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Read Brian's interview in Visible Soul's "People You Should Know." (click to read interview).

REVIEWS

Call Me Waldo

CALL ME WALDO

“Dykstra’s energy in the role is contagious and you can’t help but like the guy.”

Metro NY

“Brian Dykstra’s Gus is loveable”

Theaterscene.net

Brian Dykstra is the quintessential “knuckle dragger”

Electronic Link Journey

“Brian Dykstra as Gus is Hilarious!”

NYTheatre.com

"Dykstra and Boston make a sweetheart Duo."

Ithaca Journal

“They are a perfectly performing team!”

Syracuse New Times

“Dykstra, who somehow manages to portray a blue-collar dude with delicacy while hamming it up (a great costume by Hannah Kochman finds him in a Hawaiian shirt, flip flops and a hilarious apron with an enormous lobster), provides much of the comic relief.”

Ithaca Times

RED

Brian Dykstra in RED“The only reason Brian Dykstra, as Mark Rothko, doesn't dominate the stage is because he's matched step for step by Mathew Carlson as Ken. Together they spar over the requirements for good, no make that great art, and it's a constant conversation that sparkles with equal share of wit, sarcasm, and intellectual snobbery, although it rings true more often than not. Dykstra's passionate performance is the kind that draws you in and never lets you go, even after the curtain, if there was one, falls. Carlson acts as an everyman, albeit, one who paints himself, and he asks the questions we can't since we're mere spectators to this magical world of creation. You'll learn more about what it takes to make art watching these two play off one another than you will in some stuffy classroom, that's for sure…Steven Woolf's direction is impeccable, and there are no false moments or dramatic trickery to be found here, just great performers making their work into something completely mesmerizing…The Rep's production of Red is the kind of stuff you simply can't miss if you truly love theatre. Go see it immediately. It's brilliant, engrossing and educational all at the same time.”

Chris Gibson, Broadway World

“Dykstra's impassioned performance delivers a man who, at the height of his powers, understands that only one thing comes after heights. From the opening moments, when he takes the audience in his long, deep gaze, we realize he sees what we can't…Dykstra's big performance reveals a man as troubling as his paintings, subtly packed with deep shadows and almost-hidden sparks of light…One of the pleasures of theater is its ability to take us to places we can't go, places where we'll hear conversations worth listening to among people with something to say. With "Red," Logan, Woolf, Dykstra and Carlson give us that kind of theater.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Red" is utterly spellbinding. Dykstra is a ferocious Rothko, larger than life and pricklier than a porcupine. He makes the art titan's motivations clear, grappling for his immortality and his desire to be understood, while hurling insults and bons mots with equal intensity.”

Belleville News-Democrat

“As Rothko, Brian Dykstra has a ball trying to mesmerize the audience despite his character's excesses. For 90 intermissionless minutes, Dykstra boldly strides around his universe — but he also sits boldly. When Dykstra is still, his body is as charged as it is when he is on parade. At evening's end on opening night, Dykstra began the curtain call with a shrug, as if to say, "That's all there is, folks. What did you make of it?" It was his only self-effacing gesture all night.”

Riverfront Times

“The performances by its leads were striking.  Brian Dykstra's Mark Rothko is forceful, and pulls our attention at the outset with his gaze and keeps hold of it throughout…I was ecstatic when I found out the Rep was doing this show, and the production is no less thrilling than it was when I saw it in NYC last year.  RED is a vibrant reminder of why we go to the theatre -- engaging, visceral experiences.”

St. Louis Theatre Snob

“The brilliant, egocentric and highly agitated artist is brought to vivid life by actor Brian Dykstra, who stalks the set - evoking Rothko's cramped Manhattan studio - like a caged beast, chain-smoking, playing classical LPs and brow-beating his young hired apprentice Ken…For a true artistic and visual feast for the mind and the senses, do not miss "Red." It packs quite a punch as it reminds us what great theater is all about.”

St. Louis Jewish Light

Both actors give towering performances. Most of the lines involve the two men arguing or giving long speeches. Rothko’s tend to pretentiousness, but Dykstra delivers them from tedium by sheer force of talent.

The Vital Voice

“Dykstra’s Rothko is a vain, fearful, explosive genius who shows increasing doubt about the commission he has undertaken.”

