Present Laughter

by Noël Coward • produced on Broadway

3 Tony Award nominations including Best Revival of a Play
Drama League Award nominations for Outstanding Revival of a Play and Distinguished Performance for Kevin Kline
Drama Desk nominations for Outstanding Actor in a Play, Outstanding Costumes, and Outstanding Wig and Hair
Outer Critics Circle nominations for Outstanding Actor in a Play, Outstanding Costume Design

CRITICS PICK!
"Playing an aging matinee idol in the bouncy new revival of Noël Cowards Present Laughter, Mr. Kline blissfully plies the witty athleticism and derring-do that won him two Tony Awards and an Oscar. The combination of artifice and rue, of elegant ham and fretful heart, is the essence of Coward... Pulling off a great Coward, with its filigree contradictions, is a rare accomplishment!"

"Not only is Mr. Klines performance a triumph, but this revival, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, is the best staging of a Coward play—any Coward play—that Ive ever seen. Essendine is played for truth, not as a caricature, which simultaneously makes him more interesting and—yes—even funnier. Mr. Von Stuelpnagels 2015 Broadway staging of Hand to God proved him to be a master of stage comedy, physical and otherwise. Nevertheless, its really something to see how he puts Mr. Kline and the supporting cast through their comic paces. Even the smallest gestures hit their targets. And by having his actors underplay the first half of the show slightly, Mr. Von Stuelpnagel heightens the payoff of the second half, in which Coward turns what starts out as a witty drawing-room comedy into a four-door farce. By evenings end, the laughter is loud, continuous and entirely well-deserved. No matter what mood youre in when you arrive at the St. James Theatre, youll go home grinning with delight."

"Ive just learned what it takes to create an absolutely splendid revival of Noël Coward’s Present Laughter: Step 1: Cast Kevin Kline; Step 2: Hire a director whose name sounds like a punch line Coward might have considered—Moritz von Stuelpnagel. But not any Moritz will do. Find the one who helmed the equally hilarious but tonally rather different demon-possessed–sock-puppet satire Hand to God. There are further details (inviting design, surrounding Kline with a smashing cast), but the simple act of handing Americas greatest exemplar of comic suavity a role he was born to play is half the battle. Stuelpnagels assured, charged staging serves the play and characters in a way the Roundabouts abysmal 2010 production at the American Airlines Theatre did not."

"At the risk of joining the critics crew who toss out the adjective ”magnificent” far too frequently, Im going to say that in Moritz von Stuelpnagels revival of Noel Cowards very autobiographical Present Laughter, Kevin Kline is magnificent. Is there an encomium that tops “magnificent”? If so, Kline is that, too. And more… A production nipping at the clicking heels of perfection. It has been said of Noel Coward that he was “industry in cap and bells.” With this Present Laughter, those bells are ringing with the gleeful persistence of Big Bens.”

"Talk about a match made in heaven. Kevin Kline was born to do Noel Coward, and his casting as Garry Essendine, the 1930s stage star and aging playboy at the center of his own eternal melodrama in Present Laughter, yields a performance of unimpeachable skill, made all the more delectable by its lightness of touch… Stuelpnagel steadily ups the tempo throughout, orchestrating a giddy circus by the time all the conflicts have come to light. But once the mayhem dies down, and Garry momentarily extricates himself from entanglements, finally getting the peaceful respite he claims to desire, the director and Kline allow those late scenes to breathe beautifully, finding the poignancy in his inability to be alone. Its a pleasure to see old-fashioned entertainment like this done with such style."

"But theres more up the sleeves of his silk dressing gowns than just funny facial expressions. Kline finds a surprising depth in the role, too, one that perhaps Coward only hints at. The reason this Garry thrives so heavily on sex is because hes so afraid of getting old, losing his appeal, and becoming obsolete. When Kline obsessively stares at himself in the mirror (over and over and over), Garry is looking past the handsome face and more at the thinning hair and age lines. Its a fascinating take, one that gives the proceedings a little bit of gravity it wouldnt ordinarily have… the show reaches its apex in pretty delightful ways."

