- The romantic tale of a forbidden love comes to life with a fresh take on the characters, time period, and costumes. The result is intriguing and captivating...Redhouse's Romeo and Juliet, under the creative direction of Melissa Rain Anderson, is refreshing from the casting choices to the setting and especially the line delivery. It is a beautiful, thought-provoking, and creative production of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
– Natasha Ashley, Broadway World
- Under Anderson’s direction, the show moves across the thrust-styled stage with real grace and urgency.
– Len Fonte, Syracuse.com
- ...a captivating and raw production of Sarah DeLappe's The Wolves under the impressive direction of Melissa Rain Anderson.
– Natasha Ashley, BroadwayWorld - Central New York
- ...because the dialogue is so sharp, authentic, and kinetic I quickly got caught up in the girls’ stories/lives. Of course it helps that the play is smashingly well acted by an incredible ensemble and directed brilliantly by Melissa Rain Anderson. ...take my word go see it. It’s a knockout.
– Craig Thornton, WWNY 7News
- “All Is Calm” uses an incredibly talented 10-man cast to tell this story with powerful simplicity and subtle beauty. The fine acting and Anderson’s direction adds depth to the story and a bittersweet quality to the Christmas miracle.
– Rick Harmon, Montgomery Adviser
- As a lament to this loss of life and dignity, this production directed by Melissa Rain Anderson stuns her audiences with its simple messages and warnings. The richness of four-part men's harmonies, and the quality of individual voices [“O Holy Night“, for example], stress the senselessness of war, a potent theme of All is Calm that leaves a lasting memory.
– Michael P. Howley, Theatre Montgomery
- In adapting the animated original of Disney's The Little Mermaid for the stage, director Melissa Rain Anderson tosses in magic and motion.
To elevate the fairytale magic of the story, Anderson brought in the team of circus artists, Ben Franklin and Joshua Dean, who trained the cast in trapeze and other circus arts for this production; they also lend their acrobatic talents to it as performers. The trapeze and circus aspects add a feeling of weightlessness along a vertical plane as kelp, anchor lines, and floating jellyfish take flight. In the musical number, "Kiss the Girl," the circus elements create an aerial spectacle as birds soar down from the sky to the sea.
– Anna Jensen, Broadwayworld
- Director Melissa Rain Anderson delivers everything we expect from a PCPA holiday production – spectacle, fun and heart.
– Brent Parker, Santa Ynez Valley News
- PCPA goes all out in its production of “The Little Mermaid,” and the spectacle is awe-inspiring....Something that makes the show stand out from other PCPA productions is that this one has collaborated with New York City’s 2 Ring Circus to bring breathtaking aerial feats to life on stage. This helps make the action to look as if you’re under the sea, swimming with all the sea creatures, or on a ship watching sailors climb the tall mast.
– Daniel Lahr, Santa Ynez Valley Star
- Geva Theatre's timeless farce 'La Cage aux Folles' is a comedic and visual wonder...an ambitious, madcap extravaganza served with a sea of sequins and a metric ton of mascara... The show’s nonstop energy and visual splendor grabbed hold of the audience immediately and never let go. The laughs came easily, the songs were pleasing and the acting was moving.
– Jason Cottrell, Special to the Democrat and Chronicle
- Geva's La Cage Aux Folles is artfully and sensitively directed by Melissa Rain Anderson who skillfully cultivates the chorus line of emotions within the work. With stunning costumes by Kevin Copenhaver, over-the-top dance numbers choreographed by Sam Hay, and musical direction by Don Kot, this production is a celebration of musical theater at its most joyous.
– Carol White Llewellyn, Beyond the Nest
- Geva's LA CAGE AUX FOLLES is sassy with unapologetic glitz. It pulses with exuberance, glamour and unrestrained fun. It is an anthem to tolerance and love.
– Dan and Julie Izzo, Broadwayworld.com | Central New York
- There is only one word to describe the current production of Macbeth at the Utah Shakespeare Festival: engrossing. Nearly every scene is a triumph of directing and acting that makes it obvious why Macbeth is one of Shakespeare‘s greatest tragedies.
Director Melissa Rain Anderson is a master of the stage picture, and frequently I wanted to stop the action and take a photograph because of the artful way that Anderson had arranged her actors. Whether it was the banquet scene with its Renaissance symmetry or the synchronous movements of the witches, Anderson created visually appealing scenes that easily grabbed my attention. I also appreciated the way that Anderson added ritual to the play, especially when Lady Macbeth called upon demons to “unsex” her or when Macbeth asked demons to strengthen him. Finally, Anderson was effective in putting the “horrible imaginings” of Shakespeare’s script on stage, with the murder of Lady Macduff and the appearance of the ghost of Banquo being gruesome yet compelling to see.
At just two hours (not including a 10-minute intermission), this Macbeth is a whirlwind of a production that grabs its audience forcefully and never lets go. Anderson and her virtuoso cast have created a production that displays the consequences of being “sick at heart.” I can, without reservation, recommend this Macbeth to any audience member, whether they are a Shakespeare novice or aficionado. An equally engrossing Macbeth is not going to happen in the near future . . . or so the witches tell me.
