Suzanne Agins
Press

ITH logo1
Hangar Theatre
June/July 2016

WINNER 5 SALT Awards including Best Musical, Best Director, Best Ensemble
(11 nominations) - Syracuse New Times

Named “Best of Ithaca 2016” - Ithaca.com


In the Heights at the Hangar, under the ebullient direction of Suzanne Agins, mixes hot and cool rhythms, generous splashes of color and a huge beating heart to seduce you from its opening number.
The elders own the strongest songs: Danny Bolero hauntingly sings of his feeling of uselessness in the face of his obdurate daughter, recalling days in the sugar cane fields (Bolero’s performance is rich, varied and nicely layered.) [Amy Jo] Phillips brings down the house with the majestic “Pacienca y Fe (Patience and Faith)” a striking catalog of a life from leaving Cuba with her mother in the ‘40s till this day, vibrant with pride and yearning. Phillips digs deep into this kind woman’s fierce emotions.
Once [Natalie] Ortega begins her exchanges with the warm and slightly devilish [Austin] Scott as Benny, she blossoms as an actor, their morning-after duet is very touching. Celina Polanco commands as Camila Rosario, alternating fondness and stern feminist fury.
Usnavi is the glue; Perry Young is dynamic and captivating, carrying the story forward with rue and humor in equal measure.
Julio Agustin’s superb choreography (joyous to sultry) is full of Latin moves, a bit of jazz, and much hip-hop, done in a character-driven manner, with few unison or showbiz moments. Design is topnotch from the romantic setting by Raul Abrego, to the summer urban-tropical lighting by Hangar vet Matthew Richards to the stylish costumes of Kendra Johnson. Music director Diane Louie weaves in the varied rhythms.”
Ross Haarstad, Ithaca.com

The Hangar production sparkles and pops under Suzanne Agins' direction, and is stuffed with ingratiating performances. [Perry] Young endows Usnavi with soulfulness. He finds an able foil in [Nick] Martinez, who thoroughly inhabits the wisecracking Sonny. [Amy Jo] Phillips warms the stage with "Paciencia y Fe," which movingly explores Abuela's history and philosophy. [Danny] Bolero and Celina Polanco do fine work as Nina's earnest parents. [Gerianne] Perez lays out Vanessa's aspirations in "It Won't Be Long Now." Especially noteworthy is the spirited "Carnaval Del Barrio," fueled by Julio Agustin's firecracker choreography and led by Donnie Hammond as Vanessa's boss Daniela.”
Len Fonte, Syracuse.com


Director Suzanne Agins and choreographer Julio Agustin make the most of the 10 full ensemble numbers, where the diversity of this musical really shines. Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican, Cuban — all these ethnicities are celebrated and connected, in dance and dialogue, memory and pride.
Raul Abrego’s set, lit by Matthew Richards, gives us a bodega, car dispatch office, apartment stoop and fire escapes, with the G.W. Bridge in the background. Kendra Johnson’s costumes perfectly reflect the characters’ varied tastes and styles — from practical to sultry and everything in between.
But the ultimate diversity manifests in the casting, a wide range of physical types, everyone average, yet everyone special. The effect is fascinating… There are plenty of quiet moments, in songs like “Sunrise” and “Atención,” but it’s the chaos of the street, with everyone in motion, that most captures the barrio — and the dance numbers where everyone’s freestyling are the best. The energy is constant, uplifting, festive; the pulsing beats buoyant — it’s hard to sit still… Guaranteed: When you leave “In the Heights,” you’ll find yourself homesick for an extended family and a neighborhood you never knew.”
Barbara Adams, Ithaca Journal

Almost half the numbers put the whole company on the floor, well guided by choreographer Julio Agustin and director Suzanne Agins. Eschewing the uniformity of standard Broadway shows, both the male and female choruses in Heights embrace a variety of physical types, often juxtaposing dancers following different steps…The Hangar’s exuberant In the Heights is a landmark of a busy summer. Brag to your friends that you have seen it when they tell you they have tickets to Hamilton.”
James MacKillop, Syracuse New Times

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LAByrinth Theater Company
November/December 2012

“Ms. Agins’s production cloaks the action in a studied movie-ish veneer that evokes both film noir and war pictures from the 1940s and ’50.”
David Rooney, New York Times