"Kline relishes the comic challenge in this snazzy production directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel. Director von Stuelpnagel, who flashed his flair for comedy in Hand to God, has assembled a cast of reliable pros who know the drill so well they could pace it out in their sleep. Garrys disarming admissions of frailty — his fear of growing old, of losing his magnetic appeal, of being alone and unwanted — run like a rushing underground river beneath the farcical fun."

"Kevin Kline preens to perfection. Under the smart direction of Moritz von Stuelpnagel the production is in fine feather."

"Moritz von Stuelpnagels revival is fleet, funny, deliciously cast and over the top when it should be.”

"Directed with classy restraint by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Kline holds back his virtuosic physical comedy until near the end, when his quick, startling feats made me want to rewind and watch them all over again. In fact, this is a revival that, despite a cast of farce experts, treats the broad moments as rare offhand treats that flash suddenly on characters as momentary glimpses into humanitys silliness. This production has one absolutely critical element for Coward. Style."

"An unruly cast of stylish denizens has arrived at the St. James Theatre just in time to relieve the torpor of all of us currently afflicted by, well, almost everything, and offer the New York spring season a comic confection whose ability to delight and distract never falters. Staged by the talented Moritz von Stuelpnagel, who was Tony nominated for the surreally brilliant Hand To God, attention is paid here, as it was there, to anchoring the farcical frivolity in a way that allows us to believe that real things are happening to real people in real situations, though Cowards sleight of hand is such that we are meant never to be sure who is being sincere about anything or even whether they know themselves! But we believe that they are attempting to solve the challenges of being in lust, in love or perhaps more importantly in friendship as best they can. Stuelpnagel deploys his ensemble throughout this clockwork comedy to excellent effect. Present Laughter sends us from the theater warmed and cheered."

"Kevin Kline leads a terrific cast. Tedra Millan helps get director Moritz von Stuelpnagels sharply played and energetic production off to a strong start. The moments of Kline and Burton together represent the productions peak of civilized high comedy. While this is an ensemble play with plenty of richly drawn characters, Kline is the colorful centerpiece, with the star delivering droll John Barrymore-like hamminess to cover his desperate fear of becoming obsolete."

"Noel Cowards sublime comedy of manners is as delightful, delicious, and "delovely" as ever. Kevin Klines turn, and he is delivering a tour de force, calling upon all of his skills, both comic and tragic. When he speaks, its a soliloquy, brilliantly timed for maximum comic effect. Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel does exceptional work with his ensemble, maximizing the manic comedy while allowing his leads to rise above type. There is humanity among these crazy characters and far more depth than youd expect."

"More than the previous two Broadway revivals, one with Victor Garber in 2010 and one with Frank Langella in 1996, the production that opens tonight at the St. James, starring Kevin Kline, takes seriously the mess that radiates from Garrys narcissism, and with that seriousness refuels the hilarity of the farce that overlays it. In the hands of Kline and a vividly intelligent supporting cast, its a great and frank and still modern comedy. The scene in which he finally calls out the sexual subterfuges of his comrades — and definitively rids himself of his own extraneous women — successfully counterweights the plays many trivialities. Most of the rest of the cast, under the direction of Moritz von Stuelpnagel, seems to have got the same memo: Play the problems, not the jokes."

Hand to God

by Robert Askins • produced on Broadway

5 Tony Award nominations, including Best Play and Best Director
2 Drama League nominations, including Outstanding Production of a Play
Top 10 of 2015, Wall Street Journal
Top 10 of 2015, Forbes
Top 10 of 2015, NJ.com
Top 10 of 2015, AMNY

CRITIC’S PICK! “Darkly delightful... inspires goose bumps... flat-out hilarious... Mr. Askins black comedy about the divided human soul, stands out as a misfit both merry and scary... explosively funny... a true tour de force... under the finely honed direction of Moritz von Stuelpnagel... You can enjoy “Hand to God” merely as a festival of filthy hilarity, but as I watched the play for the third time, I found myself peering more closely into its psychological depths, and finding in it a weird mirror of our unsettling times.”

