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AND SOMETIMES YOU GET LUCKY Go to enough holiday shows and you begin to think that making good seasonal theater is impossible, unless you stumble into any of these delightful surprises...Hee-Haw: It’s a Wonderful Li e” is leaving the “f” out of the title of the classic film for a good reason. Mr. Levin takes an inventive look at how things shook out for a secondary character in that film, Sam Wainwright...Turns out not everything ended up so rosily in Bedford Falls. The play has terrific performances, especially by Alexander Borinsky as Sam and Michael Sutherland as George.

~ Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times, Dec. 11th, 2009


[HEE-HAW: It's a Wonderful Li e] is a twisted, bawdy, occasionally outrageous conglomeration inspired by Frank Capra's classic film. It's augmented with old-time radio foley and bright authentic costumes and steered by an excellent cast. You'd be well advised to have some offbeat fun this holiday season and see this production....

Levin blurs the lines between theatre forms and smashes the fourth wall, creating a play within a vaudeville variety show (or is the other way around?)...Levin stays true to the vernacular of the time and the effect is charming. The show bounces from scene to skit to musical number, all the while hosted with a wink by Sam Wainwright himself. It's a strangely balanced presentation with a touch of pathos.

~ Jason Grossman, nytheatre.com, December 4, 2009




“To Paint the Earth” represents something of a rarity in the festival: a serious musical. It stares unblinkingly at abject fear, abject denial … and devastating compromise.

~ Anita Gates, The New York Times, September 30, 2008





The score by Jonathan Portera (music) and Daniel Frederick Levin (book and lyrics) throbs with dramatic urgency, using frequent syncopation. The plaintive melodies of more introspective songs such as "Sewing Song" (beautifully performed by Robin Skye as Mona’s mother) and "Time" convey the high stakes of the lives of these people, but the authors skillfully skirt sentimentality. The interweaving voices and open harmonies of the ensemble numbers have a searing power, and Michael Bush’s spare, functional staging -- making resonant use of wooden chairs -- serves the material admirably.

~ Susan Reiter, Edge, October 1, 2008





In the end, [Museum of Jewish Heritage Director David] Marwell noted, it may take works of art like “To Paint the Earth” to convey the real truth of the Shoah. “The notion that art is an imperfect vehicle for dealing with the Holocaust is false; in some cases, it may be the only way,” he concluded. For Clark University’s [Deborah] Dwork, watching a stage production like “To Paint the Earth” gives us “a window into the strength that each one of us has.” She added that she is “really glad that we are confronted with historical narratives about people, like us, who acted morally in an immoral time. They took the next step; maybe we can too.”

Ted Merwin, The Jewish Week, September 24th, 2008





The New York Musical Theatre Festival (Isaac Robert Hurwitz, Executive Director and Producer) is pleased to announce the first 12 new musicals selected for this year's fifth annual New York Musical Theatre Festival, which will run from September 15 through October 5, 2008.  [...]  The 12 musicals announced today were selected from nearly 400 submissions, and comprise the slate of shows chosen for NYMF's writer-service program, The Next Link Project, which provides professional and dramaturgical assistance to the selected teams as well as subsidies toward their NYMF 2008 production.

~ Broadway World, May 5th, 2008