“[Cusi] Cram's insightful text is given a firm platform by director Suzanne Agins’ tight, well-designed production. Sound designer Daniel Kluger makes good use of the real audio of the Tanimoto episode as it plays through the bar's crackly old radio. David Meyer gives his set an air of dusty rec room authenticity that is further aided by Nick Francone's naturalistic lighting. (Nothing is more depressingly sobering than a bar with all the lights on.)
As Lewis, [Kohl] Sudduth captures a certain gruff emotional detachment that often seems typical of members of what is now commonly referred to as "the greatest generation." More impressive is his ability to seamlessly transform into a younger, more cocksure version of his character during the flashback scene that takes place before his fateful flight over Hiroshima.
As the ditsy and desperate May, [Ana] Reeder serves as the voice of American conventional wisdom when she tells Lewis that he saved millions of lives by dropping the bomb on Japan and that, "Everyone thinks that…probably even the Japanese.”
It is clear that not only is Lewis unconvinced by this notion, but so is the author, who has created a drama ripe for post-curtain debate.”
Zachary Stewart, Theatermania.com

“Suzanne Agins’s neat and tidy direction validates her continuing connection to Cram (Lucy and the Conquest at Williamstown Theatre Festival where she was Artistic Associate for New Plays from 2005-2007). Agins has also brought out some engaging performances from LAByrinth Theater Company members [Kohl] Sudduth and [Aaron] Weiner, as well as from [Ana] Reeder as a bar girl non-pareil and from [Kelly] AuCoin. AuCoin and Weiner's double roles were impressively expressive.”
Simon Saltzman, Curtain Up

“Under the lively direction of Suzanne Agins, the second half of the play moves briskly and showcases the talents of a versatile ensemble.”
Ethan Kanfer, Show Business Weekly

“LAByrinth Theatre does solid justice to Cram’s play. David Meyer’s set design is a wonderfully detailed work of art - instantly transporting us to a less than savory locale in 1955 LA. Complete with pressed tin ceilings, distressed linoleum floor, period furniture and a well stocked bar. Lighting by Nick Francone supports the action, time and place perfectly and Emily Pepper’s period costumes go a long way in assisting the cast with their multiple characterizations.
Suzanne Agins directs with a steady hand, expert timing and an ideal fluidity.  Agins has also assembled a top-notch cast. Kohl Sudduth does an exemplary job in the role of the conflicted Rob.  He is a walking contradiction of handsome, smooth talking charmer, and broken human being, troubled by self-doubt and regret that he only wishes to drown in drink.
Ana Reeder is appealing in the dual roles of May and  Evelyn. She particularly excels as May, a one time Hollywood wanna-be, utterly devoid of talent or ability but filled to the brim with dreams of a better existence. Aaron Roman Weiner shows off a superb range in the roles of the pompous Tibbets who renamed Rob’s plane after his own mother “Enola Gay” and the persistent Waxman whose mission is to wrangle the straying Rob. Kelly AuCoin, who plays both the shiftless Artie and newspaper journalist Laurence with convincing acumen, rounds out the cast.”
Lynn Marie Macy, NYTheatre.com

“Under Suzanne Agins’ claustrophobic direction, the actors — all, except Sudduth, in dual roles — deliver assured performances. And scenic designer David Meyer has created a seedy bar setting so detailed, it would probably do solid business if left open after the show.”
Frank Scheck, New York Post

 Fallen Angels

FALLEN ANGELS
Dorset Theatre Festival
July 2010


 “DTF’s FALLEN ANGELS A ROMP.  Audiences will be delighted by this fun romp through the ups and downs of love, lust, and alcohol consumption...The director and actors are to be given credit for providing substance, modern relevance and tremendous energy to the simple story... Audiences will find themselves laughing riotously at the women's antics and commentary.”
Jessica Palmer, Manchester Journal

“ANGELS FAR FROM FALLEN.  Dorset Theatre Festival  continued its renaissance 35th anniversary season under new artistic  director Dina Janis by turning to a classic farce, Noel Coward's  longtime audience favorite, "Fallen Angels." Directed by Suzanne Agins, the action flows from morning to evening to the next morning, to the heights of titillation and back, all with rollicking humor. Veteran performers [Amy Lynn] Stewart  and [Jeanine] Serralles, Ying to each other's Yang, took the near-capacity audience through an evening of innuendo, arousal, and downright guffaws. They  proved that hiding a bit from view still builds allure. Both pushed us  to the brink of expectation. They used their physical gifts and period  dress to flaunt their sensual selves in a tapestry held together by  Coward's clever repartee...Ryan Palmer's set design  was beautifully done. Jacqueline Firkins' costumes of Julia and Jane were an array of rainbow hues and high fashion for the times, a visual  cornucopia not to be missed.”
Telly Halkias, Bennington Banner

“Directed by Suzanne Agins, Coward’s 1925 comedy of manners is worthy of  applause thanks to significant efforts by the cast and director... By the time Act 1 comes to a close, you’ve fallen in love with the charming, yet morally questionable duo, as they anxiously await the arrival of their ex-lover. Mayhem ensues,  culminating in a tour de force as Stewart and Serralles stumble and slur their way through an increasingly drunken Act 2...Both the direction and set design deserve special mention. The set is understated, with a pale blue design, allowing you to focus on the  actors and their decadent costumes. The direction is also tight and  professional.  While Coward’s writing is at times dated, the director and company  clearly worked diligently to create such a laugh-filled show, which is where the heart of the show lives - in the interpretation and delivery  of each line, and the design and production of the set.”
Chelsea Slosberg, The Free George

“It takes this company of young, invigorated American actors only 92 minutes to play out the 24 hours of this piece...Together alone, for the  most part, in Act Two, these two actresses give us every possible stage  of friendship from uneasiness to antagonism to love and trust and even  to ugly disdain. As their collaborative reunion with their former lover  turns into a drunken brawl they become funnier and sillier and even more loveable than they were before. And watching them play through the  third act’s twists and turns is hilarious...Suzanne Agins has pulled  this production together without flaws. She has delivered delicious  Coward on a summer stock platter with young hopefuls playing bigger and better than they knew they could. It looked like the twenties, sounded  like the twenties and for 90 minutes it felt like the twenties. You  can’t ask for more than that while "wallowing in a quagmire" (see the  show and get the reference).”
J. Peter Bergman, Berkshire Bright Focus

 

MFL title02 Berlind Theatre
 Princeton University,
 November 2009

“It is the sign of a truly great production when the performances, design and direction come together to succinctly communicate a story to the audience. "My Fair Lady"...does just that.”
Zach Zimmerman, Daily Princetonian

“It’s a pleasure to hear them sing... [Laura] Hankin portrays a somewhat delicate Eliza, with a very lovely and pure soprano voice. She is especially delightful in “I Could Have Danced All Night.”  Fennell sing-talks his way amusingly through some of the funnier pieces, notably “I’m an Ordinary Man” in Act 1 (the humor in this show is one of its fortes). Among the very large cast, those with prominent and strong contributions include Gabriel Crouse as the rough-hewn, cocky Alfred Dolittle; Andrew Linz as Colonel Pickering, Higgins’ alter ego and stabilizer; Liana Kissinger-Virizlay as Higgins’ disapproving mother; and Dan Corica as Freddy, who does a plaintive turn outside Higgins’ door, “On the Street Where You Live.”  Set design and lighting by Mimi Lien and Nick Francone, respectively, are elegant, economical, and period perfect. From the plush purple curtain to the Edwardian-style footlights, the mood is restrained elegance. Even the street-urchins and peddlers in the opening scene at Covent Garden seem to have been drawn from an illustrated Edwardian novel. This carries over to Emily Pepper’s costume designs, which are in a range of very tasteful, muted earth tones, or black and white.   And what a luxury it is to have the expanse of the Berlind performance space for this lavish production. To fill it, Ryan Migge’s inventive choreography is another standout.”
Bob Brown, Princeton Packet

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 Cherry Lane Theater,
 March/April 2009

“They're cruel, they're reckless, and they're dangerous as hell. They're teenage girls, and Deirdre O'Connor has their number in Jailbait, a terrific little play.  Funny, shocking and sad.  Dynamite production.”
Marilyn Stasio, Variety

 “Packed full of awkward pauses and things left unsaid, Deirdre O’Connor’s carefully observed and occasionally wobbly coming-of-age drama, Jailbait, is a more mature take on the kind of losing-your-virginity narrative that has been trivialized by countless hours of television drama. Ms. Payne, the most persuasive performer in the cast of the director, Suzanne Agins, does some marvelous acting here.”
Jason Zinoman, New York Times

"Deirdre O’Connor’s drama— well written, well acted, and well directed (by Suzanne Agins) — makes a strong inaugural production for Cherry Lane’s new venture, the Cherry Pit."
The New Yorker

"Under director Suzanne Agins's unfussy hand, the talented cast expertly transforms would-be stereotypes into painfully real and complex people."
Raven Snook, TimeOut New York

“O’Connor provides a humorous take on the excitement and pitfalls of dating at any age. The four cast members are sensitive to the nuances required for their respective roles. Suzanne Agins’ minimalist direction focuses attention on plausible character development.”
The Associated Press

