SIMON LEVY  

Writer/Director

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THE GREAT GATSBY - Writer

www.TheGreatGatsbyPlay.com

"SWEEPING... EXCELLENT!" - Variety

"FINALLY, A GREAT 'GATSBY' ... STREAMLINED, FAST AND POWERFUL." -  Montgomery Advertiser

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

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

"MASTERPIECE... A CLASSIC HIT!" - AXS.COM

"BEAUTIFUL... STUNNING... AMAZING... A BRILLIANT DISTILLATION." - Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED... THIS IS INDEED A GRAND GATSBY." - London Free Press

"THERE WAS A LONGING TO SEE IT AGAIN. AND THEN AGAIN." - Arizona Daily Star

"WELL-CRAFTED ADAPTATION." - Tucson Sentinel

"A VIVID SCRIPT... SUCCINCT AND POWERFUL!" - Clarksville Now

"EXCELLENT ADAPTATION... BRINGS TO LIFE THE BEST OF FITZGERALD'S DIALOGUE." - ArtsNash

"WONDERFULLY ENTERTAINING... BEAUTIFUL!" - The Virginian-Pilot

"EXQUISITE ADAPTATION ... A SCRIPT LOVINGLY SHAPED." - The Oregonian

"ELEGANT ADAPTATION... A COMPELLING TALE... DELICIOUS." - Eugene Weekly
 
"EXQUISITE... LUSH, MUST-SEE PRODUCTION." - Erie Times-News 

BABY DOLL (2016) - Director

BroadwayWorld.com – “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

TotalTheater.com – “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

NightTintedGlasses.com – “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

ArtsInLA.com – “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

ReviewPlays.com – “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

 

THE PAINTED ROCKS AT REVOLVER CREEK (2015) - Director

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

Los Angeles Times - CRITIC'S CHOICE! - “SUPERB COMEDY-DRAMA… Director Simon Levy has assembled an EXTRAORDINARY CAST in his EXQUISITELY WELL-REALIZED PRODUCTION.”

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."

BroadwayWorld.com - 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."

BroadwayWorld.com (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."

StageHappenings.com - "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."

StageSceneLA.com - - "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! - BackStage.com - "SUPERBLY CRAFTED PRODUCTION... CLEVER AND DEEPLY MOVING... It's a HAUNTING PERFORMANCE [Troy Kotsur as Cyrano], beautifully realized in the nurturing hands of Levy and complemented by A REMARKABLE CAST of deaf and hearing actors, some signing, some voicing the words of others. Paul Raci, himself a CODA (child of deaf adults), is EXCEPTIONAL as Cyrano's tattooed rocker brother Chris... Like Kotsur, Raci bridges the gap between the tale's two worlds with poignancy and A HUGE DOSE OF HUMOR."

RAVE! - 5 STARS! - Examiner.com - "I CAN'T RAVE ENOUGH to adequately convey my excitement and admiration for the new adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac that opened this week at the Fountain Theatre. Written by Stephen Sachs and directed by Simon Levy, THIS BRILLIANT CYRANO is performed by the extraordinary actors of the Deaf West Theatre... Although Kotsur dominates the action (he never leaves the stage), he is surrounded by an ensemble (six deaf members out of 13) that is as perfect as he is. Whether dramatically voicing the words that the others are signing, or “speaking” the words with their expressive hands, THE PLAYERS ARE THRILLING TO WATCH, and under Simon Levy’s deft direction, Jeff McLaughlin’s clever set design, and Jeremy Pivnick’s creative lighting design, THE PLAY EMERGES AS A POIGNANT, INVENTIVE, RIOTOUSLY FUNNY, AND MARVELOUSLY SATISFYING MASTERPIECE!"

RAVE! - TalkinBroadway.com - "NOTHING SHORT OF AMAZING!.. Troy Kotsur was born to play Cyrano... Kotsur is Cyrano, from the second he walks on stage... He's confident, quick-thinking, and, above all, eloquent... this Cyrano is A DAZZLING ACCOMPLISHMENT, A TERRIFIC ADAPTATION  which takes the essence of Rostand, makes Cyrano's physical issues so much more dramatically interesting than a big nose, throws in a dash of modern-day tech, and puts the whole thing in the hands of a very capable crew of actors, whose hands are more than up to the challenge."

