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.” — Theater 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.” — Theater 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 call[s] their productions warnings against the prospect of a Trump presidency... The Trump campaign declined to discuss its role as creative inspiration." — The New York Times

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