"Buttons’ Covid Lockdown Panto is like a five-ring circus—but in a good way. I don’t know how director Leslie Swackhamer did it, but her coordination with David Nehls, Stages’s music director, and Peter Ton, director of cinematography, is mind-blowing. I mean, they took a stage production and turned it into a stage production-musical-movie. And there are all of those puppets."
"Sensitive Guys was ready for its Stages' premiere when Covid-19 reared its ugly little head and shuttered all theaters. But artistic director Kenn McLaughlin and director Leslie Swackhamer confronted the problem with action of their own. With input from Kaufman, and a bit of tweaking, they cleverly turned Guys into a Zoom presentation. This is nothing short of brilliant. It works so well because all the group scenes could realistically be a video conference. Movement is restricted, but now we're up close and personal. In tense moments, the actors lean into their camera in extreme close-up. At times, they're in their dorm rooms or the dean's office or sitting in front of one of the ubiquitous Zoom exterior backgrounds."
"Brilliant Madama Butterfly at Opera på Skäret"
"Director Leslie Swackhamer takes full advantage of the 360-degree view provided by Neuhaus Theatre's Arena Stage. In her theatrical universe, Marianne and Roland are two astronomical bodies constantly revolving at great velocity. But her production extends beyond cosmic metaphor."
"Gluck's Orfeo is a blast of fresh air. It will always be. It's a classic of its kind, albeit an early exemplar, but a classic nonetheless. It is simple and pure, ravishing in its simplicity, pure melody and pure expression. Opera in the Heights produces a lovely rendition, formal and clean, updating the antique but not making it too cluttered to harm the old opera's impact. OH, under Leslie Swackhamer's compressed direction, turns Gluck into gold."
"Gesamtkunstwerk, synthesis of fable, sound, shape and color in art, may have been made famous by Richard Wagner, and perhaps never more perfectly realized than just now by San Francisco Opera. It was an Italian opera, the abstract visual images of a Japanese born American and an American fable that converged magically into artistic totality.
The 2006 production itself (design and staging), is from Opera Omaha. It has since traveled to Madison, Dayton, Vancouver, Honolulu, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Charlotte. It would hold the stage in any opera house in the opera world. It is a masterpiece."
"...by isolating the characters in those enormous landscapes of pure color, the production simultaneously intensifies the setting and strips away potential distractions. Memories of past "Butterfly" productions are erased, that's for sure. We're newly focused on action and transformation. The story takes on the power of mythology."
"With David Adjmi’s pop-bio Marie Antoinette, Swackhamer proves she is a good director. No, she’s the best director...Director Swackhamer delivers all of this intimate epic with affection and slight irony, moving these historic pawns as if they’re in a music video, balancing the sweeping ensemble scenes with jewellike tête-à-têtes."
"Audiences will not only be taken by Neves' Marie Antoinette, but also by Adjmi's cleverly constructed script and director Leslie Swackhamer's ingenious production, which makes this multifaceted consideration of the queen an intimate epic to savor... 'a triumph of writing, production and performance. ...at Stages, Marie Antoinette rules!'"
Adjmi’s play in Leslie Swackhammer’s astonishingly talented directorial hands, fizzes and pops and ultimately claws its way into our full enjoyment.
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"Direction by Leslie Swackhamer is vibrant and full of color, bringing a vaudevillian air to the piece. Her cast deliciously over-exaggerates and over-emphasizes their actions during the innumerable moments of narration."
"Leslie Swackhamer's direction is smart and sensitive, with a light touch in the comedy and genuine feeling..."
"Director Leslie Swackhamer gives Stages’ production depth, naturalness and sensitivity. She finely calibrates the play’s delicate emotional shifts and makes the most of its meaningful silences."
"And the cast that director Leslie Swackhamer shapes this subtle story with has stepped inside this world with grace and tender respect for the pain and joys each character feels. These don't feel like performances so much as lives lived in quiet agony.Swackhamer finds the truth of this story and spreads it out with hushed care over the space at Stages."
"...detailed, consummate direction.... Hare's haunting play whirls right through our hearts and inside our brains. It's a provocative evening in the theater, wonderfully realized, and that is something both rare and welcome."