Tuesday, March 15, 2016

“Molly’s Hammer” review roundup: “From start to finish, this production had me hooked”

Molly’s Hammer has made its world premiere in The Rep Studio, and local critics are loving this stranger-than-fiction story of protest and passion.

We’re compiling all of the local critical reactions in this space, so be sure to keep checking back as the reviews continue to roll in!

Paul Friswold, Riverfront Times:

“The very best theater is a transformative experience that shakes you to your core and makes you feel something and think about the world a different way. Nancy Bell’s great gift is the ability to capture your heart and take you with her in the footsteps of Molly Rush.”

Chuck Lavazzi, Stage Left St. Louis:

“This a first-rate production of a play which, if it punts the ultimate question of whether or not its heroine’s sacrifice was really all that great or all that effective, nevertheless deserves to be seen and debated.”

Jim Ryan, PLAYBACK:stl:

“From start to finish, this production of Molly’s Hammer had me hooked. The story is fascinating, the characters are real, and the overall production was one I won’t forget for a very long time.”

Mark Bretz, Ladue News:

“★★★★.  (Nancy) Bell’s performance is richly textured as she reveals Molly’s deep reservoir of hope and commitment that the homemaker sees as complementing her love for her family rather than combating it.”

Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“A thoughtful production — well-directed, well-acted and well-designed.”

Lynn Venhaus, Belleville News-Democrat:

“Among our most gifted actresses, (Nancy) Bell excels in transforming herself organically to create an indelible, relatable character.”

Harry Hamm, KMOX:

“Nancy Bell is very appealing as Molly, making her remarkably authentic and the kind of person that is eminently likeable, whether you agree with her or not.”

Richard Green, Alive Magazine:

“A quiet success, unleashing warmth and light and energy from an alternate Hollywood universe, and speaking of the darkest inhuman possibilities in the idealistic language of film romance.”

Donald C. Miller, Alton Telegraph:

“Director Seth Gordon keeps things moving briskly in the one-act production, and the script by Tammy Gordon, based on the book ‘Hammer of Justice,’ is smart and thoughtful. ‘Molly’s Hammer’ is a story that deserves your time and attention.”

Steve Allen, Stage Door St. Louis:

“Director Seth Gordon tells a dynamic story in the simplest of terms. It resonates with today’s audience because of how close we may be again to a dangerous time in history where the world could easily become endangered by the worst enemy of all - man.”

Ann Pollack, St. Louis Eats and Drinks:

“There’s another story here. It’s about how marriage works, how differences are found and argued over and bargained about and maybe resolved, how adjustment can occur and how belief in the other person can sustain. I left thinking more about that thread than the one about civil disobedience.”

Like what you read? Be sure to pick up your tickets for Molly’s Hammer!

March 15, 2016 at 1:51 PM | Permalink
Categories: Studio | Molly's Hammer

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Watch The Rep’s panel on Islam and other “Disgraced” coverage

After opening to excellent reviews, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Disgraced has since built a tremendous buzz and sparked profound and necessary conversations among our audience members.

In addition to those great lobby conversations, we hosted our own panel on Islam in America last month featuring Disgraced playwright Ayad Akhtar and local Muslim leaders Dr. Ghazala Hayat of the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis and Faizan Syed of CAIR-St. Louis.

The three talked about their personal and communal experiences following 9/11, as well as how Disgraced represents Islam as a play. Thanks to our partners at Howl Round TV, you can watch the entire panel below. (Please note: audio kicks in 5 minutes into the video).

We’ve also seen some great coverage from the local media:

- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch posted several excellent columns on the show that are well worth reading:

  • Judith Newmark interviewed Akhtar about the show and its lack of easy answers.
  • Dr. Hayat wrote about its depiction of faith and self-loathing.
  • Columnist Aisha Sultan compared reading the show to seeing it live, while Newmark penned her own essay about the depiction of Jewish people on stage.

- Newmark also went on FOX 2‘s “Arts Pop” segment to discuss the show.

- St. Louis Public Radio interviewed Akhtar about the play and how its 2013 Pulitzer Prize win affected his career.