City Beat, Critics Pick

"Neither the writing nor Dykstra's captivating, larger-than-life performance attempt to manufacture a charming or sympathetic rogue from Rothko's imposing profile. Instead, they create a fascinating, implacable, unpredictable, intellectual bully. Don't even try taking your eyes off him. You can't, and you shouldn't miss a moment of the onstage excellence."

Sacramento Bee

“The role of Rothko is complex, and Dykstra portrays the artist’s pride, anger, beliefs about art, vulnerability and sensitive side with authenticity. The audience never doubts the anger and the fear, and believes the artist’s passion for his art and the art that came before him. Through Dykstra’s portrayal of Rothko, an understanding of art as commodity is also gained.”

Sacramento Press

“Dykstra embodies Rothko’s bold and bombastic personality, while subtly infusing humanity and insecurities about his art, his purpose and society in general.”

Sacramento News & Review

Good People 

"Dykstra has the most difficult role in the play. He carries it off well; even his darkest, meanest moments exposing his upbringing which shocks his wife and us at the same time are played with a laid-away charm that thrives on such moments. There is so much going on in this performance that the onlooker could mistake gestures and vocal shadings as anything from closet sadist to homosexual to professional skeptic. Mike has worked his way out of the Boston ghetto and into a mainstream existence that is almost always a fiction. Dykstra’s fine performance makes us see that Mike isn’t even aware of all that."

Edge, Boston

“Brian Dykstra felt very authentic as Mike, convincing as desperation revealed the Southie underneath his polished success.”

Vermont Today

FIRST PRIZE

“There are many colorful passages detailing Adriana's interactions with successful conductors (perhaps inspired by the playwright's marriage to Lorin Maazel) all played masterfully by Brian Dykstra, who makes us laugh and cringe at the slimy characters he embodies.”

Theatermania

THE BODY POLITIC

“Brian Dykstra offers us a perfect Southern gentleman-politician. The accent is impeccable, his mannerisms patrician but not without a touch of country-boy charm. A well grounded, portrayal.”

Woman Around Town

PRIVATE LIVES

“The worldly divorced couple are larger-than-life presences, of course, especially as delivered by Brian Dykstra and Carol Halstead. They're remarkable for their passion and tempers, their spectacular fights propelling the humor to absurd heights.  All four actors shape strong-willed characters, and the final blow-out scene is magnificent.”

Ithaca Journal

“As Elyot, Dykstra, not the conventional type for this part, nails Elyot's superficiality and idleness, that desire to ‘enjoy the party as long as we can.’”

Ithaca Journal

“After Elyot and Amanda elope, they wind up in Paris and fall neatly back into their loved games. Here, they give themselves time-outs when they bicker, conscious of love's fragility, and it's this sweet, rocky self-consciousness that Dykstra and Halstead pull of so well.”

Ithaca Times

“Kitchen veteran Brian Dykstra, whose characteristic relish for language and haughty disdain for stupidity finds a comfortable nest in Elyot. Dykstra plays Elyot as a sort of untethered balloon, at a loss in act one as to how he arrived at a honeymoon. This particular Elyot lives for the present, the tussle of foreplay, rather than the future. As much as Sybil feeds his vanity, he has no idea of how to proceed with marriage—which implies a future.”

Ithaca Post

“A much greater surprise for Kitchen regulars is to see Perry’s usual leading man Brian Dykstra as Elyot. Although he is resident elsewhere, Dykstra has been a familiar presence around the company for four years, often in works of his own composition, like last Christmas’s one-man rant, Ho! or his verbal beating of George Carlin at his own game, A Play on Words (February, 2009). When composing his own persona, Dykstra comes off as bearish, irascible and nearing the working classes. His costume often includes a loud sport shirt with the tail hanging out. In building a Elyot, banishing Coward’s savoir-faire, Dykstra begins with a flawless accent and the glint in this Elyot’s eyes implies a barely suppressed madness.”

Syracuse New Times

KILLING WOMEN

 “Brian Dykstra is convincingly cagey as the boss of this terminal collection agency.”

Theatermania

HAMLET

“Brian Dykstra, as Claudius, is evil as can be, but adds a dimension of remorse.”

Rutland Herald

HoHO!

“A charming story that only the Scroogiest could resist, and it's told by a master storyteller. Brian Dykstra features his signature wordplay and a surprising amount of heart!”

Ithaca Journal

"Dykstra Paints a Portrait of Stunning Detail! Touching in its Honesty and Simplicity!"

