work



Stage, 2003-2017, partial list:

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM by William Shakespeare*
In perpetual process after four development productions at three theatres
With Cirque du Soleil veteran performer Karl Baumann

 “The question isn’t whether to see it – it’s whether to see it once, twice, or every time it’s performed..It manages to be both amazingly fresh and true to tradition....In every blissful way, it’s a dream come true."
News & Record (Mizell)

"Even though this production is powerfully muscular, Shakespeare's voice is not neglected. .....Lucky for you this Dream lasts more than one evening."  Enterprise (Roy)
More about the recurring Dream




THE CHRISTIANS by Lucas Hnath
The Playworks Group in association with The Pine Hill Project at Blumenthal Performing Arts

"The revitalized impact of a production like this reminds us how important a professional theatre company can be in the cultural life of a city. Response from the audience during the post-performance talkback confirmed that a satisfying cross-section of people can instantly get what The Christians is saying to us now."
Broadway World (Tannenbaum)   Full review

"Steve Umberger directs a fast-moving production that leaves breathing space for moments of heartbreak." Charlotte Observer (Toppman)   Full review




HATCHETMAN by David Wiltse
People's Light / Philadelphia, and Festival Stage


"Under the sure-handed direction of Steve Umberger, the marvelous ensemble makes the difficult look easy, with its wicked sense of humor and an inventive knack for geometry...It takes office hysteria to the limit...This People's Light production features a spectacular pinpoint-perfect cast...Each member of the cast has sketched his or her character perfectly; the satire is impeccable."  
Montgomery News / Philadelphia (Bevilacqua)    Full review    


Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/entertainment/arts-culture/article174571226.html#storylink=



33 VARIATIONS by Moises Kaufman*  (Best Play Tony Award nominee)
Two year collaboration between Festival Stage and Wake Forest University

"Intellectual prowess, scholarship, and achievement provide no defense against illness and death. These are just a few of the themes that are explored with inventiveness and skill in 33 Variations. The collaboration between Festival Stage and Wake Forest is seamless...It's an unusual and beautiful play, not to be missed."
Winston-Salem Journal (Felder)    Feature    Feature

Two year collaboration coordinated between the professional company Festival Stage and Wake Forest University Theatre, Music, Dance, and the Wake Forest Health ALS Center



OVER THE TAVERN by Tom Dudzick
Riverside Theatre (Florida)

“The first rate cast under Umberger's affectionate direction captures most of the pseudo-angst lurking beneath the surface...Frank Ludwig's set design captures the middle class milieu with its apartment design, decorated for practicality, and a profusion of wallpapers...Bob Croghan's costumes are also period-perfect and full of character-rich touches."   Palm Beach Post (Erstein)

The team of Ludwig, Croghan, lighting designer Todd Wren, and director Steve Umberger have worked together frequently at various theatres.




LUNCH AT THE PICCADILLY by Clyde Edgerton and Mike Craver*  (Premiere)
York Theatre Company, New York (concert); Playworks at Blumenthal Arts;
Cape Fear Regional Theatre (Premiere); Parkway Playhouse; Festival Stage

"The musical doesn't shy away from truths about old folks. It puts us inside their heads with gentle and broad wit and a tougher kind of wisdom."  Observer  (Toppmann)

“The themes about aging and family are universal.…Umberger gets strong, confident characterizations from his veteran cast….A funny and heartfelt hit, worthy of its’ creators’ estimable talents." 
Raleigh News & Observer (Dicks)  
More about Piccadilly



ANITA BRYANT DIED FOR YOUR SINS by Brian Christopher Williams  (Premiere)
Florida Studio Theatre
New play festival & premiere / Playworks workshop for further development / L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award

"This is first class work...Umberger's direction is wonderfully efficient...There's real artistry here, sometimes in the smallest details. The play is beautifully written, astonishingly generous in its depiction of subsidiary characters, funny, unpredictable, and conscious of the larger political world in which the tale unfolds."
Tampa Bay Weekly Planet (Leib)     Feature

"It offers an intriguing perspective on a familiar story, set against the backdrop of a turbulent period in America...."  Variety (Handelman)



SHERLOCK
HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE JERSEY LILY  (Premiere)
by Katie Forgette
People's Light, Philadelphia

"Sherlock fans are in for a treat...Everybody's in disguise, accents and costumes proliferate, mysteries multiply, and Holmes provides Oscar Wilde with some of his best lines...All the Masterpiece Theatre stuff is terrific...All told: delish."
Philadelphia Inquirer (Zinman) 

Having Holmes, Watson, Moriarity, Wilde and Lily Langtry all on stage together helped the play set a record for one-day ticket sales following the opening.



