Reviews of Productions Directed

“Director Ezra Barnes works skillfully with his
terrific group of actors and his team of designers.

“An amazing production of Dale Wasserman’s play about the mistreatments of Mental Health in the mid twentieth century is waiting for you at Playhouse on Park. Beautifully directed by Ezra Barnes, with an ensemble cast that maintains each character within the whole, the play takes place within a men’s ward in a state-run Psychiatric Hospital somewhere in the Northwest.”

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Playhouse on Park (photo by Rich Wagner)

“As drama, it packs a punch, ratcheting up the stakes until
the consequences become unthinkable.”

“It is loud, a bit ribald and in the end shattering.”

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Playhouse on Park (photo by Rich Wagner)

“We know what happens. Still, The Diary of Anne Frank at Playhouse on Park is a gripping and moving production. With an outstanding cast and taut direction, this is one of the best dramas I’ve seen at the West Hartford theater in years.”

The Diary of Anne Frank
Playhouse on Park
with (l-r) Lisa Bostnar, Frank Van Putten, Allen Lewis Rickman, Isabelle Barbier, Jonathan Messisca

“The audience in the black box space feels to be inside the attic with the families, creating a sense of depth and reality that would be hard to replicate on a large stage. This is brilliantly punctuated during intermission, where the cast continues living their daily lives on stage while the audience leaves for the lobby…Ezra Barnes' vision for the play and direction shines through, bringing to life the tension and even joy that transpired in that small attic in Amsterdam.”

The Diary of Anne Frank
Playhouse iton Park

“The lights go down. A Nazi hate song chills the air and young Isabelle Barbier enters house left looking so much like the real Anne Frank that we think we are seeing a ghost. The stage at Playhouse on Park is set for one of the most gripping productions of The Diary of Anne Frank you'll ever see,
as directed by Ezra Barnes.”

“The production is seamless, the cast is outstanding, the direction is perceptive and deft
…and, well, the evening is riveting.”

The Diary of Anne Frank, Playhouse on Park, with Isabelle Barber

“ was a glowing production.The company's Artistic Director Ezra Barnes skillfully guided his cast through this difficult, controversial drama, keeping the audience mesmerized.”

The Merchant of Venice
Shakespeare on the Sound.
with (l-r) Reese Madigan, Tom Flynn, Yusuf Bulos

“Ezra Barnes, Artistic Director of Shakespeare on the Sound, makes the most of his company’s setting...Barnes has his players popping up in the audience or racing down the grassy slope to the stage. Not only do they bring the Shakespearean classic to life, but they drag the audience into the very proceedings...How well does this Julius Caesar work? Barnes has staged it beautifully, offerring striking images which veer from stark reality to stylized moments, even as the play itself moves between reality and fantasy. In all, Shakespeare on the more than a show. It is an event.”  

Julius Caesar, Shakespeare on the Sound, with Michael Rogers as Julius Caesar

“Today we often approach a play by Shakespeare with almost biblical awe, but for the audiences living during The Bard’s time, he was just another playwright whose work had to compete not only with that of other playwrights but with carnivals, bear-bating and the ever-present allure of the taverns that clustered near the theaters...It was a raucous environment so the comedy had to be broad and bawdy, the gestures larger than life and the emotions worn on the sleeve. This director Ezra Barnes clearly understands, for he has crafted a a production that is so bursting with life the actors cannot be contained on the stage.”

The Comedy of Errors, Shakespeare on the Sound, Evan Zes and Gretchen Hall

“Under Ezra Barnes’ lucid direction, the emphasis is commendably on the Bard’s language. The evening is unadorned and earnest, boasting some excellent performances and overall entertainment quotient that should please the thousands who flock to Rowayton eat, drink, sit on blankets and beach chairs and soak up a bit of culture.”

Nick Ullett, Nichelle Hines, Christina Rouner in As You Like It, Shakespeare on the Sound