Ithaca Times

Ho! Named Top 5 Holiday Shows
On Broadway & Beyond by City’s Best

HO! one man show Brian Dykstra“The energy in Brian Dykstra's plays and stage persona is very specific. For one thing, he looks like he'd be more at home at a sports bar, or parked in front of a wide screen TV on Sundays, telling each player how to retool his or her strategy.

But in Dykstra -- who's a veteran of Russell Simmons' Def Poetry franchise -- there are no airs and no pretensions. He emits a tough-guy honesty, a mixture of don't-fool-with-me and show-me-what-you-got. He's Everydude, which means he can do anything on stage, and very often he does.

Take his latest play, a Yuletide rip called Brian Dykstra's Ho! First, it takes guts to pop your name in front of a title, but it's good marketing: Something about the guy makes you want to hop on the ride, knowing you're going to catch some cool and sardonic sights along the way.

Staged by his longtime director, Margarett Perry, Ho! is actually a two-for-one proposition. In Act I, the commercialization of Christmas hits an all-time high-low point when Santa and his lawyers launch a nasty branding dispute. In Act II, we meet a fine Vermont pine tree named Sammy who awaits his destiny on a holiday-time sidewalk. Go ahead, count the rings.”

Leonard Jacobs, City’s Best

FLAVORPILL
EDITORS PICK!

HO! has several possible definitions and Brian Dykstra puts them all to good use in his two-monologue show that finds both the irony and true meaning of the season. Santa's World is a rhyming rant of corporate greed, pitting a less-than-jolly Santa against a bitter Jolly Green Giant over usage of the catch phrase "Ho-Ho-Ho!" Dykstra's imaginative product placement is as dazzling as a set of blinking Christmas lights. The mood shifts in A Christmas Tree Story, an urban myth about Sammy the Vermont pine. He has waited his entire life to be the perfect Christmas tree, and the unexpected turns in this deceptively simple tale has the makings of a memorable, oft-recited, Christmas tale.

 

"If you go for the Grinch before Jimmy Stewart, and just cannot get enough of seasonal lore like David Sedaris' Holidays on Ice, HO! could be just that new item to add to your holiday repertoire. Celebrating the season by looking through a slightly off-kilter lens, it takes a satirical yet adoring approach to the genre."
Electronic Link Journey

 

THE LITTLE FOXES

“Convincingly villainous”

New York Times

“Brian Dykstra as Oscar is one of those characters you love to hate. His overbearing treatment of his timid wife is downright creepy.”

Independent Press

“Brian Dykstra plays the younger brother Oscar with veiled menace.”

New Jersey Newsroom

“Brian Dykstra shows that Oscar was once a good ol' boy who turned into a bad middle-aged man.”

New Jersey Star-Ledger

“Brian Dysktra is splendid as the viciously condescending Oscar”

Curtain Up

A Play On Words by Brian DykstraA PLAY ON WORDS

“Dykstra and Boyett give impeccable performances!”

NYTheatre.com (Critics Pick)

“‘Waiting for Godot’…‘Who’s on first?’…diverting and clever!”

New York Times

“These two wield recondite notions the way cavemen once brandished their clubs. And like many a topdog/underdog duo before them -- Abbott and Costello, Hardy and Laurel, Gleason and Carney -- they continually sow doubt as to who's really the smarter. While the snide, condescending Max never lets up on his assumption of intellectual superiority, it's great fun to see Rusty (whom Boyett endows with a Howdy Doody geniality) get some licks in.”

Theatermania

“The actors understand that the humor comes from playing it real, and they do so superbly…Max is nuts. His likability is his saving grace.”

Backstage (Critics Pick)

“Dykstra and Boyett deliver bravura work, and chances are you’ve never seen anything quite as demanding.”

Syracuse New Times

"Boyett and Dykstra deliver fast pitches, slow balls, line drives, bunts and all manner of base-stealing. Let's put it this way: if a great sports contest could be waged with words, Dykstra, Boyett and Perry would be in the majors."

Tompkins Weekly

“Dykstra's Max is easily recognizable; even if we hadn't seen him onstage before we'd know this loud, manic, labile, overbearing, vulnerable and irresistibly impossible guy.”

Ithaca Journal

“Friends Rusty (Mark Boyett) and Max (Brian Dykstra) feed off the blazing energy radiating from one another. “The Flight of the Bumblebee” could appropriately accompany their conversation, its speedy intricacy complementing Rusty and Max’s highly energetic tête-à-tête.”