“Takes you by surprise over and over again... It is, at first blush, a raucously foul-mouthed little farce... But scratch the surface and youll find a dead-serious black comedy... Moritz von Stuelpnagel has directed “Hand to God” with ultra-precise comic aplomb. Every joke explodes at the right split-millisecond... staggeringly funny and promising without limit!”

CRITIC’S PICK! FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS! “Praise be to the angels! The freshest and funniest Broadway comedy in years, a welcome breath of foul air... Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, the production maintains a fine balance of satire and humanity... You may even feel a little exorcised. It entertains the devil out of you.”

CRITICS PICK! “The best play of the season... expertly directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel... Unerring perfection! The truth is, that the Hand to God assault on religion as irrevocable healer both tickles the ribs and gives them a powerful punch. ”

“Everyone will laugh their heads off for Hand to God, the funniest new play on Broadway... The entire cast lend their characters an authenticity, which clashes nicely with the surreality of a satanic puppet... Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel leans into the stealthy duality in Askins script to hilarious result... A truly enjoyable night out with an adult comedy the likes of which exists nowhere else on Broadway.”

“Gleefully subversive and downright audacious... director Moritz von Stuelpnagels aggressively punk production comes off even stronger now and its exciting to see such a "downtown" show transfer to the Main Stem so smoothly... Though uproariously funny at times, the serious-minded production will have the more squeamish playgoers averting their eyes at the bloody and desperate climax”

“Has audiences howling... Robert Askins furiously funny comedy... choreographed with wonderful abandon by helmer Stuelpnagel... is as touching as it is screamingly funny!”

“So ridiculously raunchy, irreverent and funny its bound to leave you sore from laughing... It cant be outdone — and shouldnt be missed! All involved deserve a big hand!”

“A dark, irreverent and smart comedy... makes Broadway a more exciting place... Yet despite how silly it gets, "Hand to God" is also a seriously disturbing portrait of an emotionally scarred mother and son who have spent so long suppressing their rage that it comes out in unpredictable and inappropriate ways.”

“Moritz von Stuelpnagel directs with a flair for allowing the plays little absurdities to reveal themselves naturally and a skill with onstage physicality, which involves some S&M, an ear lobe removal and a bloody finale with a hammer.”

"Ribald and wickedly funny... Every scene builds to a comic boil, each one crossing some line of good taste we didnt know existed in puppet behavior. Much of the exhilaration in Moritz von Stuelpnagels production comes from Boyers brilliantly schizoid performance"

“Arresting, funny and thoroughly disconcerting... highly original and laudably fearless and politically incorrect piece... directed with real punch by Moritz von Stuelpnagel... Stuelpnagels cast certainly goes everywhere this piece asks it to go, but the actors also convey a sense of ordinary folks struggling with the chaos that life can suddenly inflict on us all, whether its in the form of troubled teenagers or bereavement or unfulfilled desire. That compassion is what takes "Hand to God" beyond the usual condescension you find on Broadway toward Texans or people of faith in general... The crises here are vivid and disturbing enough to make "Hand to God" a truly unsettling experience”

“There are many reasons to celebrate the arrival on Broadway of Robert Askins Hand To God. It wraps its seriousness in a veneer of XXX-rated irreverence. I dont know which I want to do more: Sing Hallelujah — or wash its dirty little mouth out with soap. Its sexy in ways that veer from frat-boy to sophisticated. Its blasphemous in word but its moral code is ferociously Old Testament... long may it run! Much credit must also go to director Moritz von Stuelpnagel for finding grace notes of subtlety in an unsubtle work, making Hand To God more than just a raunchy joke.”

“A gleefully heathen comedy... scabrously funny that steadily darkens into suspense and Grand Guignol horror... The show also brings a welcome breath of fresh air via a director, Moritz von Stuelpnagel, new to the commercial theater mainstream... Director von Stuelpnagel and his terrific cast tackle this darkly funny material with a shrewd balance of heightened reality, warped sitcom and underlying pathos, landing all the jokes while never denying the genuine sorrow and anger driving both Jason and Margery to such erratic behavior... The five actors couldnt be better.”

“A bracingly modern look at the nature of faith... “Hand to God” will floor you... leaves audiences gasping for breath... well-staged theatrical magic!”