WHAT YOU WILL by Wendy Hammond*
Two year playwright/director commission / BACCA Visiting Artist Program

"Shakespeare's tragedies have been the springboard for many modern dramas...but this is a giddy riff on the Bard's Twelfth Night, amid a gathering that includes a Unitarian, an agnostic, a Muslim, and an atheist...I'm confident we'll be seeing this merry, vital and relevant comedy again." 
Creative Loafing (Tannenbaum)    Feature

Two year commission through Davidson College's Bacca Visiting Artist Program
(Project inspired by a production of Twelfth Night guest directed in the previous year)



KING LEAR by William Shakespeare
Three year project, People's Light (Philadelphia); and N.C. Shakespeare Festival

"If a checklist for good Shakespeare direction exists, Steve Umberger's King Lear at People's Light earns a near-perfect grade."   Philadelphia City Paper (Cofta)   Full review     Feature  

"Simply well done...The design suggests the Shakespearean period but the modern touches remind us that plots and politics are very current topics."  Winston-Salem Journal (Felder)

"A transcendent Lear...The cast is almost entirely without flaw."  Montgomery Media / Philadelphia (Foti)




THE TEMPEST by William Shakespeare / Jean Sibelius
N.C. Shakespeare Festival and Charlotte Rep (Theatre and symphony collaboration)

"The sumptuous production is a fantastic amalgam of light, dance, and live symphony music...From atop a cunning yet minimal set, a majestic Prospero commands an uncanny 12 person Ariel, whose delightful choreography makes the spirit seem literally everywhere at once."
Backstage NY  (Woods)

Two part project, first with Charlotte Rep and Charlotte Symphony; complete text / score; three year collaboration also with Oratorio Singers and members of N.C. Dance Theatre



CABARET
by John Kander, Fred Ebb, Joe Masteroff

"Umberger and his ingenious production team frame Cliff's fall from innocence as a series of vignettes no less striking than archival photographs of the period...The concept informs everything about this thoughtfully conceived, beautifully executed revival...Not only do the fluid transitions help keep the show moving, they show us how an entire nation's perception of fantasy and reality can become blurred."
Charlotte Observer (Coppens)



ROMEO AND JULIET by William Shakespeare
N.C. Shakespeare Festival


"Timeless and timely...The cast reflects the world we live in today, with a full spectrum of age and culture."  
Enterprise    Playbill advance

The production's design staff and consultants included reps from five area universities: University of NC School of the Arts, High Point University, University of NC Greensboro, Wake Forest University, and Winston-Salem State University, working with the NCSF team.




THE GOAT, OR WHO IS SYLVIA? by Edward Albee   (Pulitzer Prize / Tony Award Best Play)
Florida Studio Theatre

"If The Goat stimulates all these thoughts /about societal norms/ it's because the production is first-class in every particular...Umberger's direction underlines the strong emotions of all four characters, and Marcella Beckwith's set, of an upscale living room, couldn't be more felicitous...This is a play with little action but the production keeps us riveted all the way." 
Weekly Planet (Leib)    Full review       Feature

Produced to open FST's third theatre space and Stage lll series.

* Also Producer or Co-producer
                       
Projects were developed over time in readings, workshops and productions with creative teams including Bob Croghan, Eric Winkenwerder, Fred Story, Rick Fitts, Todd Wren, James Pyne Jr., Marla Jurglanis, Dennis Parichy, Rob Eastman-Mullins, Mary Wayne-Thomas, Jonathan Christman, Frank Ludwig, Marcella Beckwith, Matthew E. Adelson, Michael Laswell, Christopher Collucci, Joe Gardner, Mark Pirolo, Jennifer O'Kelly, Jessica Holcombe and Tim Kottyan. (Credits in slideshow)

Scroll the slideshow below for more information (i)
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Photo credits        About companies


Images:  ©  Donna Bise, Mitchell Kearney, Nyghtfalcon, Tom Terrell, Bobby Moody, Norris Greenlee, Mark Garvin, Bill Giduz
Top photo: Karl Baumann, Kate MacCluggage and company in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Photo: House of Nyghtfalcon)