The Ithacan

THE SEAGULL

"Powerful and astute performances--- real, careful, and exciting work by skilled actors working in concert. That's what theater needs - now, and no doubt 200,000 years from now, too."

Boston Globe

"Brian Dykstra is wonderfully creepy and lecherous as Trigorin."

Boston Metro

 

STRANGERHORSE

“A cast this excellent could have opened Strangerhorse at any major venue—New York City, London, Edinburgh—but attachment to the Kitchen Theatre brought them to Ithaca.”

Syracuse New Times

“Kitchen Theatre regular audiences easily remember Brian Dykstra as the overbearing, philandering husband in “A Marriage Minuet” or the aggressive lawyer in his own play “Clean Alternatives.” Both roles called for dynamic force and verbal fireworks, and Dykstra delivered in spades. But in his explosive new play Dykstra leaves the clash of personalities to others. His own role is of a contemporary Sioux whose brief story quietly but powerfully bookends the play. None of Dykstra's flashing-eyed comic expressions here, only craggy features and tired eyes squinting against the sun. His speech bears the blunted, lilting Indian cadence. In worn Western clothes, complete with dusty cowboy hat and bandana, Dykstra seems so iconic a Native American that one audience member later asked if he wasn't, in fact, of that heritage.”

Ithaca Journal

A Marrage MinuetA Marriage Minuet

“The Kitchen Theatre Company closes its 16th season not with a bang but an explosion - of laughter erupting from the audience. You can doubtless hear it from a block away. All five actors are splendid, with Dykstra as the offensive Rex dazzling the most.”

Ithaca Journal

“The Kitchen Theatre production of David Wiltse's ‘A Marriage Minuet’ is so bubbly and high-spirited that I'd like to compare it to champagne. But it's really more like a great fireworks show!--Rex (Brian Dykstra) looks like a blond surfer who's gone a bit chunky in middle age. He writes sex-filled best-sellers, women fall for him, and he knows that he is a man led by his libido.”

Syracuse Post-Standard

“Rex (Brian Dykstra) is Oscar to Douglas's Felix. If Douglas dips his toes ever so gingerly into the waters of unfaithfulness, Rex, the inveterate cheater, dives in. Dykstra's Rex is brash, loud, and hyper-sexual. Sometimes a skilled physical comedian, sometimes merely a ham, Dykstra punctuates Rex's raunchy language with enthusiastic gesticulations, from fist pumps to pelvic thrusts to karate chops.”

Ithaca Times

Full Review

The Ithaca Journal

Kitchen Theatre offers a madcap ‘Marriage Minuet'

By Barbara Adams

The Kitchen Theatre Company closes its 16th season not with a bang but an explosion - of laughter erupting from the audience. You can doubtless hear it from a block away. The cause is the sassy regional premiere of David Wiltse's “A Marriage Minuet” - a contemporary comedy of manners that speaks the unspeakable about men and women, libido and love.

Brilliantly directed by Margarett Perry at a madcap pace, the play focuses on two middle-aged couples: Rex (Brian Dykstra), a shamelessly successful pulp novelist, and his quiet wife Violet (Krista Scott), a mild-mannered high school teacher; Douglas (Matthew Boston), a shamefully unread author of “serious” novels, and his supportive, spirited wife Lily (Rita Rehn). (She makes weekly trips to the local bookstore, rearranging the two copies of Doug's last novel so he'll think someone's looked at them.)

Rex lives on his royalties (for adrenaline-pumped prose about “naughty Nazis”); Doug resentfully teaches college literature, sneering at snotty undergrads who pre-empt his lectures on Hemingway's pretentiousness.

Described as a “mink in heat,” Rex is a frenzied philanderer (all bark and no bite); Doug, sounding like Woody Allen on speed, is an anguished, insufferable moralist. Each in his own way is a solipsist, ripe for deflating.

The two couples know each other, rather dislike each other, and of course, frequently socialize. But somehow their superficial encounters get upended: Violet, ripping off her meek demeanor and exposing the fleshpot within, confesses her admiration and love for Doug; and Rex falls so hopelessly for Lily that he spouts loathsome rhymed poetry.

Threading in among all the chaotic action is a staggeringly nubile young blonde (Heather Frase) who appears as multiple characters (a bookstore clerk, a star-struck reader); she represents the impossible ideal conquest and distracts the men no end.

This marital mayhem becomes increasingly complicated as partners exchange and indulge in a “gavotte of flirtation” (test it — it works).