RAVE! - Dany Margolies, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle - "In Stephen Sachs’ INTELLIGENT, TOUCHING world premiere adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, Cyrano is a modern-day deaf poet. CHARMINGLY AND IMAGINATIVELY DIRECTED by Simon Levy, the action is beautifully spoken and delivered in American Sign Language, with a ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME, MUST-SEE PERFORMANCE in the title role by Troy Kotsur."

RAVE! - LifeInLA.com - "ELEVATES SIGN LANGUAGE TO A BEAUTIFUL, VIVACIOUS ART FORM for Deaf and Hearing Audiences Alike... The romantic, tragi-comic Cyrano offers EXCELLENT PERFORMANCES AND DIRECTION, deaf culture from an insider’s perspective, poetic dialogue, and aesthetically gorgeous signed language... KOTSUR BRILLIANTLY AND ARTFULLY LEADS THE CAST AS CYRANO... Under the direction of Simon Levy, Cyrano harmoniously merges the realms of oral, signed, and electronic communication to craft a story that highlights the many emotional shades of adoration through poetic performance, be it brotherly, platonic, romantic, community, or self-love. Levy makes fluid use of the stage, cast, and set with careful attention to conversant and all-encompassing audience needs... A SHEER AND EXCEPTIONAL PLEASURE."

RAVE! - StageHappenings.com - "BRILLIANT WRITING! ... This new production, an adaptation by Stephen Sachs of Edmund Rostand’s 1897 über-romantic drama, is QUITE THE THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE.  A co-production of the gifted Fountain Theatre and the esteemed Deaf West Theatre, this is AN EXTRAORDINARY PRODUCTION OF A TERRIFIC PLAY, both of which deserve a long life here and a longer life abroad... [Sachs] has found the poetic equivalent in ASL and the most romantic of us will fall into his vision, watching A GLORIOUS ACTOR, Troy Kotsur, make the most of his talents opposite A GORGEOUS ACTRESS, Erinn Anova... As stated above, the acting is superlative, beginning with Kotsur and Anova.  And a large part of what works on us is the EXCELLENT speaking of the shadow-actors, starting with Victor Warren who voices Cyrano, Al Bernstein’s Chris, and James Babbin’s Bill, as well as the entire ensemble, including Martica de Cardenas as Roberta, who runs the hearing-poets coffee shop, along with Raci’s rocker, Chip Bent as a bully, Ipek D. Mehlum, Daniel Durant, Maleni Chaitoo and Eddie Buck.  Levy helps them all in their consistently believable characterizations... GO. SEE IT AND GROW."

GO! - LAWeekly.com

 

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! - BroadwayWorld.com - CRITIC'S PICK! - 5 OUT OF 5 STARS! - "Astutely directed by Simon Levy and PERFORMED BY A BRILLIANT ENSEMBLE, this House has the symbolism and lyricism expected of Williams with the addition of a  few surprising features... As in many Williams plays, humor is a staple, and House's black comedy is one of its finest assets. There is nothing more heartbreaking or funny than watching various characters scramble desperately to pick up spilled meds or swill down a plethora of pills with beer. Tennessee Williams was an original whose poetic language and multi-layered imagery, both real and surreal, of the decaying South stand the test of time. ADD A House Not Meant to Stand TO HIS LIST OF CLASSIC MASTERPIECES!"

RAVE! - StageAndCinema.com - "SUPERB!... The discovery of A House Not Meant To Stand makes this not merely AN IMPORTANT THEATER EVENT, but a revelation of just how potent Tennesee Williams’s talent was in a period that has been categorized as one of decline. And Sandy Martin’s great performance does for Bella McCorkle what one imagines Laurette Taylor did for Amanda Wingfield. What she is doing doesn’t even look like acting. What higher compliment can one pay an actor?... a career-transforming performance... House may or not come to be counted among his genuine masterpieces, but Levy has at least given us a chance to see how fecund and bountiful his talents continued to be right up to the end. He was still experimenting with structure and content; he could still create characters, with all his art at his command, who matter; he was still capable of writing those insanely beautiful arias that any actor, rising to the occasion, can take pleasure in singing... HILARIOUS... TRAGICALLY MOVING."

