Ladue News Review: “Yentl” at New Jewish Theatre

The ensemble of students who serve as a Greek chorus is effectively portrayed by Will Bonfiglio, Brendan Ochs, Luke Steingruby and Jack Zanger. Bonfiglio is especially enjoyable to observe in Isom’s engaging choreography.

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St. Louis Theatre Snob Review: “Yentl” at New Jewish Theatre

The play is bolstered by its supporting members — Peggy Billo as the uncompromising mother of Hadass, Frumka, Jennifer Theby-Quinn as Pesha, Avigdor’s commerce-savvy wife, along with Amy Loui, Will Bonfiglio, Brendan Ochs, Luke Steingruby and Jack Zanger — all in multiple roles, elevating the play with solid performances.

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Two On The Aisle Review: “All Is Calm” at Mustard Seed Theatre

I cannot say enough about how beautifully the cast sings and about how completely involved everyone is in the action and emotion of each moment.

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The Telegraph Review: “All Is Calm” at Mustard Seed Theatre

The 11 actors are uniformly excellent with special nods to local chameleon Charlie Barron and vocal powerhouse Luke Steingruby. A solo by Steingruby towards the end of the show is hauntingly powerful and elicits absolute silence in the theater while patrons bask in its beauty. This is the show’s third consecutive year, and many of the cast members are new to the material this year. Given the stellar performances, these artists clearly connected to the material in a relatively short amount of time.

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Stage Door St. Louis Review: “All Is Calm” at Mustard Seed Theatre

Paul Cereghino gets to open the show as he strolls on stage singing “Will Ye Go To Flanders” before the entire cast joins him onstage. You know immediately that this is going to be something special. Luke Steingruby gets the premiere piece as he does beautifully with “O Holy Night” sung in French. The entire cast is tremendous as both singers and actors including great work by Steve Isom, Ben Nordstrom, Will Bonfiglio, and Gerry Love. Charlie Barron is most effective in several roles and this marvelous cast also includes powerful characterizations by Tim Schall, Greg Lhamon, Kelvin Urday and Tyler Cheatem.

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Riverfront Times Review: “All Is Calm” at Mustard Seed Theatre

I hate Christmas. I hate the commercialism, I hate the maudlin sentiments and I hate the “entertainment” that comes with the season. If there were, in fact, an actual War on Christmas, I’d be on the frontlines shouting “Happy holidays!” at old ladies while drinking from a plain red Starbucks cup.

But I love Mustard Seed Theatre’s production of Peter Rothstein’s All Is Calm. For three years running the company has staged this a capella musical about the spontaneous Christmas truces that sprang up on the frontlines of World War I, and every year I enjoy the show more than I did the last. Director Deanna Jent and musical director Joe Schoen together craft a powerful story about peace, love and empathy that shines like a beacon in these darkening days.

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Ladue News Review: “All Is Calm” at Mustard Seed Theatre

Directed by Mustard Seed Theatre artistic director Deanna Jent along with musical director Joe Schoen, this hauntingly beautiful and deceptively ‘simple’ one-hour musical is masterfully performed for the third consecutive year, this time with a mostly different cast of 11 beautifully harmonized singers. The accomplished performers blend their diverse voices to affectingly give life to this century-old tale that is both touching and inspirational.

An enormously popular production when first performed by Mustard Seed in 2013, All Is Calm won five St. Louis Theater Circle awards, including Best Musical and Best Ensemble in a Musical. This year’s presentation features eight new cast members with equally impressive results.

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On StL Review: “All Is Calm” at Mustard Seed Theatre

With a script by Peter Rothstein and musical arrangements by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach, this story of the remarkable Christmas truce of 1914—a spontaneous outbreak of peace that occurred at multiple points along the trenches in France—combines splendid and often quite complex a cappella singing with readings of letters from soldiers and other historical documents. It’s powerfully moving and beautifully performed by a fine ensemble of eleven of our town’s most talented singing actors.

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RFT Review: “Dogfight” at Stray Dog Theatre

arts1-1Eddie Birdlace (Brendan Ochs) is an eighteen-year-old Marine who has one last night in San Francisco before shipping off to Vietnam. It’s November 21, 1963 — the night before President Kennedy will be killed — and Eddie is eager to win the dogfight planned with his friends Boland (Luke Steingruby) and Bernstein (Kevin O’Brien) before they settle that little conflict in southeast Asia. The boys anticipate a quick victory and a hero’s welcome when they return — but first they have to humiliate some women.

It is a lesson we never remember. Young men are trained to kill, women are there for the taking and the world races ever onward to some uncertain destiny. And yet two people can find one another in that chaos, and come to understand each other, if only they care enough to look deeply into themselves.

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