But what propels the action is not only everyone's primal urges — for sex and love, or at least attention — but lush language. Playwright Wiltse is a self-confessed word addict, and his linguistic lust spills over into the characters' exaggerated dialogue.

The two writers, naturally, are occupationally besotted, wrapping themselves in words, but their wives aren't far behind. (“I love it when he speaks in paragraphs,” Lily coos.) The action is rife with wordplay — witticisms, retorts, apostrophes, one-liners, riffs, wrenched quotations, and double entendres, both verbal and visual. Wiltse is a master of both the blunt (embodied in Rex's manly prose, crude jokes, and bedroom behavior) and the periphrastic (as in Doug's long, indirect, deliciously redundant speech and his ethical nattering).

Another cue for comedy is that both dialogue and action proceed at a breakneck pace. Increasing speed is a winning formula for farce, and this play, like Secretariat (much-invoked from the boudoir), is going for the gold. You may want to see it twice to catch all the quips. But if you feel slow-witted or lexically impaired, there's still plenty of broad physical comedy to render you helpless — for example, the booty-shaking group dance to Eminem that culminates the play's sexual complications.

Some of the best humor comes from Wiltse's device of having each character voicing his or her inner thoughts aloud, which exposes all the dissembling, hypocrisy, opportunism, and self-justification that composes their (our?) internal narratives. The Truths about Relationships are up close and personal. Very close: At the tiny Kitchen, the actors are always almost in your lap, but this play makes special use of that proximity. (The bashful might want to avoid the front row.)

All five actors are splendid, with Dykstra as the offensive Rex dazzling the most. (He was seen here last fall in his play “Clean Alternatives,” and will appear again next season in his new work, “Strangerhorse.”) For the set, designer Kent Goetz provides a convincingly faux-chic ‘70s-modern white apartment lined with bookshelves and a curious mix of objets d'art. The white couch looks like the most uninviting piece of furniture in the world until you later realize its true role as a prop - and the acrobatic uses it will be put to. E. D. Intemann's lighting, Ashley Huyge's costumes, and Michael Speach's sound all contribute seamlessly - the energetic action takes center stage.

As one audience member murmured at intermission, “This show is so clever it's almost brilliant.” You won't want to miss it - manic excess never felt so good.

 

clean alternativesClean Alternatives

 

“At last! A real, grown-up American play! It poses its ethical dilemmas with a fierce intelligence, creating a slippery drama that is full of meat. Margaret Perry's production is slick and smart, and the three performances are spot-on. Something to really chew on.”
The Guardian

Winner FRINGE FIRST

4 stars The Scotsman

Every second of this play is perfect!”

4 stars Three Weeks

“In more than capable hands, Brian Dykstra's rapidfire script never misses a beat!”

4 stars The List

Fast-paced and wonderfully played!"

4 stars Metro

"Ferociously articulate dialogue
in a hail of David Mamet-ian testosterone speak.
Sharp performances across the board.
A fairy tale for our time!"

The New York Times

"Brian Dykstra wields a monologue like a sword!
As Mister Cutter, a sinister attorney in this passionate play about environmental politics, he delivers near-arias about everything from the power of corporate America to his brief flirtation with Eastern philosophy. But though his words are well crafted and his thinking clear, it almost doesn't matter what he's saying. The sheer sound of his voice as it rises and falls offers its own visceral reward.  Dykstra's work provides the startling immediacy that makes live performance feel so alive."

Variety

“A bracing piece of agitprop that well displays its author/star's penchant for provocation. Political satire at its best!

NY Post

“The thrill of discovering a bright new talent is one of the indisputable joys of theatregoing. Anyone currently seeking that thrill need not look any further than the new political comedy, Clean Alternatives, which features the work of an exciting new writer and an equally exciting actor—both of whom are the same person: Brian Dykstra. He has written a sharp, funny, potent, and oh-so-timely play about corporate greed and the environment; and he’s also giving a ferocious performance in one of the lead roles as a mercenary, big shot lawyer. In a perfect world, Clean Alternatives would be the vehicle that exposes Dykstra to a wider audience, as both a writer and an actor. This is stimulating, whip-smart theatre that should not be missed… As Cutter, Dykstra is sensational, giving a hilarious, scene-stealing performance that is full of sly smarts and killer instinct…And, what if Clean Alternatives turns out to not be the vehicle for which Dysktra’s considerable talents are “discovered” by the public-at-large? Never fear. At the rate that he seems to work, it’ll only be a matter of time (probably sooner rather than later) before they are.”