RAVE! - CulturalCocktailHour.com - "MUST-SEE! - The Fountain Theatre’s “A House Not Meant To Stand” deserves A STANDING OVATION.  The dynamic cast, its Gothic set spewing forth leaks, and the darkly wry barbs of Tennessee Williams added up to A RIVETING PERFORMANCE of Williams’ 'Southern Gothic spook sonata.'  The Fountain Theatre’s “A House Not Meant to Stand” offers a rich and worthy tribute to a master playwright. Happy Birthday, Mr. Williams."

RAVE! - ReviewPlays.com - "FANS OF WILLIAMS WILL LOVE THIS PLAY AND THOSE NEW TO HIS WORK COULD NOT FIND A BETTER PLACE TO GET INTRODUCED TO ONE OF AMERICA'S GREATEST WRITERS... Every nuance of the original presentation has been carefully captured by Director Simon Levy who leads a superb cast that makes the characters vibrant and believable... this play is a powerful denunciation of a type of life in the South and the Fountain Theatre’s production is another example of the EXCELLENT WORK that has become a trademark of the company."

Variety - "THE FOUNTAIN PRESENTS CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE OF LIFE IN THE OLD BOY TO THE END IN HIS FINAL OPUS 'A HOUSE NOT MEANT TO STAND.'... Sandy Martin's shattering central performance counters any preconception that Williams' sweet bird of youth flew off with his talent in its talons... it's quicksilver Martin, playful even in distress, who's indelible here. At first Bella lurches about like Cornelius' marionette, but once the strings are cut she emerges as a worthy epilogue to all Williams' faded Southern belles bereft of hope at the end of the Camino Real. In their best tradition, the actress keeps her comical yet ever real... As battered in reality (a truck nearly flattens her) as those heroines were metaphorically, Bella dissociates into that fugue state of memory and grief with which so many Williams plays wind up. Behind a scrim, Martin's valedictory is like the author waving from the grave... VISUALLY SPLENDID PRODUCTION!"

RAVE! - StageSceneLA.com - "WOW!... SIMON LEVY AND THE STERLING CAST HE HAS ASSEMBLED all do the kind of accomplished, multi-layered work that audiences have come to expect at the Fountain Theatre. For those willing to throw away preconceived notions of what a Tennessee Williams play ought to be, A House Not Meant To Stand is likely not only to entertain, but to spark many a discussion of just how his wild-and-crazy last produced play fits in with the rest of Tennessee’s much loved, much lauded body of work."

RAVE! - Examiner.com - 5 OUT OF 5 STARS! - "A RARE COMEDY AND MEANT TO BE SEEN!... features a superb cast... Alan Blumenfeld deliciously portrays bombastic McCorkle patriarch Cornelius... Sandy Martin’s portrayal as matriarch Bella McCorkle was mesmerizing... The Fountain Theatre’s contribution to the Tennessee Williams Centennial is NOT TO BE MISSED and with a show this splendid and a limited run, it is sure to sell out, so don’t delay."

RAVE! - StageHappenings.com - "YOU MUST RUN TO THE FOUNTAIN THEATRE!... Not only will you gain insight into the alcohol-soaked and pill-ravaged mind of one of the theatre’s greatest writers toward the end of his days, but you will witness what an amazingly beautiful production can be created with a script that is seemingly incapable of being produced... Thanks to Simon Levy’s luminous direction, however, this House is a Haunted Mansion I wouldn’t have missed for the world."

RAVE! - Buzzine.com -  "I thank Simon Levy and the award-winning Fountain Theater for bringing me Williams’ birthday centennial... A LIVELY AND BOISTEROUS ROMP!... Tennessee Williams was a writer who always laid his own open heart naked on the table. And with this “comedy” at the end of his life, he had done the same thing. I had been given the privilege of witnessing a STRONG PRODUCTION of what was a final cry (laugh?) of despair... A House Not Meant to Stand is a darkly comedic version of Tennessee Williams’ familiar themes: the yearning heart, the frantic heart, the damaged heart, and family cruelty... an amazing performance by Sandy Martin!"

