|For Writing...||For Acting...|
An excerpt from a review on NYTheatre.com of my full-length play, Home of the Great Pecan produced by The Drilling Company --
"Stephen Bittrich's Home of the Great Pecan is the most delightful new comedy I've seen in a long while. Under the expert and simpatico direction of Hamilton Clancy, at The Drilling Company's intimate Upper West Side theatre, Bittrich's play spins an outlandish tale of UFOs and romance in a small Texas town.
At first glance, you might think that Bittrich has gathered all these larger-than-life, dizzyingly archetypal characters merely to trot them out for their own sake. And he'd certainly be giving his audience a grand time if that were all he had in mind, not to mention the delicious romp he's providing for his more than capable cast. But there's more here than surface: every one of the balls Bittrich is juggling at his outrageous act one curtain gets caught neatly by the finale an hour later. No loose ends, no quick saves. And there's even a message or two to take home and savor. I loved spending time with these folks.
I hate to say much more lest I give away some of Bittrich's rich surprises, and it would be terrible if I did that. Let me just say that the thing whips itself up to a frenzy by the climax of Act Two where a kind of surrealism trumps, well, everything you thought you were expecting. Most of the theatre I've seen so far in 2011 has been super-serious, so Home of the Great Pecan, which is loaded with laughs, is particularly welcome right now. Check it out: I think you'll have a good time."
-- Martin Denton, NYTheatre.com, January 22, 2011
An excerpt from a review on the Coachella Valley Independent (CVIndependent.com) of my full-length play, Home of the Great Pecan produced by the Hi-Desert Cultural Center --
"...in the end, that script shines through, thanks to plenty of laugh lines, bizarre predicaments and wild characters. You can learn more about the playwright at www.stephenbittrich.com."
-- Valerie-Jean Hume, CVIndependent.com, July 01, 2013
An excerpt from a review on NYTheatre.com of an evening of one-acts called Security produced by The Drilling Company --
"The most successful works here are the simplest. Brian Dykstra's Bells and Whistles and Stephen Bittrich's The Proposal couldn't be more different story-wise, but both have clear points of view. In the former, Dykstra skewers covert doubletalk as several government agencies try to one-up each other in breaking an enemy code; in the latter, a marriage proposal is extended to a Jane Austen-type heroine who must choose between pragmatic comfort and societal ruin. Both writers have a definite take on the evening's theme-Dykstra posits that national security is handled by ego-driven idiots, while Bittrich puts his protagonist's stability squarely in her own hands-and both plays are done well by their respective directors and casts."
-- Michael Criscuolo, NYTheatre.com, June 16, 2006
An excerpt from NYTheatre.com review of an evening of one-acts called Revenge2 produced by The Drilling Company --
"The funniest new holiday comedy in town right now is-of all places-at the tail end of a bill of short plays called Revenge 2. Entitled Blue Christmas, this giddy romp by Scott Baker is about a department store Santa with a secret, one that I will not give away except to tell you that it's tied in with the cockeyed notion that faking your own death is the best revenge of all. Baker's off-kilter, joyous yuletide tale is populated with an outrageous gay elf named Mistletoe, played to perfection by Mike Dressel; a caustic but grounded store employee named Irene (Alyssa Simon at her deadpan best); a harried store manager (Bill Green); a very pregnant customer who may or not be having Santa's baby (Billie Davis); and, as the unlikeliest of Santas, the delightful Stephen Bittrich. I laughed out loud more times than I could count at Baker's playful jokes....
Stephen Bittrich (the same fellow who wears the Santa suit in Blue Christmas) has written Bee for this collection; it's a fascinating, futuristic thriller about a man who has been summoned for interrogation but doesn't seem to know why. Bittrich plumbs deeply into the idea of revenge, comparing and contrasting it with instinct: does a bee, when it stings, exact revenge or merely fulfill pre-programmed survival mechanisms? Does a murderous, scorned lover? Bee is acted with splendid precision by Karen Tsen Lee and Ron Dreyer (as the interrogator and the interrogated, respectively) under Dan Teachout's direction.