NYTheatre.com

“’You’re in lockdown, even if you don’t know it.’ Thus starts a brilliantly written and acted near-monologue by Dykstra in which he manages to make Cutter’s power-tripping narcissism funny and compelling.”

 Time Out NY

"With a dynamic intensity, Mr. Dykstra makes Mr. Cutter a joy to watch, whether describing tragedy or waxing prosaic on the carnivorous pleasures of corporate law."

Broadwayworld.com

“Brian Dykstra is a very funny man.”

Curtainup

“An intense, high-adrenaline production. Writing and performances that bring to mind George Bernard Shaw working in Lenny Bruce mode.”

Back Stage

"Satire of a very high order…With each turn of the plot and with each revelation of character, the audience becomes more intoxicated with Dykstra's talent for tale-spinning.”

Theatermania

“Beautifully performed!”

WOR Radio

Rounding Third

"The last time I saw Brian Dykstra, he was at the tiny Triad Theatre in New York, doing an exhilarating one-man show…Now Mr. Dykstra is starring in "Rounding Third" a two-man show and putting his rage to good use."

Anita Gates, The New York Times

"Michael and Don are a baseball odd couple. Their chemistry is what makes or breaks this play, and here it connects….Dykstra's Don is physically imposing, and he does the regular-guy thing. But he's smart too. Michael fumbles with the equipment, but his nerd persona has a passive-aggressive streak. There's some territory being marked on both sides, and the guy-thing subtext is funny and genuine."

Hartford Record-Journal

 "Brian Dykstra's very sloppiness and cut-the-crap attitude makes Don appealing against the odds."

Hartford Advocate

"'Rounding Third' hits a comedic home run!"

The Middletown Press

"When macho jock Don (Brian Dykstra) meets his new assistant couch, Michael (Daniel Cantor), the comedy begins!  Shaggy, bearded Dykstra's untempered will to win becomes an uncomfortable reminder of too many overzealous Little League parents."

Stepping Out

"the bullish Dykstra make(s) it winning!"

The Courant

“Don (Brian Dykstra in a definitive performance) and Michael (Daniel Cantor, who holds his own admirably against the Dykstra juggernaut) begin "Rounding Third" on opposite philosophical benches, they wind up meeting somewhere in the middle...This is Dykstra's show; a performance that finds rich complexity.”

Berkshire Eagle

“a nonstop hysterrical…a grand slam•

Town Times

Touching The Bases

Fine Acting Helps `Rounding Third' Almost Hit Home
September 7, 2005
By
MALCOLM JOHNSON,
Special to The Courant
 

Pitting a blue-collar ex-jock against a white-collar sports reject in a battle for the soul of a Little League team, Richard Dresser's “Rounding Third” slugs it out, even as it suffers from cliché and predictability. Thanks to its two actors - burly, bearded Brian Dykstra and slender, shiny-faced Daniel Cantor - this pop fly of a play almost hits home.

Subbed in for the far more weighty "The Exonerated,” the off-Broadway hit about death-row survivors, the final offering of the TheaterWorks season seems calculated to appeal to those tired businessmen with baseball in their hearts. This is also a time when Steve Campo's valiant little company is signing on subscribers, with “The Exonerated” promised again and another bigger and much more famous baseball play, Richard Greenberg's “Take Me Out,” scheduled for the final slot a year from now.

Campo directs “Rounding Third,” and he deserves admiration for his casting and his pacing. Even as Dresser's play sets up its morals and ambiguities in an all-too-obvious ways, and Campo's blocking slumps, the life of the characters is undeniable.

Though they obviously differ widely in styles and philosophies, Dykstra's Don and Cantor's Michael share a sense of isolation and loneliness as the play unfolds on Ryan Scott's simple setting, with its low wooden fence and the rear end of a beat-up van. Both men suffer from the common male complaint of friendlessness, and neither receives much comfort from women for contrasting reasons revealed in the play's plotting.

"Rounding Third" begins with an awkward meeting between Don, a bully who earns his living as a painter, and Michael, an ingratiating little office bureaucrat. Don, the head coach of a winning team, worships the game and cherishes his memories of past glories as well as regretting one particularly devastating loss. He has another reason for his dedication: His son, Jimmy, is the team's star pitcher. Michael is also on board because of a son, