High School Musical

John Jeffrey Martin and the cast of the national tour of High School Musical

“…the stage version…with a book by David Simpatico…does make some minor but significant dramaturgical adjustments. Character motivations are subtly enriched; important contextual signifiers are added; the narrative arc is elaborated with the addition of nuanced emotional subtext that … er, what am I talking about?”

Charles Isherwood, NY Times, August 11, 2007

The Screams of Kitty Genovese 

Sophie Tehrani as Kitty Genovese; directed by David Edwards; produced by Stacey Levine, Michael Nassar and Single Malt Productions, 2010

“Uncomfortably frightening and aurally thrilling.”

Andy Propst, Backstage, 2006

“So allow me to be among the first to shout from the rooftops in support of Todd and Simpatico’s score. Alone of those I’ve been exposed to at NYMF this year, this one would not be inappropriately compared to the greats of the layered, theatrical-collage form . . . if it’s any indication of what they’re capable of, Todd and Simpatico could have glorious careers ahead of them.“

Matthew Murray, Talkin’ Broadway, 2006

“Claustrophobic, terrifying, unsettlingly tuneful and all too human, it was what you could term ‘relevant’ if you wanted to. But it’s more than that: it’s a brilliantly realised tale for our times and an opera to match, straddling and squashing artificial genre boundaries as it steams towards the inevitable tragedy. Emotionally it’s deeply uncomfortable, as it should be; musically it’s raw, passionate, noisy and dazzling. Brilliant performances from the whole cast. My friend kindly gave me a lift home afterwards, which was nice because I was scared of the dark by then.”

Standpoint, 2010

Whida Peru 

Judy Blazer, captivating and heartbreaking as Whida Peru.

Whida Peru, starring Judy Blazer; directed by Jonathan Butterell.  Presented by Premieres, Paulette Haupt, producer/artistic director, in association with Primary Stages, Casey Childs, executive producer

“…Featuring spiky, multihued music by Josh Schmidt (“Adding Machine”) and a saucy book and lyrics by David Simpatico, it’s a funny and enjoyable portrait of a highly theatrical character…”

“…If Madame Arcati, the nutty medium from Noël Coward’s “Blithe Spirit,” were not a tweedy Englishwoman but a slinky Latina transsexual, she would more or less be Whida. Tottering around her cozy parlor in date-night heels, raccoon-eyed in her gloppy mascara, Whida does not at first see what the evening has in store, despite her psychic powers…”

Charles Isherwood, NY Times, April 7, 2010

The Life and Death[s] of Alan Turing 

Lidiya Yankovskaya conducts the outstanding ensemble of singers, actors and musicians in the orchestral workshop of The Life and Death[s] of Alan Turing, at Chicago Opera Theatre, 2019.

“Silence—feeling as long as five seconds—seemed to underline that we in the audience were now a part of opera history. This was the end of a performance in DePaul’s spanking new dark wood paneled Gannon Music Hall capping a weeklong workshop of The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing by composer Justine F. Chen and librettist David Simpatico. Though still a work-in-progress, there are already so many moments of transporting music in this work that one can’t imagine- or at least this reviewer can’t—that ..Turing won’t some day be on the calendar of one of the world’s great opera houses, though likely transformed by this weeklong work shop process and the audience feedback session at its conclusion.

We learned in the post-show discussion with the opera’s creators hosted by sponsoring American Lyric Theater’s Artistic Director Lawrence Edelson that it was Simpatico’s brilliant stroke to recognize Turing’s dramatic story as an ideal match for the opera genre. Bravo!”

 

Amy Munice, Picture This Post, February 16, 2019

The Secret of Life

Alexandra Angeloch, Kerry Gibbons, Ryan Katzer, Samantha Jones, Michael Withall and Molly Parker Myers

‘Although playwright David Simpatico may not have set out to write a tour de force for six actors, in “The Secret of Life” that is exactly what he has done. Under the astute direction of Roger Mrazek, the performance is at such a pitch as to be a thrilling hour and 10 minutes. Credit Simpatico’s ear for the exact reproduction of colloquial speech, and his eye for the truly eccentric.’

