On This Side of the World

BEST BET: ON THIS SIDE OF THE WORLD may play best with immigrant audiences, but the themes of separation, love, and perseverance are relatable even to those who have never set foot outside of their home country. Guided by the skillful direction of Noam Shapiro, the song cycle underscores how each experience is wholly unique, so that each song begins to feel like a love letter to an individual American dream. Audiences won’t be able to stop cheering (when they’re not weeping) for this ambitious underdog of a show.” — Theatre is Easy


“In an era where the topic of immigration is unavoidably loaded with bias and political ideology, ON THIS SIDE OF THE WORLD stays grounded in the humanity of its stories and the poignancy of its messages. Noam Shapiro beautifully helms a six-person company of Asian Americans who all run the emotional gamut required by these stories while handling some deceptively difficult music seemingly with ease. ON THIS SIDE OF THE WORLD is at once delightfully simple and unspeakably complex in what it accomplishes and aspires to. If taste and justice prevail, it should well prove itself to be a seminal work in the ever-developing story of the American musical.” — On Stage Blog


“Directed by Noam Shapiro, Three Hares’ ON THIS SIDE OF THE WORLD explores the transgenerational Filipino immigrant experience in the United States through song — and what songs they are! Each of the show’s 17 numbers is an award-worthy performance in itself. That said, the sum of the show’s parts is no less than extraordinary... ON THIS SIDE OF THE WORLD may be Tiról’s love letter to the Filipino community, but the show’s universal themes will be related to and appreciated by all. You’ll cry, you’ll laugh, you’ll want to sing along." — Lavender After Dark

Little League

BEST BET: While this show asks some tough but familiar questions, Spagnola, with the help of director Noam Shapiro and a fantastic cast, poses them in a new way to inspire mindfulness while not shirking on the entertainment... Shapiro’s work comes across wonderfully in the small theatre. He manages to find variety and innovation directing the actors around a single bench on stage... I wouldn’t mind the addition of a few more scenes, to turn this into a full-length play with intermission. Heck, I’d even want to see it a second time myself. I’ll be a loyal fan for this team.” — Theatre is Easy


"Critics' Pick: Noam Shapiro’s directing performance was a homerun. Shapiro made this piece feel effortlessly natural and authentic. Festivals such as Frigid can be limiting to a production. And yet LITTLE LEAGUE did the impossible. The less is more theory was a major factor of its success. It just worked... LITTLE LEAGUE is one of those shows you know will have a long future. There’s more to this play. This hour long snippet was a perfect way to get a taste of Jack Spagnola’s exquisite writing and Noam Shapiro’s sharp direction. I look forward when I can see this one again.” — Theater in the Now


Festival' Pick: Ordinary people but a remarkable play. LITTLE LEAGUE is a disarmingly funny, tenderly poignant and keenly insightful play about the struggle for authentic connection and the attempt of be honest with yourself and others. It is also filled with some hilarious and astute observations... It may be billed as a comedy but it has a wisdom and gravity underneath the continuous stream of laughs.” — Hi! Drama

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

BEST BET: Lyra Theater’s superbly relevant production of Brecht’s THE RESISTIBLE RISE OF ARTURO UI through the lens of the Trump Campaign is a cautionary warning against the evil clown... The company has inherited the play’s legacy, showing its relevance and making the piece an important theatrical examination of morality. It is a true testament to what theatre-makers can, and should, do... Director Noam Shapiro makes excellent choices to illuminate the complex story. The eight-person ensemble portrays over forty characters with astonishing clarity... a wildly entertaining production that does the Brecht classic proud. It is superbly original and immediate, and exactly the right way to tackle the societal issues we all face today.” — Theatre is Easy


“I love it when new companies invite sprawling, rarely produced texts into their season. I like it even more when they do it brilliantly, with dead-on spoofs, like Lyra Theater Company and its production of Brecht’s THE RESISTIBLE RISE OF ARTURO UI. This production is off off-Broadway at its best... The staging by director Noam Shapiro set up a nice flow between the two tables at either end of the traverse stage and in the center for group dynamics. Shapiro worked within a small budget yet remained true to Brecht’s vision, allowing the imaginative and the talented cast room to create." — New York Theatre Wire


"Lyra Theater’s production of a 1941 play written in German with no script modifications but infused with modern touches culled from Mr. Trump’s campaign.... The company sees the Arturo Ui character — a mobster and populist demagogue — as strikingly similar to Mr. Trump and calls its production a warning against the prospect of a Trump presidency... The Trump campaign declined to discuss its role as creative inspiration." — The New York Times

The Laramie Project

‘This play creates a space for dialog,’ says Noam Shapiro, the play’s director. “It holds up many peoples’ perspectives and it allows us to hear them and to make judgments for ourselves and hopefully be affected by their particular point of view. I think with this play, audiences have a capacity to be moved, and when people are moved, there’s a capacity for change.’ The Barnstormers selected the play to kick off their 100th anniversary season this year because they were looking for a story with significant impact. ‘When you choose a play, I think you’re always asking, ‘Why do this play and why do it now?’ says Tori Lyons, the production’s stage manager and dramaturg. ‘And especially on a college campus, you’re looking for lessons that the audience can take away from it. I think it made sense for us because we found the play to be really relevant in 2018.’” — The Johns Hopkins Hub


The play seemed to be one long choreographed dance; the actors moving around the stage, passing off the spotlight and quietly making clever costume changes that differentiated the 60-plus characters the cast of 12 had to play with [Shapiro’s] flawless execution... Shapiro commented on the play’s message and how he wants it to reach those who watch it. ‘One of the main arguments of the play is that hate can happen everywhere,’ Shapiro said. ‘Part of healing is remembering and staying angry and saying this kind of hatred — this kind of violence — is unacceptable. It is who we are as Americans, but it doesn’t have to be. We can become a more perfect union, but it takes some work.’” — The Johns Hopkins News-Letter

Interviews & Features About Political Theater

"I’m interested in nuanced theater that challenges us to confront the xenophobia, racism, sexism, and religious prejudice that run through this country and divide us even more than this administration does. I’m looking for plays and musicals that allow oppressed, marginalized, or underrepresented voices to say, “We are here.” I’m seeking out urgent theater that holds us accountable for our actions, reminds us of our shared humanity, and catalyzes our pursuit of equity and justice. While theater’s capacity to change the world might seem limited, I believe its capacity to change minds is profound. I firmly believe that artists can and should take the lead in shaping our understanding of what it means to be an American during the Trump presidency." The Atlantic


“From re-imagined productions to immersive operas, college musical theatre programs are bursting with students who aren't afraid to push boundaries and think outside the box... with well deserved payoff. Earlier this year, directing student Noam Shapiro was inspired to re-imagine CABARET within the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp located in Czechoslovakia. 'My production aimed to share the relatively untold story of coerced and subversive theatrical performances that emerged from the Shoah, or Holocaust,' Shapiro explained, 'as a strategy for survival, rebellion, and the retention of humanity.'"Playbill


“The presidential election has a way of bringing drama to everyday life... Small wonder, then, that Election Day can imbue certain plays with greater urgency. This year, that certainly rings true for Bertolt Brecht’s 1941 parable, THE RESISTIBLE RISE OF ARTURO UI. Director Noam Shapiro sees the play as far more than an allegory about Hitler. 'The play uses Hitler's rise as a kind of template for the rise of a demagogue writ large,' he says. Ui does indeed engage in demagoguery. He casts himself as the savior of Chicago, the protector who has rid the streets of crime and restored law and order. Since the play takes place in America, Shapiro adds, 'Brecht challenges us to think about a demagogue in our own midst.'"TDF Stages