Knocks Revival of Larry Kramer's THE NORMAL HEART Out of the Park."

Edge Los Angeles - A MUST-SEE! - "In director Simon Levy’s PASSIONATE AND POWERFUL revival at the Fountain Theatre, we are reminded of the ongoing need to adhere to responsible behavior while continuing a never-ending crusade to ensure equal rights and respect for all. Leading a SUPERB ENSEMBLE CAST through the challenging byways of Kramer’s hard-hitting script, Levy emphasizes human drama over agitprop theater, allowing the playwright’s affecting tale of human suffering and resiliency to achieve its optimum impact... The Fountain’s thoughtful and moving production of this classic qualifies as A MUST-SEE." (2nd review) - "Simon Levy BRILLIANTLY DIRECTS the exclusive Los Angeles revival of Larry Kramer's groundbreaking drama... With each and every one of these FORMIDABLE ACTORS bringing such dynamic characters to the stage, you can't help but be pulled into their lives and care about what happens to them... This production at the Fountain Theatre certainly exemplifies that great theater is alive in well in Los Angeles. DO NOT MISS THIS PRODUCTION."

LAist - A MUST-SEE! - "The production is EXCELLENT ON ALL LEVELS, from Simon Levy's dynamic direction to the OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE... Simon Levy has directed many notable shows at the Fountain, but this has to be one of his most memorable achievements. His work with the cast is superb, the pacing is fleet without rushing anything, and his use of projections and subtitles is expert. His staging is perhaps the most impressive, the entire ensemble moving on and offstage in a fluid choreography, his scene transitions tying the whole show together in a graceful way that bespeaks his quiet theatrical mastery... The revival at the Fountain Theatre is thrilling and extraordinary, A THEATRICAL TRIUMPH for all involved, and A MUST-SEE FOR ALL THEATRE LOVERS." - "In A SPLENDID PRODUCTION at the Fountain Theatre, director Simon Levy has assembled A REMARKABLE CAST who pour heart-and-soul into making Mr. Kramer’s noisy play electric and thrilling... EXTRAORDINARY PRODUCTION OF A FINE PLAY." - - "THIS ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT PRODUCTION IS ONE THAT NO LOS ANGELES THEATER LOVER SHOULD MISS, AND THE YOUNGER THE AUDIENCE THE BETTER!... and man oh man does this cast of L.A.-based actors deliver... Simon Levy, at the peak of his talents, directs scene after gut-punching scene... the term 'MUST-SEE' is putting it mildly."

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."

CRITIC'S PICK! - - "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! - - "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!"

RAVE! - - "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 Kotsur."

RAVE! - - "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! - - "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! -


A HOUSE 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! - - 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! - - "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! - - "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."

RAVE! - - "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! - - "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! - - 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 delay."

RAVE! - - "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! - -  "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! - - "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! - - 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 captivating!"

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! - - "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! - - "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! - - "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) - Director

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! - - 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! - - 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

RAVE!- - 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! - 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

RAVE! - 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 Shaner

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! - - 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

RAVE! - - 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

RAVE! - - 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

RAVE! - 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 of theatre...

RAVE! - - 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 Vittes

RAVE! - 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! - - 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

Santa 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 - "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



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 - "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

IN Magazine - "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 Moneycuts

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


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

Hollywood 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


WHAT I HEARD ABOUT IRAQ - (2005-2007) - Writer/Director

(An Electronic Published Version of the play is available for $10.00 at

Adelaide Fringe Festival Production (2007):

Winner - Advertister Fringe Festival Award
Nominated - Adelaide Drama Critics Circle Award

THE ADVERTISER 5 Stars! - "PITHY, POLITICAL, DARK HUMOUR - Simon Levy's play based on Eliot Weinberger's essay arrives in Adelaide with a delicious Australian touch. IT'S FAST, FIERY, PITHY AND DRENCHED IN FEROCIOUS IRONY - an up-to-date litany of the spurious justifications the world has endured about the war on Iraq. In her directorial debut, Martha Lott presents a tight, professional production. The cast sits on a series of television sets in front of a big screen and on top of a brilliant newspaper floor. It's all focus and timing as they machinegun their reportage . . . IT'S A SNAZZY AGITPROP SHOW, DESTINED TO BE A FRINGE HIT."

THE ADVERTISER - "In a Fringe program awash with tired and decidedly unfunny comedians, it's refreshing to see A THEATRE PIECE OF THE QUALITY AND POWER of "What I heard about Iraq". I am certain none in the large audience last night allowed their attention to wander for even a second so much had this production to say.  There is no room - even for Howard supporters - to hide.  For my money, "What I Heard About Iraq" is sure to be AMONG THE BEST OF THIS YEAR'S STAND-ALONE FRINGE FESTIVAL!"

Edinburgh Fringe Festival Production (2006):

Winner - Fringe First Award 

SCOTSMAN 4 Stars! - "OF ALL the verbatim and documentary shows on this year's Fringe, What I Heard About Iraq - adapted by Simon Levy from a ground-breaking London Review of Books article by Eliot Weinberger - must be the most straightforwardly news-based, best-organised and most exhilaratingly sure-footed and hard-hitting. BEAUTIFULLY DESIGNED, BEAUTIFULLY PERFORMED, POWERFULLY DIRECTED."

THE GUARDIAN 4 Stars! - "POWERFUL! It makes you question just about everything you've heard and read. REAL IMMEDIACY!"

LONDON EVENING STANDARD 4 Stars! - "That rare thing, an IMPASSIONED and DYNAMIC piece of verbatim theatre."

METRO 4 Stars! - "This is a stark, powerful piece!"


THE STAGE 4 Stars! - "Compelling stuff... A strong piece of theatre."

BROADWAY BABY 4 Stars! - "Likely to become one of the Fringe's MOST TALKED ABOUT SHOWS, and rightly so."

EDINBURGH FRINGE INDEX 4 Stars! - "Another POWERFUL piece about George Bush's War on Terror."

SCOTSGAY MAGAZINE 5 Stars! - "One of the unexpected HIGHLIGHTS of this year's Fringe."

Los Angeles Production (2005/2006):

LOS ANGELES TIMES ****RECOMMENDED! - "SUPERB! STUNNING! COMPELLING! ... FIERCE IN ITS ANTIWAR BLOW... Levy's razor-sharp staging features superb production elements [with a] KEENLY CALIBRATED ENSEMBLE... Levy is clearly a man on a mission, and his passionately antiwar play is unapologetically biased.  AN OFTEN STUNNING DISTILLATION OF AMERICAN HUBRIS AND DENIAL, 'WHAT I HEARD ABOUT IRAQ' SHOULD BE VIEWED WITH AN OPEN MIND, REGARDLESS OF POLITICAL AFFILIATION." - F. Kathleen Foley


VARIETY - "EXTRAORDINARY PERFORMERS! SPINE-CHILLING!... Their fluidly directed interplay encompasses overlapping dialogue as they pitch lines to each other with the precision of baseball stars... A CRY OF OUTRAGE delivered by five actors, exposing the deceptive strategies and heartless acts of violence perpetrated by the Bush administration." - Joel Hirschhorn

AMERICAN RADIO NETWORK (KCLA, KLAS, KPRO-AM, KMAX-AM) ****CRITIC'S PICK! "A MUST SEE EVENT!... Simon Levy has adapted this brilliantly and directs as well... SENSATIONAL five member ensemble... performing various roles they vividly bring to life... IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR POLITICAL POINT OF VIEW IS, THE PLAY IS CONTEMPLATIVE, PROVOKING, SMART, CLEVER, WITTY, AND FASCINATING." - Gerri Garner

MetroLA ****RECOMMENDED! - "THE WRITING, DIRECTION AND PERFORMANCE LEVELS ARE UNIFORMLY TOP NOTCH!... You can't sit through this COMPELLING EVENING without being moved, angered, and hopefully charged to take some individual action." - Jerry Jackson

BACK STAGE WEST - "A RALLYING CRY to end the war quickly, but few of our responsible leaders seem willing to adopt that position anytime soon. Instead we are forced to look back in sadness at a tragedy for which, unfortunately, we all bear some responsibility and look ahead with trepidation to the final acts of this epic drama." - Hoyt Hilsman

ENTERTAINMENT TODAY ****CRITIC’S PICK! - “The Fountain’s Simon Levy has tackled the obscenity of the Iraqi war and the unbelievable death toll that rises there each day.  WHAT I HEARD… IS AN IMPORTANT PRODUCTION. – Travis Michael Holder 


ACCOMPLICE (2005) – Director

L.A. Times - "RICH, SATISFYING BLEND OF COMEDY AND SUSPENSE!... This is a mystery in quotation marks, and director Simon Levy REVELS IN ITS EXCESSES WITH ALMOST CARTOONISH GLEE!" - Rob Kendt

Variety - "AMUSING!... DIRECTOR SIMON LEVY HAS ENOUGH INTUITIVE SENSE NOT TO LET THE PROCEEDINGS DESCEND INTO HYSTERIA OR SLAPSTICK, AND HE STAGES A ROUSING, IF CONVOLUTED, CLIMAX COMPLETE WITH... 'Accomplice' has a final twist, making it one of the few plays to recruit a surprise --- ...." [that's all we can tell you here, you'll have to see it to find out!] - Joel Hirschhorn

Back Stage West - ****CRITIC'S PICK! - "LAUGH-OUT-LOUD!... The challenge for any critic reviewing this HIGHLY ENTERTAINING SHOW is how to talk about its quality without spoiling any of its twists and turns. DIRECTOR SIMON LEVY DOES AN ADMIRABLE JOB OF KEEPING THE MYRIAD RED HERRINGS SWIMMING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTIONS, AND HE REAPS THE BENEFITS FROM AN ADEPT CAST... This is the sort of show 'word of mouth' is made for; if you see it, you will want to tell your theatregoing friends about how enjoyable it is." - Terry Morgan

Daily News - ***(3 stars!) - "MYSTERY LOVES YOUR COMPANY IN 'ACCOMPLICE'!... Simon Levy's production at the Colony has four performers who are enthusiastically game for the Ira Levin-meets-Noel Coward style of performance Holmes' play calls for... 'Accomplice' enjoys its games. AND AT THE COLONY, WE CAN DELIGHT IN THE GAMES' EXECUTION." - Evan Henerson


AWAKE AND SING (2004) – Director

Los Angeles Times - ****Recommended! - "Hard times movingly depicted in 'Awake'... DIRECTOR SIMON LEVY'S SOLID STAGING of Odets' second play, "Awake and Sing," for International City Theatre in Long Beach effectively marries the drama's broader themes to its nuanced portrait of struggling lower-class Bronx Jews during the great Depression."

Variety - “ICT's staging, HELMED WITH IMPRESSIVE ATTENTION TO DETAIL BY SIMON LEVY, captures the suffocating lack of opportunity that cripples a poverty-stricken Jewish immigrant family… Levy's efforts to qualify the personality of each character are aided immensely by Don Llewellyn's beautifully detailed setting. ICT AND HELMER SIMON ARE TO BE LAUDED for so effectively underscoring the playwright's agenda."

Back Stage West - ****Critic's Pick! - "A FLAWLESS INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE ENSEMBLE, GUIDED BY THE INFORMED DIRECTION OF SIMON LEVY, brings this haunting material to life and screams it to the rafters."

LA Weekly - ****Recommended! - "VIBRANT ENSEMBLE WORK distinguishes International City Theater’s production of Clifford Odets’ 1934 play about the soul-crushing effects of poverty... There’s no period mustiness here ­ SIMON LEVY DIRECTS WITH VERVE, ELICITING TOP-NOTCH PERFORMANCES FROM THE ENTIRE CAST."

DAISY IN THE DREAMTIME (2004) – Director

Los Angeles Times - ****Critics’ Choice! – “The enormity of the tragedy inflicted on Australia’s Aborigines during the early 20th century hits home with STUNNING IMPACT… UNDER SIMON LEVY’S SAVVY DIRECTION, THIS FOUNTAIN THEATRE PRODUCTION INFUSES HISTORY WITH VISCERAL URGENCY… the riveting Lisa Pelikan evokes a complex, finely nuanced portrait… and the supporting cast consistently impress… LEVY MAKES THIS A FELT WORLD rather than an intellectual concept, which makes the Aborigines’ fate all the more poignant.”

Variety - “Effective in this Fountain Theatre preem are helmer SIMON LEVY'S INTUITIVE STAGING, Lisa Pelikan's transcendent portrayal in the title role, an outstanding supporting cast and the HAUNTINGLY EVOCATIVE, SYNERGISTIC PRODUCTION DESIGNS."

