Michael Strassen

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  • This is high octane emotion compressed into Hope Mill’s simmering crucible of a space
    Musical Theatre Review
  • thrilling singing in a rousing Sondheim reboot
    The Guardian
  • Anyone who has a Passion for theatre, needs to watch this masterclass!
  • ...powerful, dramatic and beautifully crafted
  • ... it is given a production of thrilling concentration and devastating power by director Michael Strassen. He has proved himself one of the best directors of chamber musicals we have working in the UK right now, time and again.
    Mark Shenton
  • I’ve seen five different versions - six, if you count the dvd of the original Broadway production- of this darkly intoxicating piece but have never been as gripped or ultimately as moved by it as I was here. Utterly brilliant. Strassen and his world beating team also find the comedy and the heat in a piece that can sometimes come across as cold and lacking in humour. That is emphatically not the case here, where the dramatic stakes feel extraordinarily high, and the show plays out with a rare urgency and white hot intensity. Make no mistake, this is a world class Passion
    Alun Hood
  • Michael Strassen's full-bodied production makes full use of its opportunities to display the unequivocal musical might of its own star power.
  • Directed by Michael Strassen, it was both sensitively and sensibly handled, and his development of characters, which was slow and deliberate, was masterful...With a flawless, faultless cast, they brought about a superb interpretation of this show. A hugely intimate and claustrophobic production, which needed, and demanded, your full attention at all times; it was nuanced, clever, intense, and perfectly measured

    The Funny Girls

  • The Funny Girls looks at the myths and legends that surround Rivers and Streisand and as a play about a war of egos, the story has never been more wonderfully presented
  • Directed by Michael Strassen, the dynamic draws a perfect arch
    London Theatre Reviews

    Falling Stars

  • Hottest front room seats
    The Guardian / Pick of the week
  • ...adoringly arranged and performed by Peter Polycarpou and Sally Ann Triplett ... guaranteed to raise a sigh
    The Daily Mail
  • The performances from both singers are excellent ... delightful production directed by Michael Strassen
  • Michael Strassen’s direction and staging translate effortlessly onto the camera
    London Theatre Reviews
  • Happily a third recent revue — "Falling Stars," — dispenses with overworked intentionality in favor of simple tunefulness and surprise. It does have a frame, though: Only Irving Berlin’s “What’ll I Do?” is a truly ageless standard ... Which is not to say the songs are all silly; befitting material written in the aftermath of World War I and the influenza pandemic of 1918, a vein of melancholy asserts itself, even, by a kind of manic denial, in the high-spirited romps. The effect of uncovering these nearly 100-year-old songs today is thus like shining a flashlight into a cellar.
    The New York Times
  • Immaculate staging by Michael Strassen ... In these days of streamed shows, this one really hits the mark and has a properly theatrical ambience.
    London Living Large

    Godspell 50th Anniversary Concert

  • This virtual concert, thrillingly conceived and directed by Michael Strassen, is a feast of fine songs and fine singing ... in a world desperately praying to discover a brighter future from the ravages of a ruthless pandemic, Godspell’s simple message of hope and faith could not be more timely
    Musical Theatre Review
  • Award-winning director Michael Strassen has done a wonderful job at transferring this beloved musical to the online platform. Each actor and musician is completely self-isolated and brought together by technology. But the production value is so good that this does not take away from the story, and in some ways even aids it.
  • The filming on location is rich and glossy; the opening number – Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord – sung beautifully by Jenny Fitzpatrick, is bright and full of energy. Filmed in a forest, the greens are vibrant and tactile – the leaves still hanging onto summer. While we are in stasis, Nature is in full bloom – it’s a clever metaphor, which Strassen uses to great effect. The concert saves the best for last, with Beautiful City. Sung by Jodie Steele, this song resonates most clearly with our Covid era. The lyrics urge us to move forward, but with our eyes wide open. Steele, on the brink of tears throughout, lets us feel everything with her. It’s an extraordinary moment as Godspell reaches out to us.
  • Conceived and directed by Michael Strassen, if ever there was an illustration of how to make lemonade when life hands you lemons, this 50th anniversary production is it. The pandemic which makes this version necessary is incorporated into the piece and sits so comfortably, it could have always been there
  • it was a joy to be reminded of Godspell’s glorious score put together in an ambitious way by Michael Strassen and his talented team ... had my face aching from smiling ear to ear for a solid hour.