– Russell Warne, Utah Theatre Bloggers
- The three witches are often referred to as a collective and this production drives that point home as they often seem to be speaking as a hive mind and finish each other’s words or sentences. Director Melissa Rain Anderson has rooted this production in a heightened awareness of supernatural traditions in Scotland as well as Elizabethan superstitions and the performances of Hollis, Geer and Mugavero are as unearthly as they are riveting.
The more minor characters are most effective in conveying a sense of urgency. There are times when the Porter (Armin Shimerman) lumbers drunkenly to answer a knock on the door or guards banter easily with their lord; these are set as a stark contrast to the scenes in which characters are scrambling down staircases or fleeing up the aisles of the theater. The director’s choice to use several children in the foreground or background of the action conveys innocence or helplessness.
Scenic Designer Apollo Mark Weaver‘s Scottish setting is geared towards a state of decay and imbalance, whether with off-kilter crossbeams or trees that shed their leaves at significant moments and the dais that acts as cauldron, castle court, and conjuring circle is ingeniously used. The lighting design by Michael Pasquini appropriately emphasizes the theme of blood. Costume Designer David Kay Mickelsen provides garb that is elaborate, but era-appropriate, and hints at intentions and allegiances. Music Director Brandon Scott Grayson and Sound Designer/Original Music Composer Lindsay Jones collaborate to heighten tensions, while Fight Director Paul Dennhardt ensures that the tensions are visually riveting.
The Scottish play is running all summer long and is well worth watching soon and often. So screw your courage to the sticking place and join the Utah Shakespeare Festival for an unforgettable night at Dunsinane.
– Jennifer Mustoe, Front Row Reviewers
2020 St. Louis Theatre Circle Award Nominations:
Outstanding Director of a Comedy
Outstanding Production of a Comedy
Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy
Outstanding Set Design in a Play
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy
—St. Louis Theatre Circle
- Rep's 'Play That Goes Wrong' is drop-dead hilarious: Directed by Melissa Rain Anderson ...the show has the mojo of "Saturday Night Live" at its best, combining wit and pratfalls with pinpoint timing ... a spoof of stage whodunits in the Agatha Christie mode (think "The Mousetrap"). But if you're completely unfamiliar with Christie's work, don't worry — you'll laugh anyway. Loudly, repeatedly and helplessly.
– Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
- THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is a Perfect Recipe for Hysterical Disaster: ...it must be noted that it takes great skill and focus for good actors like these to pretend to perform so poorly. It's obvious they are having the time of their lives, even as they are delivering the best worst performance ever. It is impossible to single anyone out, because this ensemble works in such flawless collaboration with one another to create the biggest onstage mess you've likely ever seen. They are all equally as silly, outrageous, and nonsensical, and all prompt repeated out-loud giggles.
...directed by Melissa Rain Anderson...Repertory St. Louis is the first U.S. theatre to self-produce this show outside of New York City, and the only theatre being allowed to self-produce the play while it makes its national tour. It is also the final show of The Rep's 52nd season, and the last show under Steven Woolf's 32-year leadership as Artistic Director.
– Tanya Seale, Broadway World
- The Rep could change their branding line to ‘Live theater so funny you can feel it.’ ...the laugh-out-loud lunacy and non-stop comedy will send you home with a smile on your face.
– Harry Hamm, KMOX
- The expression “hilarity ensues” easily comes to mind when thinking of the Rep’s latest production, The Play That Goes Wrong. ...a wild and wacky show, even if it’s not really about anything other than generating as many laughs as possible, and the Rep’s version boasts an energetic, comedically gifted cast. ...In a show like this in which everything is so chaotic, precision in the staging is essential, and director Melissa Rain Anderson has impressively managed to order the mayhem with energy and style.
– Michelle Kenyon, Snoops Theatre Thoughts
- “The Play That Goes Wrong” Goes Hilariously Right As The Rep’s MainStage Season Comes To A Close. ...the audience is not only entertained, they are treated to non-stop, out loud laughs that just won’t stop. ...Director Melissa Rain Anderson [and fight choreographer Shaun Sheley] has brought slapstick to new heights in providing the main laughs for the evening with falls through windows, knocking down posts so a cantilevered second floor section can trap the “actors” unawares and, as mentioned, even knocking out one of the actresses which leads to an absolutely spectacular scene as actors and stagehands try to get her offstage through a window flat. Timing is everything and it all works beautifully the “The Play That Goes Wrong.”
– Steve Allen, Stage Door St. Louis
- Come Prepared to Laugh at ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ at The Rep. ...I don’t want to give away much of the plot or any of the surprises, but what I can say is that everything you could expect to go wrong does. And I’ve never laughed so much without a break at anything....Believe me when I say that this is one of the funniest shows you will ever see. The multiple layers make the show fascinating from beginning to end, and everyone involved is giving it their all. There’s nothing else quite like The Play That Goes Wrong – and watching a disaster unfold never felt so right.
– Kevin Brackett, Review St. Louis
- The Rep Earns $1.5 Million In Single Ticket Revenue From Its Latest Season
"We saw tremendous enthusiasm from our single ticket buyers this season," said Mark Bernstein, The Rep's managing director.
Three blockbuster productions on the Mainstage helped lead the way, with Evita, A Christmas Story and The Play That Goes Wrong all entering The Rep's top 10 highest-grossing Mainstage productions of all time.
– News Desk, Broadway World