Back Stage West - ****Critic’s Pick! – “There are plays that teach us much about a subject, there are plays that move us deeply, and there are plays that nimbly achieve both. But RARELY DO WE FIND A PLAY LIKE LYNNE KAUFMAN'S DAISY IN THE DREAMTIME, which richly satisfies these two hungers and also achieves something nearly impossible: providing us with an invaluable key into a world that seems permanently sealed off to us by the very structure of our minds... With THIS AMBITIOUS PRODUCTION, ALL ELEMENTS COMBINE to bid us entry into this world: a uniformly stellar cast; SIMON LEVY'S INSPIRED DIRECTION.”

KABC Radio - “SUPERBLY DIRECTED, AS USUAL, BY THE FOUNTAIN’S SIMON LEVY, who directed last year’s marvelous ‘Going to St. Ives’ and this year’s ‘Master Class.’ …A POWERFUL NEW PLAY!”

Entertainment Today - ****CRITIC'S PICK!... directed by the Fountain's MEGA-TALENTED PRODUCING DIRECTOR SIMON LEVY and starring the gifted Lisa Pelikan... this epic, remarkably challenging presentation features STUNNING PRODUCTION VALUES, instantly sweeping the audience into another world. Levy's direction is taut and impeccable... THIS IS TRULY AN AWARD WORTHY PRODUCTION!"

MASTER CLASS (2003/2004) - Director

Los Angeles Times - ****Recommended! – “Less a master class than a wrenchingly cathartic life lesson, DIRECTOR SIMON LEVY'S HANDSOME, INTIMATE NEW REVIVAL of Terrence McNally's play reaches convincing emotional extremes in the fearless performance of Karen Kondazian as diva Maria Callas.”

Hollywood Reporter - “SUPERB PRODUCTION!... When Karen Kondazian sweeps onstage as opera diva Maria Callas, you can almost hear a purr of satisfaction run through the audience: This is going to be good – fireworks, tonight!… But Kondazian offers something more in this revival, which is what makes it special. This is Callas as Callas herself might have played the role – unsparing, raw, vulnerable and richly dramatic… THE TRIP WE TAKE WITH CALLAS, UNDER SIMON LEVY’S ARTFUL DIRECTION, IS AN EXHILARATING ONE!”

Back Stage West - ****Critic's Pick! - "MESMERIZING! THIS TRIBUTE IS STUNNINGLY RE-ENACTED! CALLAS HAS FOUND A NEW TEAM OF SAVIORS IN DIRECTOR SIMON LEVY AND HIS OWN PERSONAL DIVA, Karen Kondazian, who brings a glorious new life to the demanding role."

L.A. Weekly - ****Recommended! - "KAREN KONDAZIAN DELIVERS A SUPERB PERFORMANCE AS MARIA CALLAS! Under Simon Levy's direction, Kondazian has enormous stage presence!"

Daily News - ***1/2 - "HIGH ART! - Kondazian, under the beautifully paced staging of Simon Levy, literally seizes the Fountain stage as Maria Callas... She has it all: the accent, the attitude, the tormented isolation... an impressive performance! - A MASTERWORK!"

KABC Radio - “LIGHTING UP THE STAGE AT THE FOUNTAIN THEATRE - As far as I'm concerned, the year ends here. Because it seems highly unlikely that in the next 11 months I'll see a performance to top Karen Kondazian's dazzling portrayal of opera diva Maria Callas in Master Class… UNDER THE SUPERB DIRECTION OF SIMON LEVY.”

Easy Reader - "MY PICK FOR 2003’s BEST SMALL THEATRE PRODUCTION & BEST ACTRESS! – “This is a MUST for anyone who loves great writing, memorable insights into humanity and terrific performances (Kondazian seems a shoe-in for best Actress Nominations). And if you also happen to enjoy opera even a little – well, then, don’t wait – grab the phone and make reservations before it’s sold out. Brava Divas Callas and Kondazian, and Bravo, author McNally… SIMON LEVY’S DIRECTION IS ABSOLUTELY SUPERCHARGED, YET CREATES A NATURALISTIC FEELING FRAMING DAZZLING PERFORMANCES!”