CRITICS PICK! “Funny as hell! Staged with unflagging energy by Moritz von Stuelpnagel... Underneath the wildness is a scalpel-sharp show about the ways people cope with their troubles... hilarious and scary!”

"A savage, often hilarious, and profoundly irreligious satire... At the seeming end, a sort of glooming peace is achieved."

CRITICS PICK! "Broadways unlikeliest new must-see play... intelligent, blood-dark comedy — disturbing as often as it is funny, vile as often as it is violent, and, to my mind, better for both... as the dark comedy more nearly approaches its darkness in Act Two, with the consequences of human outrageousness brought to the foreground, the tale becomes more emotional, and at times even heartbreaking. It’s a credit to the director, Moritz von Stuelpnagel, that this shift is accomplished without the accompanying sound of grinding gears."

CRITICS PICK! "An outrageous black comedy... this marvelously unsettling play has more to offer than just raunch. If you read between the plays wonderfully frazzled lines, it becomes rather intense study of demonic influence and addiction... The whole cast is tremendously game under Moritz von Stuelpnagels direction... dont be surprised if some of the shows many laughs catch in your throat!"

"Under the direction again of Moritz von Stuelpnagel, "Hand to God" seemed to me better than it was off-Broadway — faster, rowdier and more assured... A very clever, extremely entertaining show."

"A rare truly communal dramatic experience, with the power to make an audience collectively shake with laughter, gasp in shock and rise to a giddy ovation... the gleefully profane piece has already proven itself as a hit, and it lives up to its reputation... Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel with a pitch-perfect knack for balancing over-the-top comedy with sincerity... brilliantly conceived and executed... carefully calibrated and thoughtful, making heartfelt points about morality and responsibility without settling for the sentimental ending it could... a delirious pleasure to watch!"

"Once you have wiped away the tears of laughter, images and concepts remain with you... a state-of-society satire with real bite in more than one of its tales... outrageously funny... Stuelpnagel directs with clarity and toxic verve... This is a major new work... prepare for one of the best new American plays in many a Broadway season."

"Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel scales up the production from its downtown digs, keeping the action moving swiftly around its rotating set and amping up the laughs for a larger crowd, while also firmly grounding the plays human (non-puppet) drama."

"Seriously funny and funnily serious! Sinister and shocking, this is not for the faint of heart!"

Important Hats of the Twentieth Century

by Nick Jones • produced by Manhattan Theatre Club

Top 10 of 2015, Wall Street Journal
Top 10 of 2015, Hypable

"The production has style to spare... directed with pedal-to-the-floor intensity! Inventive and stylish! The cast members fling themselves into the dizzy frolics with terrific verve!"

"Under the firm hand of director Moritz von Stuelpnagel... Important Hats has a daffy charm, and the actors are winning.”

"Very, very funny! The staging is masterful in its breathlessly paced, controlled chaos!"

"A playful, tongue-in-cheek comedy... Under Moritz von Stuelpnagels effectively whirlwind direction"

"One of the most delightfully original comedies to show up in these parts for far too long a stretch... an effervescent party favor... Just call this an outstanding ensemble, and bow low to director Moritz von Stuelpnagel for seeing that they are outstanding. Look forward to whatever he does next and after that and after that!"

Verité

by Nick Jones • produced by Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3

“A comedy-drama that bleeds into dark fantasy... consistently funny... Stuelpnagel directs with a good feel for the script’s mixed textures”

“An ominous satire... Verité keeps you guessing and second-guessing... suspenseful and enjoyable!”

"This dark fantastical comedy wittily explores the lengths to which writers are willing to go to achieve success... supported by the terrific ensemble... hilarious... comically creepy."

"A mix of satire and psychodrama... the cast is full of sturdy comic actors... Verité is art-imitating life confection."

Bike America (NYC)

by Mike Lew • produced by Ma-Yi Theater & Ensemble Studio Theatre

"Directed with inventive physicality and humor by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, the cleverly designed production makes entertaining grist of Penny’s spiky interplay with the other cyclists... The affable cast keeps all this engaging in a goofy cartoon way"

"Easily one of the better new plays I’ve seen in a long time... Unfolds into a deeper meditation on commitment and love, tourism, the brevity of life, and finding an identity in the act of acknowledging one’s responsibility to others... Lew’s largely realistic script is full of verve, and the production is expertly brought off by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, who taps into the play’s lighthearted comedy and its more perplexed somberness."

"A darkly humorous take on the cross-country-self-discovery journey... A refreshing and intelligent exploration of millennial malaise and its itchy place within the American generational drama... Adroitly captures the cross-country genre in its own uniquely cartoonish way... Deftly walks the line between ridiculous and deadly serious... Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel hits all the comic beats in Lews script, keeping the play zooming along like a well-oiled huffy."

"Very funny... Perkily sexy... Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel keeps things moving at an enjoyably fast pace!"

"Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel’s fun direction keeps the energy moving forward. His ingenious staging is a breath of fresh air for the American theatre stage, bringing to life the hectic, dangerous and often inspirational bike sojourn of which these characters are a part."

"Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel does genius work creating this colorful world of big personalities. Many of the scenes take place on the open road with the characters on bikes; Stuelpnagel finds a brilliant solution to keep the action fluid and consistently interesting. His reputation for directing seemingly impossible projects is proven once again with Bike America. And his creativity enables a super savvy production."

"The multi-ethnic cast is just perfect. Under Moritz von Stuelpnagel’s brilliant direction, the cast effectively portrays one twenty-something’s journey to discovery, a discovery that although redemptive is sacrificial... A remarkable gift!"

"BIKE AMERICA directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel is a refreshing and kick-ass play about finding oneself as a 20-something... By the play’s end, understatement prevails with von Stuelpnagel’s moderated and sensible guidance. "

"This dark comedy, sprightly directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, is a creatively funny way to find meaning in life."

"Awe inspired direction... From the moment the play starts the momentum was tremendous... Electric story-telling"

"My fellow Americans, it’s time to join the ride with BIKE AMERICA!.. The comedic bedlam turns this world premiere into a one-of-a-kind theatrical adventure... It’s a play you do not want to miss!"

"There are some shows that just entertain you for a few hours, then release you and let you go about your life again as usual. Then there are others stick with you, whether because of their comedic timing, dramatic tension, or tragic elements, like gum on your shoe—or bike wheels. This is undoubtedly the case for BIKE AMERICA... Fresh and entertaining!"

Trevor

by Nick Jones • Produced by Lesser America

Top 10 of 2013, Frontier Psychiatrist
Honorable Mention for Best of 2013, Time Out New York

CRITICS PICK!

"What makes this taut play so impressive is not that it makes us understand and even like a dangerous ape, but that it does so while imagining him as an obnoxious jerk… Staged by Moritz von Stuelpnagel with a deadpan naturalism, the laughs (and there are many) have an edge."

"Under Moritz von Stuelpnagel’s restrained direction, the brilliant Steve Boyer gives Trevor a mix of endearing goofiness and pent-up frustration that can quickly bloom into full-on rage."

"Sublime tragicomedy… Sweet, clever and weirdly touching… Trevor’s absurdist admixture of showbiz satire and real-life poignancy is continually delightful and resonant… von Stuelpnagel explores this disparity with unassuming aplomb… Funny though it is, Trevor is good for much more than a laugh."

"Trevor shows these self-loathing struggles, successfully touching on the goofy and poignant moments they bring… This contrast is heightened, creating an underlying uneasiness."

"A clever, subversive comedy... There are plenty of gifts to be found in Trevor, lovingly nourished by director Moritz von Stuelpnagel... A layered production... Stuelpnagel is a perfect match for Jones’ voice, which sometimes plants tongue in cheek but still finds a way to home in on universal concerns. A streamlined show, Trevor toes the line between mordant humor and self-seriousness with aplomb."

"A bracing dark comedy. Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel has shaped this wild play with a steady hand, and clearly created a strong structure for his fine ensemble."

Love Song of the Albanian Sous Chef

by Robert Askins • Produced by Ensemble Studio Theatre

"This well-orchestrated six-course feast provides the most pleasing tastes!"

"Confident in its trickiness. A nasty-hearted fable!"

Turnabout

by Daniel Reitz • Produced by Ensemble Studio Theatre.