RAVE! - AssociatedContent.com - "THIS IS ONE NOT TO BE MISSED!...The Fountain Theatre HAS A MARVELOUS REPUTATION OF PROVIDING HIGH QUALITY THEATRICAL PROGRAMMING for the community it serves, and though it is a small theatre, it is more than capable of delivering excellence in theatrical productions. Its current run of A House Not Meant to Stand, BRILLIANTLY PRODUCED AND DIRECTED by Simon Levy (with assistant producers Deborah Lawlor and Stephen Sachs) is A SPLENDID EXAMPLE OF THIS KIND OF EXCELLENCE... a fabulous look at the lives of a family in the midst of turmoil... a cast that is more than superior... An engaging and powerful production that should not be missed."

RAVE! - Examiner.com - 4 STARS OUT OF 5 - "IT IS WORTH SEEING AND SEEING AGAIN so as to fully grasp what was on Tennessee Williams' own ebbing mind... Bella is brilliantly portrayed by Sandy Martin. Her characterization is so nuanced, idiosyncratic and committed that I can’t imagine anyone else in the role. She is 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! - StageHappenings.com - "IT WOULD BE A SHAME, INDEED, TO MISS THIS TERRIFIC PRODUCTION!... It's a fun play... SUPERB CAST!"

RAVE! - WeHoNews.com - "WHAT A HOOT! A BRIGHT, HILARIOUS HOOT SPOT-ON IN ALMOST EVERY WAY!... the only rowdy, broad and bawdy comedy (plus some darkness) I know of by Tennessee Williams... a funny but haunting and remarkable portrayal by Sandy Martin... a hilarious Alan Blumenfeld... done to perfection by Lisa Richards... Every part of this production by Simon Levy deserves praise; all the actors do fine jobs... ABSOLUTELY WORTH SEEING!"

RAVE! - Los Feliz Ledger - "A POWERFUL PRODUCTION THAT DESERVES TO BE SEEN BY THOSE WHO LOVE AMERICAN THEATER AND APPRECIATE EXCELLENT ACTING... Sandy Martin is brilliant as the fragile yet wily Bella, a character based on Williams’ aunt Bella.  Alan Blumenfeld’s portrayal of Cornelius Williams, drawn from Williams’ own father Cornelius Williams, is riveting. The character of the McCorkle’s son Charlie who provides a more human counterpoint to his sparring parents is well performed by Daniel Billet.  Virginia Newcomb’s interpretation of his sexually emancipated, born again fiancée Stacey’ adds humor. The play is beautifully directed by Simon Levy who was recently honored with a lifetime achievement award by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle."

RAVE! - EDGELosAngeles.com - "AS BEAUTIFUL AS ANY OF WILLIAMS' PREVIOUS WORKS... Director Simon Levy deftly navigates the many layers of this final effort of the great playwright... ALL PRINCIPLE ACTORS ARE FORMIDABLE IN THEIR ROLES, but it’s really Ms. Martin’s performance that centers the play. She balances dementia and confusion beautifully with her lucid determination to care for her remaining children... Even to the very end, the ghosts that haunted Tennessee Williams in his own life and work - his family- still resonated with him."

RAVE! - CynthiaCitron.com - "THE ALWAYS WONDERFUL FOUNTAIN THEATRE!... under the inspiring direction of Simon Levy and BRILLIANT PERFORMANCES BY A STELLAR CAST... The patriarch, Cornelius, is a blustering bully, loud, offensive, and arrogant, and Alan Blumenfeld plays him exquisitely... it’s being presented at the Fountain, which is a house that, we believe, is meant to stand for a very long time."
 