“The possibility of statutory rape may not seem like the most appropriate subject to laugh about, but Deirdre O'Connor's Jailbait -- the first production in the Cherry Lane Theatre's new Cherry Pit space on Bank Street -- is full of humor. However, this bold and dynamic new play is also filled to the brim with genuine emotion and a complex treatment of a controversial subject.  O'Connor's writing is character-driven, and director Suzanne Agins strikes a nice balance between playing up the comic moments and giving weight to the more thoughtful and dramatic scenes.”
Dan Balcazo, TheaterMania

“Jailbait could be the most searing portrait of teenage female longing since Joyce Carol Oates’ 1964 short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” (later adapted into the 1985 film Smooth Talk, with a very young Laura Dern).  Flavorful dialogue aptly captures adolescence peering into maturity, and the exchanges amongst all four actors are natural-sounding and often quite funny, but never in a preciously designed manner. And director Suzanne Agins has used the difficult Cherry Pit space (once the former Bank Street Theater) to great advantage.”
Jason Clark, TheaterOnline.com

“Boy, do they hit a home run.  Director Suzanne Agins does a fantastic job of telling the story simply.  Agins avoids being too clever. Instead she guides her actors to genuine connections with each other and revelatory discoveries within themselves. What could easily become melodramatic is light and comic, allowing the poignant moments to hit home.  Deirdre O'Connor has given us a show that is at once funny, entertaining, intellectual, endearing, and at times heartbreaking. With a script that is spot-on, a director who has crafted a simple piece of human truth, and a cast with impeccable commitment, Jailbait proves to be one of the most enjoyable things I've seen in a long time. Go see it!”
Joshua Chase Gold, nytheatre.com

“Jailbait starts with a simple moral issue--two fifteen-year-old girls getting involved with two thirtysomething "boys"--but thanks to Deirdre O'Connor's exceptional writing, the cast's dead-on characters, and Suzanne Agins' lightly emphatic staging, it quickly becomes something far more emotionally complex. It's as compelling as it is comedic: it's bait, in other words, that you won't mind being hooked on.”
Aaron Riccio, Theater Talk (Top Pick)

“Intelligently handled by the young author, this coming-of-age story presents us with a quartet of characters to searingly show us what happens when teens get in over their head, and passion spins out of control… The director at hand is Suzanne Agins, and a good hand she has.”
Deirdre Donovan, Curtain Up

 

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 Williamstown Theatre Festival,
 July 2007

 “The Williamstown Theatre Festival has invested much in the way of talent and resources to present Wing It, which is one of the best productions in the history of its Free Theatre…The reasons to rush to Wing It are for Cox’s clever lyrics and cocky repartee, Kris Kukul’s refreshingly tuneful music and Suzanne Agins’ inventive direction and crisp pacing.  There aren’t many freebies in theater, and when there are, one often gets what he pays for.  Here is that odd duck that has been created with such love, craft and enthusiasm that it is priceless.”
Ralph Hammann, North Adams Transcript

“There is lively, catchy music, zippy dancing, a couple of puppets, a snarly villain (two, in fact), a few moral lessons and an awful lot of talent both on stage and from the show’s creators – composer Kris Kukul, librettist/lyricist Gordon Cox, and director Suzanne Agins, who also conceived “Wing It.”  It’s about the most disarming 75 minutes you are likely to spend in a theater.”
Jeffrey Borak, Berkshire Eagle

 

Silence SILENCE
 Roundtable Ensemble, January 2007

 A High 5 Pick of the Week
 Theater Talk’s Top Five Favorites


 “Moira Buffini's Silence renders her audience spellbound. Each member of Silence's first-rate cast conveys a necessary dramatic element to evoke emotion and honesty. Boosted by its shining performances and clever writing, Silence conveys a much-needed message of hope...providing a few laughs along the way for good measure.”
Nicholas Luckenbaugh, Show Business Weekly

“Director Suzanne Agins gets comedic timing from the cast in even the most unexpected places.  Agins also gets a well-executed and energetic performance out of her players.”
Lori Fromowitz, Off Off Online

 

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 Williamstown Theatre Festival,
 July 2006

 
Lucy and the Conquest is a wild ride.”
Jeffrey Borak, Berkshire Eagle

“Suzanne Agins and her design team have therefore given it an aptly and piquantly abstract staging.” 
Elyse Sommer, Curtain Up

“The WTF production on the Nikos Stage is under the peppy direction of Suzanne Agins, with a cast that’s appealing.”
Jonathan Levine, The Pittsfield Gazette

“The technical sophistication of this of this production is impressive.  Suzanne Agins, director, ably handled the physical staging of the piece.”
Jane Hudson, Berkshire Arts