Victor Gluck, Backstage, February, 2001

MACS: A Macaroni Requiem

Poster from the Williamstown Theatre Festival

“Never in all my years of theatregoing have I been so involved in onstage pain that, even as I write this, I cry. Writer David Simpatico has an unerring ear for dialogue, and the sounds, cadences and expressions of a working-class Italian family. Skillfully directed by Mark Roberts, the ensemble cast have created a real home and a real family on stage.” 

Barbara K. Mehlman, CurtainUp, 1999

Wish Fulfillment

Bobby Funaro, of The Sopranos, walked into our room by accident, and gave an incredible performance as The Father

“A gut-wrenching piece, exceptional in its crafting. With language that says everything in just a few words, relentless rhythm and an exchange of emotions that run a gamut I’ve rarely seen in such a short play. The audience for this at Seattle’s Funhouse Anthology was riveted, hanging on every word. 

Rachel Carnes, New Play Exchange, 2019

“… the opener was David Simpatico’s bitterly amusing “Wish Fulfillment,” which concerns a young man’s wild musings about how to tell his father he is gay. Simpatico’s play, well-performed by Kirk Baltz and Jack Wallace, is basically a one-liner, but one that packs a dramatic punch along with the laughs.”

F. Kathleen Foley, Los Angeles Times, 1994

Waiter, Waiter

This flyer captures three of my favorite people in the world; Bill Flatley as Fang, Jane Young as Diva, and Michael Nasser, our producer

“You wouldn’t think a play about waiters would be too interesting. In fact, the frustrated-waiter play is something of a theatre cliché, not surprising since so many in the theatre world toil in restaurants. What a surprise, then, that in David Simpatico’s savage hands, the shockingly nasty “Waiter, Waiter” holds an audience as well as any Fringe play I have recently seen.

The play is split into two segments, each representing a different area of a restaurant. In the first segment, a weary, bourgeois married couple is having a bitter anniversary dinner, in and around insulting their surly waitress named Diva. During the encounter, the very urban pair begins to attack each other with glee, especially when Dean, the male, tells Margo, the female, that he has had a vasectomy rather than have a child with her. It’s a blunt, heightened, hilariously barbed encounter, with extremely true dialogue gushing from the hands of the writer…”

Michael Lazan, Backstage, 2003

Trouble in Paradise

“TROUBLE IN PARADISE is a swell show with great charm, sophistication, and panache, and is entertaining from start to finish. Long may it wave!” 

Lively Arts, 6/22/06

“The perfect entertainment for a summer evening. One can almost hear the martinis chilling all throughout this detailed production, directed beautifully by Elyse Singer… the stellar cast of Trouble in Paradise is hilarious… For those of you craving a satisfying taste of yesteryear, Trouble in Paradise is the perfect dish. It goes down easy, fills one up, and leaves one completely fulfilled. Lubitsch would be proud.”

NYTheatre.com (Michael Criscuolo), 6/19/06 –

“ENCHANTING…Directed with jaunty aplomb by Elyse Singer, the actors glide smoothly into a witty simulacrum of the movie. Jeremy Shamos, his voice a cultivated purr, excels as the suave international thief Gaston Morescu; the vulpine Nina Hellman tears amusingly into the role of his life-partner in crime, and Carolyn Baeumler has a sweetly soft presence as their easy-living, free-spirited mark…Set designer Lauren Halpern and costumer Theresa Squire—squeezing great-looking work out of a presumably tight budget—help make this stylish production pop like a bottle of domestic champagne. Trouble in Paradise is Off-Off heaven: a $20 show that plays like a million bucks. “

Adam Feldman (Time Out New York) 6/29/06

Theater Matters

Back in 2014, my friend Mark Stevenson, an accomplished filmmaker, included me in a series of short video interviews entitled Theater Matters. Check out his site, Uprising Productions

.

And here’s my interview:

A Howl of Playwrights

..Howl Playwrights in Rhinebeck, NY led by DG members David Simpatico and Darrah Cloud, have one of the most robust and active collective of playwrights across our region, serving as a hub of new work and presenting year-round readings and digital presentations…

Dominic D’Andrea, Dramatist Magazine, Sep/Oct 2020


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