-- by Martin Denton, NYTheatre.com, December 9, 2005
An excerpt from a review on NYTheatre.com of an evening of one-acts entitled Honor produced by The Drilling Company --
"TheDrillingCompaNY is presenting an evening of newly-commissioned plays that explore the meaning of Honor. The seven playwrights cover a lot of ground, reflecting their own inventiveness as well as the unpredictable irregularity of the English language (definitions below are from the American Heritage Dictionary)...
...hon•or, n. a. A code of integrity, dignity, and pride, chiefly among men...
Duty Honor Country is Honor's inevitable war play. Written by Stephen Bittrich, it examines men in combat in general and American soldiers in Iraq in particular. Bobeck is a good ole boy from the American South who joined the army, he says, to avoid jail; he has no illusions about the war's meaning or value and cares little how he treats his newly acquired Iraqi "prisoner" so long as he keeps himself alive. His comrade LaBonne is an African American who says he believes what this war is supposed to be about and holds firm to obeying orders and honoring his Commander-in-Chief. Who's right?-or perhaps the question is: Is anybody right? Their prisoner longs only for peace.
This is a stirring and obviously very timely drama that helps focus some of our thinking about the current Iraqi conflict. Kevin Draine (Bobeck), Clinton Faulkner (LaBonne), and Mousa Kraish (Prisoner) are all terrifically compelling in this piece, which is tautly directed by Edwin Owens.
As compendiums of one-act plays go, this ranks among the finest I've seen; there's much here to both entertain and challenge the audience. TheDrillingCompaNY is to be commended for bringing artists of such integrity and commitment together and to our attention. Give them your eyes and ears."
-- by Martin Denton, NYTheatre.com, June 6, 2004.
|Of DESERT RITES at Theatre Row Theatre in New York --
"All the performances are first rate, but special praise must be doled out to . . . and especially Bittrich who manages to make Billy Ray charismatic and sleazy at the same time."
-- D. Lawrence Lepidus, CHELSEA CLINTON NEWS, 9-30-93
"The acting was very good, especially Bittrich as the wily Billy Ray."
-- Marc Raphael, NY CASTING, 10-19-93
Of DOWN THE ROAD at Walnut Street Studio in Philadelphia:
". . . an utterly fascinating one [performance] from Bittrich, who captures the mix of boy-next-door charm and empty amorality in a subtle construction of evil."
-- Elizabeth Finkler, WELCOMAT, 4-8-92
". . . a bravura performance. . . [that] succeeds in fine-tuning our contempt for the villain of the evening."
-- Nels Nelson, PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 4-2-92
"The chilling, compelling portrait that the playwright, Bittrich and director Alexa Kelly create is the most persuasive facet of the Walnut Studio Theatre production of Blessing's play. Under Kelly's patient direction, Bittrich slowly builds his portrayal. At first the boyish-appearing actor plays Reach as such an ordinary guy that not only is it impossible to believe he's a killer, you fear he is going to be downright boring. Gradually, though, the play shows Reach to be manipulative, calculating, explosively angry and profoundly unfeeling, a character capable of killing and also frighteningly fascinating on stage."
-- Douglas J. Keating - PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER - April 2, 1992
"Stephen Bittrich's Reach is icy cold and genuinely frightening. In that cramped Studio Three the audience can feel some of the tension that face Dan and Iris when interviewing Reach in prison. Bittrich's performance is terrifyingly real."
-- Clark Groome, CHESTNUT HILL LOCAL, 4-9-92
". . . chilling as the killer, that man who has 'a real gift for the 20th century.'"
-- Toby Zinman, PHILADELPHIA CITY PAPER, 4-10-92
Of CANDIDA at Pulse Ensemble Theatre in New York:
"[An] absolutely superlative performance [is] delivered by Stephen Bittrich as Eugene."
-- Brett Schaeffer, NEW YORK CASTING, 2-4-92