“Director Suzanne Agins keeps this wild ride from veering off its tracks.”
Ron Lee, WBRK, Pittsfield MA

“This is going to be what’s called a rave review.  Lucy and the Conquest, written by Cusi Cram, is a triumph for this company.  Directed by Suzanne Agins, it offers uniformly stunning performances and an original script that captures the imagination.”
Carol King, Schenectady Daily Gazette

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 The Kraine Theater,
 February 2005


“It’s a kick…to hear the actors…deliver [Gordon Cox’s] dialogue, under the direction of Suzanne Agins.”
Andrea Stevens, The New York Times

“The simple design of the stage and the costumes throws the spotlight on the acting, which is superb.  The crucial questions which are addressed in this play are defused by the often hilarious comedy.”
Anastasia Donde, Show Business Weekly

“Very cool, very entertaining—a satisfying work by a talented playwright…Director Suzanne Agins keeps it moving at the requisite fast clip…The Secret Narrative of the Phone Book is a lot of fun.  It’s so well-crafted and so clever.”
Martin Denton, nytheatre.com

“Suzanne Agins’ [production is] adrenaline-filled and rapid fire.”                                       
 American Theater Web

“Directed by Suzanne Agins, the production moves at a fast clip and provides acute commentary on global conspiracies as well as human relationships.”                                                  
Dan Bacalzo, TheaterMania.com

SPIN MOVES

UC San Diego
April 2003

“Excellently, impressively, acted and directed…The beautifully haunting play is deliciously unpredictable, and thanks to an outstanding cast, under the expert direction of Suzanne Agins, it builds to multiple climaxes that both stop and touch the heart.”                                                                                
Pat Launer, KPBS San Diego

“Director Suzanne Agins…seems to have such a terrific feel for how to bring Weitzman’s scripts to the stage.”
Rob Hopper, San Diego Playbill

“Weitzman’s play as staged by the imaginative Suzanne Agins is a rip-roaring comedy, again with deep stuff running just under the surface.”                 
Charlene Baldridge, La Jolla Village News

 

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 UC San Diego,
 November 2002

 “Director Suzanne Agins, the technical staff and performers create a sense of heightened drama that suits the near-tragic, faintly comic tale of incest, vengeance, murder and suicide…Director Agins is in command all the way.  Everything ties into the development of the story, from Sarah’s off-key singing and Lavinia’s intensity in the first scene, to the crude sexual wrestling near the finale.  She isn’t afraid to be obvious, as in Orin’s incestuous behavior toward Christine, or to underplay strong gestures, such as Ezra’s dismissal of his daughter Lavinia in favor of his wife, Christine.”          
Bill Fark,
North County Times

“Sterling acting from top to bottom and artful direction by Suzanne Agins.”  
Rob Hopper,
San Diego Playbill

“Suzanne Agins intelligently stages Mourning Becomes Electra.”   
Charlene Baldridge, La Jolla Village News
 

ARRANGEMENTS

UC San Diego
April 2002


San Diego Playbill Award for Outstanding Direction
San Diego Playbill Top 10 of 2002

“Ken Weitzman’s new play artfully blended together dark and original comedy, brilliantly conceived characters, and a captivating plot with a cast and director (Suzanne Agins) to match, creating one of the most surprising and enjoyable shows of an amazing year in San Diego theatre.”           
Rob Hopper, San Diego Playbill

“Quirky, whimsical and wonderfully well written, excellently acted and designed, and outstandingly, inventively directed, by Suzanne Agins.”                                                
Pat Launer, KPBS San Diego

“A fantastic production packed with a beautiful ‘arrangement’ of hilariously inventive comedy and well developed, touching drama.”                                        
Rob Hopper, San Diego Playbill

“Suzanne Agins directed the multilocale piece with a keen visual sense, pulling fine performances from Makela Spielman as the obese, intuitive Donna, and Christine Albright as her compulsively skinny sister, Ros.”
Anne Marie Welsh, San Diego Union Tribune


 

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 UC San Diego
 November 2001


KPBS San Diego Patté Award for Outstanding Direction
San Diego Playbill Award for Outstanding Direction


“Well-produced, well-acted, well-directed…a spiffy, funny, poetic and profound production directed by Suzanne Agins….Extremely clever visuals…The cast is uniformly excellent and imaginatively directed by Agins.”
Charlene Baldridge, La Jolla Village News

“Director Suzanne Agins deftly trimmed the story quite a bit for the stage.  She also added much to the humor with some modern day references, including the chorus breaking into a chorus of Sh-Boom (Life Could Be a Dream).
Rob Hopper, San Diego Playbill

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