- Ladue News published a Q&A with director Seth Gordon about the show and what audiences can expect from it.

One week of performances remain for Disgraced. Get your tickets here!

March 1, 2016 at 5:24 PM | (4) Comments | Permalink
Categories: Mainstage | Disgraced

Thursday, February 18, 2016

“Disgraced” review roundup: “It will shake your sensibilities to their core.”

Disgraced arrived at The Rep with an impeccable pedigree: a Pulitzer Prize winner, Broadway hit and the most-performed show in American theatre this season. Based on the enraptured response of audiences and now critics, The Rep’s production of Ayad Akhtar’s masterful play has done the script proud.

We’re compiling all of the local critical reactions in this space, so be sure to keep checking back as the reviews continue to roll in!

Harry Hamm, KMOX:

“★★★★★. This Pulitzer Prize winning play will shake your sensibilities to their core. ... The performers in ‘Disgraced’ are magnificent. Seth Gordon’s direction realizes everything that is important and vital about this production. There are moments of cutting humor in ‘Disgraced.’ There are also so many varied, powerful personal elements swirling around in this explosive story that it is bound to strike a responsive chord with everyone.”

Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“‘Disgraced’ combines the unnerving honesty of Albee or Pinter with the raw ugliness of an unfiltered Internet screed. No matter what your views are — on Muslims or Jews, on U.S. policy or the nature of loyalty — you are almost certain to hear something to make you wince. But thanks to Akhtar’s pungent script and Seth Gordon’s sophisticated direction, you’re going to hear it all, including things that you are unlikely to hear in any other setting, no matter who you are.”

Lynn Venhaus, Belleville News-Democrat:

“A dinner party ignites a powderkeg of simmering race and religion issues in the industrial-strength intense ‘Disgraced,’ a truly remarkable evening of theater. Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer Prize-winning contemporary play is a carefully calibrated drama that slowly builds to gasp-out-loud twists and turns, which had a totally invested audience on the edge of their seats opening night.”

Robert A. Cohn, St. Louis Jewish Light:

“... An intense, powerful work that is equal parts emotional, thought-provoking and engrossing. ... Don’t miss this riveting and splendidly produced play by a major young playwright in American theater.”

Bob Wilcox, HEC-TV’s Two on the Aisle:

“So well does [Akhtar] structure his drama and construct his dialogue, and so tight is the pace in director Seth Gordon’s production at The Rep, that the play and its characters held me, even as I was aware that I was being taken over ground I was already familiar with. Theatre makes it real in a way that discussions and debates never can.”

Donald C. Miller, Alton Telegraph:

“This play couldn’t be more timely. It raises questions about race, gender, religion, group and self-identity, and forces everyone to confront their own biases. The play offers no easy answers or pat solutions but does demand attention and conversation.”

Tina Farmer, KDHX:

“John Pasha is powerful and mesmerizing as Amir, his virility and charisma nearly bursting out of his suit.”

Mark Bretz, Ladue News:

“Seth Gordon… masterfully guides the St. Louis premiere of this sobering cautionary tale that is taken from today’s headlines and yet has a timeless, universal message about the fragility of character, reputation and life itself.”

Steve Allen, Stage Door St. Louis:

“‘Disgraced’ will not be an easy play for many to see. It brings up the current tenor in so many conversations and feelings in the world today and the depiction of savage outbursts through both dialogue and action may leave you weak-kneed. But this is important theatre at the highest level. You will not want to miss it if you are a fan of realistic drama with superb direction and outstanding performances.”

Chuck Lavazzi, ONSTL.com:

“The Rep’s production is flawless, with precise direction by Seth Gordon and outstanding performances by a fine ensemble cast, headed by John Pasha as Amir.”

Ann Pollack, St. Louis Eats and Drinks:

“This is a play to shake up an audience, and it does that very well - just what art is intended to do.”

Like what you read? Be sure to pick up your tickets for Disgraced!

February 18, 2016 at 11:20 AM | Permalink
Categories: Mainstage | Disgraced

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