    The Rise & Fall of Little Voice

  • 'Brilliant, brash revival of Jim Cartwright’s play, that doesn’t diminish the darkness underneath...There’s a brilliant contrast between the unceasing, wittering noise of LV’s mother Mari and the spectral LV ... Gillian McCafferty’s performance as Mari is SPECTACULAR'
    The Stage
  • Little Voice at The Barn Theatre is a much darker affair that I remember but all the better for it. Strassen finds the guts of this play and splays them out over the stage...EXCEPTIONAL performance from Gillian McCafferty as Mari. The tart with no heart - broken, alone and loveless.
    Paul Vale
  • The original National Theatre production 26 years ago launched the stellar career of Jane Horrocks; there are good omens here in this OUTSTANDING production
    Musical Theatre Review
  • Filling the shoes of Jane Horrocks comes with a certain expectation that you’ve got something serious to bring to the table, and Sarah Louise Hughes who plays Little Voice, did just that, In an emotional confrontation between Little Voice and her mother, the two characters stripped the stage of glitz, glamour and sparkle and had us wincing as they reveal the loss, sadness and relentless selfishness that ties them together
  • Michael Strassen’s directing does this dark but funny play justice, made possible with a strong cast and an imaginative but practical design from Christina Cammarota...McCafferty gives a towering performance of a character effectively being dismantled, whilst in contrast her daughter eventually begins to find her true ‘voice
    Wilts and Glos' Standard


  • 'The truth is we don't often see the most updated movement of the musical in the world here'
    Wing Hong Li

    The Fix

  • 'striking and intelligent staging ... a bold, dynamic production'
  • 'The production is a qualified success ... fearless performances'
    The Stage
  • 'Dazzlingly directed revival superbly performed'
    Reviews Gate
  • 'Strassen's direction and choreography are a thrilling fusion of sound and vision'
    Jonathan Baz


  • ‘galvanising new production...a vital and edgy contemporary staging...Ashley Birchall, wounded but totally winning in the title role, is a life force!’
    The Stage
  • ‘... it really is the sort of event which renews your faith in the dramatic arts’
    Plays To See
  • ‘there are some potential star performers, notably Ashley Birchall who brings an affecting innocence to the titular hero’
    Daily Express
  • ‘Those expectations were not only met, but like Tommy's mirror they were smashed, in a show that offered an all too rare trinity of perfection in song, movement and music' Tommy is unmissable and up there with the very best of musical theatre on offer in London today. See it, hear it!’
    Jonathan Baz
  • ‘Regardless of how it is characterised, Strassen’s production of Tommy is a genuine triumph, practically perfect in every way. From the first note, it grabs you by the throat, demands that attention be paid, and does not relent in that until Tommy spins the oversized pinball in his hands and a blackout signals the show has ended. Intervals are rarely resented these days, but I freely confess to resenting the interval here. ’

    Duncton Wood

  • ‘a knock-out visual treatment ... brilliantly conceived
  • inspired and inventive ... Michael Strassen’s richly detailed, splendidly cast, and lovingly staged premiere production … beautiful, effulgent and seductive’
  • ‘a tenderly beautiful production by Michael Strassen’
    The Stage

    Lucky Numbers

  • ‘Lucky Numbers is packed full of witty one liners you’ll want to use on your own relatives, as well as a few truly touching moments, which add up to one jackpot of a production that’s not to be missed.’
    The chronicle, Tyneside

    Pacific Overtures

  • ‘You need real balls to do this peculiar musical justice and this gutsy production does just that - Strassen’s expressionistic choreography and direction lyrically uses symbolism to strong emotional effect.’
    Time Out
  • ‘Pacific Overtures may just be the most audacious and courageous of all the mould-breaking shows Stephen Sondheim has written, and Michael Strassen’s sombre, shattering staging matches its ambition with a lean, stripped-back intensity...Someone in a Tree is an extremely evocative piece of storytelling and is given layered expression here in a feat of directorial ingenuity that matches the song’s own dramatic brilliance.’
    The Stage
  • ‘...the cast are uniformly superb and are supported by an excellent orchestra under the musical direction of Richard Bates, putting this show amongst the best I have seen this year.'
    British Theatre Guide
  • ‘Michael Strassen's bold interpretation of the complex work again hints at his mastery of the musical...Strassen's vision holds firm and the artistic integrity of his staging is at times breathtaking, with some close harmony work that is sublime’
    Off West End
  • ‘The Union Theatre’s production has ‘classic’ stamped all over it- now surely the best of London’s three - ENO's show was fine, The Donmar’s even better, Union’s the tops.’
    Classical Source

    Season's Greetings

  • ‘... last seen in London at the National Theatre in 2010 in an all-star production that included Catherine Tate and Mark Gatiss. But now, in an altogether more intimate setting and with a lesser known cast, the play feels even more poignant and real...it’s the kind of feat that only Ayckbourn could pull off. Strassen manages to keep that balance in perfect play, and uses the Union’s wide space cleverly to keep the play’s domestic spaces distinct with skilful use of Cameron Biggs’s lighting and an outstanding ensemble cast.’
    The Stage
  • ‘This is a tightly directed show that showcases both the cast and Ayckbourn’s wit…’
    British Theatre Guide
  • ‘Just back from the revival of Ayckbourn's Season's Greetings at the Union Theatre: a dark-hued seasonal play that's Chekhovian in mood & spirit. Director Michael Strassen - whose Union Theatre musicals are unmissable - brings equal weight, integrity & great casting to comedy’
    Mark Shenton