"A pungent comedy, particularly in von Stuelpnagel’s understated direction. A thoughtful — and hysterical — meditation on gay identity and self-awareness."

"Turnabout keeps the momentum going with an unexpected turn of its own. Ridiculous, revealing and terrific!"

"The pleasures arrive courtesy of Turnabout. Wickedly amusing and beautifully acted! Deliciously comic!"

"Hilarious and poignant… Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel skillfully maneuvers his excellent cast through the complex shoals."

"Edgy enough to set you thinking. It contains subtle shifts in power with dimension, range and nuance. Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel understands the importance of timing!"

Mel & El: Show & Tell

by Mel, El, and Patrick Spencer Bodd • Produced by Ars Nova.

"The outrageous routines of Mel & El bring down the house! Moritz von Stuelpnagel, the musical’s director, finds the material’s best moments."

"Sparkling under Moritz von Stuelpnagel’s skillful direction! We haven’t had so much fun since seventh-grade sleepovers."

"Mel and El happily cross the line into tastelessness, much to the delight of their fans. Mel and El seem ready for prime time!"

As You Like It (all-male)

by William Shakespeare • Produced by poortom productions.

NYIT Award winner for performance, Joe Plummer.

"Moritz von Stuelpnagel is a fine shaper of Shakespeare, staging the work with a becoming simplicity and leading the cast into a quietly confident, comfortable playing style."

"The clever staging choices… make the whole production feel homey, almost participatory. As old as the play is, in poortom’s hands it’s new, and it’s easy to feel proud of them when it succeeds."

"Most productions get bogged down in the prestige and reputation of the Bard, and end up with stuffy plays that would only appeal to English professors. Production company poortom, in its way, has put on one of the most respectful Shakespearean adaptations in recent memory — they aim to entertain."

Melo-Llama: A Melodrama

by Sarah Steele • Produced by FringeNYC.

"Melo-Llama: A Melodrama is the fun kind of postmodernism… Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel deftly controls all the comic chaos. Though Melo-Llama frequently cuts between styles, locales, and genres, von Stuelpnagel manages to create a unified production. Through the maze of plays within plays and several Michael Bennett-on-crack dance sequences, the director never loses sight of the story, absurd as it may be. Watching Melo-Llama is like revisiting the Saturday morning cartoons of one’s childhood."

"Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel has concocted 70 minutes of hilarity that should be on everyone’s viewing list at this year’s FringeNYC! Stuelpnagel has crafted this ensemble performance in a unified style (thank you!) that is, appropriately, heightened melodrama with a comic edge."

Susan Gets Some Play

by Adam Szymkowicz • Produced by FringeNYC.

"Susan Gets Some Play is a delightful bit of meta-theatre! Director von Stuelpnagel keeps it moving at a quick pace and makes great use of the space."

"Underneath the play’s jokey exterior is a kind, but damaged heart. Moritz von Stuelpnagel does terrific work here, making it seem like the play just happens by itself."

"Susan Gets Some Play is funny, perky, neurotic, witty, sarcastic, and as bubbly and overflowing with fizz as a can of soda you shook too hard… The director has done a super job in keeping the right, light, bright tone and pace in what might become… overly farcical or frantic in another’s hands."

The Roosevelt Cousins Thoroughly Sauced

by Mike Lew • Produced by Ensemble Studio Theatre.

Winner of the Sam French Festival

"The surreally funny The Roosevelt Cousins, Thoroughly Sauced… contains excellent direction from Moritz von Stuelpnagel and great execution from the cast."

Stars in her Eyes

by Clay McLeod Chapman • Produced by Ars Nova & The Brick Theatre.

"Moritz von Stuelpnagel does a brilliant job staging, keeping the eye moving about the stage and yet finding moments to bring it down to a single action or gesture. His opening sequence is an unforgettable attention grabber!"

Too Little Too Late

by Amy Herzog, Sam Forman, and Liz Meriwether • Produced by Lesser America.

Three NYIT Award nominations.

"An extremely entertaining night at the theatre! You should be prepared to laugh a lot. Moritz von Stuelpnagel provides a clear focus. A great production!"