OPUS (2010) - 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! - BroadwayWorld.com - full review - "BRILLIANT!... What more can be said that has not already been extoled?... Sensational work from all five actors!... Levy's direction is impeccable... With an astounding cast and direction, THIS PRODUCTION IS ONE MORE CLASSIC FOR THE CLASS-A FOUNTAIN THEATRE." - Don Grigware

RAVE! - CultureSpotLA.com - full review - "THE MUST-SEE PRODUCTION!... The characters are richly drawn, the dialogue true to life and the story compelling. The actors, all with exceptional credits in theater (and some having made recognizable TV appearances), make wonderful music together... Hollinger portrays human relationships with an accuracy and sensitivity that give it a universal appeal. That’s what makes “Opus” compelling and assures its longevity." - Julie Riggott

RAVE!- LATheatreReview.com - full review - "I CAN SUM UP MY REACTION IN ONE WORD: 'BRAVISSIMO.' Opus is an all-around professional production, with artistry, craft and attention to detail that is not lost on the audience and has become the hallmark of Fountain Theatre productions... The acting is excellent all-around." - Joel Elkins

RAVE! - ReviewPlays.com/Santa Monica Daily Press/San Diego Jewish World - full review - "MAGNIFICENT! - Exquisite play! - Impeccable timing... Gorgeous music... an altogether absorbing study of very real and very human individuals as they cope with their lives and prepare for the most important performance of their careers. A performance to which we, along with the president, can only shout “Bravo!” - Cynthia Citron

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! - StageSceneLA.com - full review - "THIS IS L.A. INTIMATE THEATER AT ITS BRILLIANT BEST... Director Simon Levy adds Opus to the string of hits he’s directed at the Fountain, most recently last year’s equally gripping Photograph 51, and neither his work nor the cast he has assembled could be any better... The Fountain has a history of long-running, multi-award-winning productions, and Opus looks to be no exception." - Steven Stanley

RAVE! - Buzzine - full review "SOMETHING WONDERFUL HAPPENS WITH A PLAY THAT WORKS... It's a theater experience that doesn't always happen. It happens in Opus... all excel in this small, well-crafted play." - Clare Elfman

RAVE! - StageHappenings.com - full review - "A HELLUVA THEATRE EXPERIENCE! This is one high-toned evening that should be viewed by lovers of theatre and of classical chamber music...  Director Simon Levy has worked his signature magic with the entire production and the five actors are to be congratulated on such intense individual and ensemble work." - Dale Reynolds

RAVE! - CultureVulture.net - full review - "A GEM!... Sometimes it seems like the best way to review something terrific is to just lean back and say, "You must go, see for yourself.  It's wonderful." "Opus" at the Fountain Theatre is just such a gem. It is 90 minutes of tightly written and meticulously acted theater, entertaining and thought provoking... Watching "Opus," it is hard to believe that the actors in front of you are not musicians, or for that matter, that they are not a real quartet performing before you... BEAUTIFUL!" - Karen Weinstein

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! - LAStageBlog.com - full review - "A MINOR MASTERPIECE under Simon Levy's direction." - Don Shirley

RAVE! - Hollywood Reporter - full review "THE ACTING, LIKE MOST STRING QUARTETS, EXCEEDS THE SUM OF ITS PARTS. There is real teamwork, whether as characters in the play or just actors on a stage doing battle and interacting with one another... Cooper Thornton as the second violin increasingly dominates the play with his resigned sense of humor, bringing a Jason Robards Jr. sense of pathos to his work along with a split-second sense of timing. Gregory G. Giles gets bad news and delivers it as only a cellist with his feet firmly on the ground could do. Between them, Christian Lebano as the controlling first violinist and Daniel Blinkoff as his ephemeral lover and rival capture the stilted, awkward rituals classical music relationships must go through in their final stages, like black holes of mortality. The set is cleverly designed to provide the labyrinth through which all touring ensembles must continually travel... Rips open the heart of classical music." - Laurence 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! - StageHappenings.com - full review -

"DROP WHAT YOU'RE DOING RIGHT NOW. MAKE RESERVATIONS FOR 'OPUS'... exquisitely directed by Simon Levy... five superb actors... the audience sits mesmerized... This intimate production is LIVING THEATRE AT ITS BEST." - Shirle Gottlieb

 

PHOTOGRAPH 51 (2009) - Director

L.A. Weekly - PICK OF THE WEEK - "SHOULD NOT BE MISSED! - Simon Levy efficiently orchestrates the manipulation of time and space, turning vast leaps into imperceptible segues, and inspiring powerful performances from his actors. The entire cast sparkles." - Mayank Keshaviah