  • ‘Michael Strassen’s feisty, intelligent production...the first act is extraordinary and the second, like Gypsy’s, tapers off into mere brilliance.’
    The Independent
  • ‘...staged here with the kind of integrity and showmanship by Michael Strassen that gives both this show’s loving book (by Dick Clement and Ian la Frenais) and lovely score equal dramatic weight and impact.’
    The Stage
  • ‘Michael Strassen's direction is mesmerising...This revival is hard to fault. The cast are outstanding...Keith Ramsay is absolutely sensational in the title role'’
    West End Frame

    Call Me Madam

  • ‘Michael Strassen's brilliantly-entertaining production ... Lucy Williamson stars as Mrs Adams, and a permanent place on the West End stage is surely just around the corner for the uber-talented singer and actress who charms both her fellow protagonists and the entire audience.’
    The Stage
  • ‘The show is carried by Lucy Williamson who possesses the Merman role as of right, not with too much camp impudence, but with a glorious tonality and just the right mixture of sassy vulgarity and winking, lubricious intent.’

    The Fix

  • ‘Director Wunderkind Michael Strassen brings us this Manchurian Candidate-style musical with outstanding ensemble singing, inventive staging and a gory Mafia-ruled ending...an exemplary production of contemporary musical theatre at its finest.’
    The Stage
  • ‘...a startling, edgy & exhilarating journey into the dark heart of American political life, & feels razor-sharp … exhilaratingly directed by the brilliant Michael Strassen, The Fix is a ferocious & intense musical, staged with authority & originality.’
    Mark Shenton
  • ‘It's also a remarkable example of the power of musical theatre, when staged with this confidence and by actors of such consummate skills, to entertain, educate and enthral. It's not Evita – it's something much darker, much funnier, much better.’
  • ‘...I soon find myself scouring my memory for anything in the genre of political theatre that I have enjoyed more. Suchet in "The Last Confession", perhaps? No, not even that. Director Michael Strassen has delivered a masterpiece in pace, intimacy and economy...’

    The Baker's Wife

  • ‘...but now director Michael Strassen reclaims The Baker's Wife for ever as the affecting miniature masterpiece that has always been lurking inside it. By reducing the scale, Strassen amplifies the emotion, and I was in tears frequently throughout his gorgeously sung, superbly staged production.’
    Mark Shenton
  • ‘The fine cast of 18 attests to the depth and breadth of current British musical talent, and there are two knock-out performances from Michael Matus as the Baker and Ricky Butt as the cafe owner's wife, Denise’
    The Guardian


  • ‘...the best thing about Michael Strassen's feisty, enjoyable revival at the Union is that he's done it as though it just arrived in the post.’
  • ‘Michael Strassen's punchy production replaces flower power with junkie juice...Billy Cullum is a fierce, capricious Jesus, arriving on a motorbike to discharge his parables of lilies in the field and the prodigal son, before being "nailed" to an illuminated cross…’
    The Independent


  • ‘Stephen Sondheim's firebrand musical might lose the irony behind its Broadway tipsiness when scaled down but, in Michael Strassen's distilled staging, it gains all the potency of moonshine. The collective of would-be President killers stands steadfast before us like a picket line. We don't just see the imagery of insurgency, we bear its brunt. To hear them blasting Another National Anthem is like finding an anti-war rally in your living room...on a purgatorial brick-walled bare stage this Assassins scars like an exit-wound.’
    Time Out (Show of the Week/Critics Choice)
  • ‘Now a kind of theatrical magic took hold again in this small, appropriately dank room. A musical about life’s losers was transformed into a thrilling fringe winner by director Michael Strassen’
    Mark Shenton
  • ‘...If Assassins is worth seeing for the crafting of a highly intelligent piece of musical theatre, then this particular production is worth seeing for the brilliance, skill and passion of its cast. Without exception, each actor appears as a force of nature from Glyn Kerslake’s charming take on Southerner John Wilkes Booth through to the insane, show-stopping energy of John Barr’s Charles Guiteau. Alison Larnder and Leigh McDonald are simply mesmerising as Lynette Fromme and Sara Jane Moore joining forces in a failed attempt to assassinate Ford, while Nick Holder is a formidable stage presence as the bullish Samuel Byck. Michael Strassen’s lucid direction maintains the focus, while his simple musical staging colours the ensemble numbers as efficiently as Steve Miller’s sublime lighting design...’
    The Stage


  • ‘This particular production can be judged an unqualified success. Michael Strassen’s terse direction keeps pace with the vicissitudes of this particular Manhattan clique…Strassen has gathered together a highly talented ensemble who evidently find the whole affair a delightful experience judging by the way they embrace each role.’
    The Stage
  • ‘I haven't enjoyed the piece so much since I saw it three times during the first London run at Her Majesty's.’
  • ‘…Even if you have seen Company before get along to C Venues and see it done brilliantly.’
    The Scotsman
  • ‘Strassen's directorial skill is evident - the pacing is almost faultless'
    The British Theatre Guide
  • ‘The Strength of this production lies in its strong ensemble feel, directed and choreographed by Michael Strassen with a verve and panache that makes you want to punch the air with joy.' Please some one bring this production to London. I can go and see it again, and more people will get the chance, as they did with The Chocolate Factory's Sunday in the Park (yes, it's that good...) to see what real musical theatre looks like.’
    Plays international