UNANIMOUS VERDICT IN FAVOR OF “TWELVE ANGRY JURORS”

The cast of every show is also faced with responsibility, too, and a recent audience of “Twelve Angry Jurors” handed down a unanimous verdict: a much deserved standing ovation for the play smartly directed by Susan K. Berkompas… When you add up all the facts, there is no argument. Missing “Twelve Angry Jurors” at the Lyceum Theater in Costa Mesa would be a crime.

- Jill Fales, Village Voice, November 3, 2009

Twelve Angry Jurors

“Director Susan Berkompas’ superior Vanguard production crackles with the immediacy of today. “12 Angry Jurors” is first and foremost an ensemble piece, and Vanguard’s dedicated dozen do their utmost to gradually — and repeatedly — raise the tension level to the boiling point. Fifty-five years after television audiences first witnesses it, and no matter how familiar the characters have become, “12 Angry Jurors” is a gripping emotional experience, splendidly reenacted at Vanguard University.”

-Daily Pilot, October 29, 2009

Guys and Dolls

“Those “Guys and Dolls” from the creative minds of writers Abe Burrows and Jo Swerling, and composer Frank Loesser are back again, this time settling in at Vanguard University, where two magnificent voices, a strong orchestra and some terrific choreography turn this overly familiar show into a glittering package of entertainment.
Director Vanda Eggington’s large cast becomes a smooth ensemble and scenic transitions are swiftly accomplished. “Guys and Dolls” is definitely an oldie, but with the infusion of comedic energy present at Vanguard University, it’s still a goodie.”

-Daily Pilot, April 8, 2009

Godspell

“Vanguard University has weighed in with a highly energetic as well as a particularly visceral version. “Godspell,” as most theatergoers have long been aware, is an updated version of the New Testament, in which the life and teachings of Jesus are retold in more modern terms. Director Vanda Eggington has further updated the show from its original ’70s format to the 21st century and added a number of contemporary lines.Yes, “Godspell” has been around the block a few times locally, but Vanguard’s up-to-date production displays how this rock-gospel musical can be evergreen, requiring only the sheer creativity of each director and cast to reflect relevance for a new generation.”

-Daily Pilot, September 24, 2008

Thoroughly Modern Millie

“Director Vanda Eggington and her choreographers, Cambria Holford and Stephany Parker, have fashioned a bright, breezy show with high stepping and low comedy. Ensemble numbers such as “The Nutty Cracker Suite” and “Forget About the Boy” reflect the energetic attention to detail that governs the entire production. “Thoroughly Modern Millie” is a show that’s not been seen too much locally, at Vanguard University, performers like Peltz, Prado and Johnston demonstrate the heights attainable to the most lightweight fare.”

-Daily Pilot, April 2, 2008

The Crucible

Vanguard University and esteemed director Susan K. Berkompas have taken this explosive drama and rendered a passionate revival. Ensemble excellence prevails, topped by individual triumphs. The real tragedy of Vanguard’s “The Crucible” is that this estimable production is on stage for only one more weekend in the Lyceum Theater. Such an artistic achievement deserves a much longer engagement.

-Daily Pilot, February 27, 2008

It’s a Wonderful Life

“Vanguard regularly astonishes with its talent for squeezing large-cast shows onto the limited dimensions of the Lyceum Theater stage, and this one is no exception…heartwarming and infectious.”

-Daily Pilot , Feb 5, 2008

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

“If any performing group is well-versed in the art of presenting big musicals on small stages without losing any dimension other than size, it’s Costa Mesa’s Vanguard University. Directed by Amick Byram, one of the tastiest treats in the “oldies but goodies” file … a bouncy, tuneful and highly satiric piece of musical theater that you’ll enjoy — without even trying.”

-Daily Pilot, April 5, 2007

“Business’ is very good at Vanguard … Each musical number was a treat, with harmonious vocals and on-point dance moves. The entire cast excelled.”

-The Current – West, April 13, 2007

Glass Menagerie and For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls

“Susan K. Berkompas … has fashioned a superbly moving revival in her seamless 90-minute cutting of the original Williams drama. It’s not often that theatrical greatness and stinging satire can coexist on one stage, but Vanguard has accomplished this feat with its unique double bill, presented as both homage and satire.”

-Daily Pilot, March 1, 2007

Othello

“If you’ve never witnessed Shakespeare’s “Othello,” the Vanguard production is the one by which to measure future local incarnations. It is college theater at its most majestic.

Of all the tragedies in the Shakespearean canon, none is more visceral, more gut-wrenching than “Othello.” This is particularly true when a collegiate producing group pours all of its resources into the production. This all leads to the sort of magnificent interpretation now on stage at Costa Mesa’s Vanguard University— here updated to modern dress with riveting effect by director Susan Berkompas.”

-Daily Pilot, December 7, 2006

“Vanguard University’s brilliant staging of “Othello” proved to be the top production among local college drama departments. Directed by Susan Berkompas, it offered a searing, modern-dress rendition of the age-old story of the tragic effects of jealousy.”

-Daily Pilot, December 29, 2006