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

CurtainUp.com - "This STUNNING PRODUCTION of Anna Ziegler's prize-winning play is whipped into a tightly-paced 90 minutes by director Simon Levy at The Fountain Theatre... Ziegler superbly sculpts the humanity and emotional lives of these scientists into their race for the prize. The play was the winner of the 2008 Stage International Script Competition for Best New Play About Science and Technology. It well deserves the honor and this production does it justice." - Laura Hitchcock

Back Stage - "Ziegler uses considerable ingenuity to explicate dense scientific information; create clever, credible characters; and tell a story that won't conform to standard notions of plotting. Franklin's early death means the tale has no real climax or emotional payoff, but Ziegler juggles her materials so skillfully that we scarcely notice the lack. Director Simon Levy gives the piece an IMPECCABLE PRODUCTION, with an admirable young cast. Alpert combines Franklin's brusque authority with vivacity and charm." - Neal Weaver

Variety - "TERRIFIC! - Polished and entertaining... Director Simon Levy directs the show smoothly, segueing from straight drama to narration to the lead character's private imaginings with admirable clarity. Attention clearly has been paid to the actors' performances...Alpert is terrific as Franklin, full of astringent authority and tart humor, a woman in full control of herself, if not her world." - Terry Morgan

LA CityBeat - "ABSORBING AND TOUCHING! - The no-nonsense Franklin is seen here not simply as a casualty of sexism but also, more dimensionally, as a woman whose loner obstinacy might even have irritated other women scientists – if any of them had been in the labs. Partially because of her premature death at age 37, from a cancer that Ziegler suggests might have been caused by her work in the lab, she assumes a tragic stature that elevates the play and Simon Levy’s staging into an absorbing and touching event." - Dpn Shirley

 

THE MILK TRAIN DOESN'T STOP HERE ANYMORE (2007) - Director

L.A. Weekly - GO! - "SUPERB! - Director Simon Levy and a terrific cast headed by Karen Kondazian do a magnificent job of bringing this black comedy to life. The production design is as superb as the cast." - Sandra Ross


Back Stage West - CRITIC'S PICK! - "Fascinating production! - Director Simon Levy skillfully manages to make this world of isolation, privilege, deception, lust, and hallucination work as a richly textured whole." - Wenzel Jones

L.A. Times – “TALENTED CAST! – The Fountain Theatre’s new production lunges into this problematic play with energy and enthusiasm… the cast is deliciously game.” – David Ng

CurtainUp.com - "It's getting the best performance it's likely to have at the Fountain Theatre under the direction of Simon Levy, whose intuitive understanding of the playwright has earned him exceptional privileges from the vigilant Williams estate." - Laura Hitchcock

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

"INTENSELY INTIMATE AND POWERFUL!

With pulsing physicality and a visceral embrace of language... Orlandersmith has such a strong connection to her material that it's impossible not to be completely drawn in; HER WORDS AND PRESENCE ARE INESCAPABLE... Simon Levy directs, and the production makes beautiful use of lighting by Kathi O'Donohue and sound by David B. Marling." - Jennie Webb

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  http://fountaintheatre.com/buytickets.html.)

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!"

EDINBURGH EVENING NEWS 4 Stars! - "GRIPPING AND THRILLING POLITICAL THEATRE."

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

L.A. WEEKLY ****RECOMMENDED! - GO! - "Director Simon Levy smoothly orchestrates his adaptation [with] five VERSATILE ACTORS... THE WORK TAKES ON AN URGENT LIFE ALL ITS OWN AS WE RE-EXPERIENCE THE ADMINISTRATION'S LUNATIC HUBRIS.- Steven Mikulan

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

CurtainUp - "Rupert Holmes' DEFT, DAFFY, COMPLEX COMEDY OF TERRORS which is given the SPIFFY PRODUCTION it deserves by the Colony Theatre. DIRECTOR SIMON LEVY GIVES FULL MEASURE OF CHILLS AND CHUCKLES AND HAS A SENSE OF THE FEYDEAU-ESQUE FARCICAL BLOCKING SO ESSENTIAL TO MAKING THIS PLAY PRANCE SLYLY AND LASCIVIOUSLY ALONG." – Laura Hitchcock

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!”

www.fountaintheatre.com


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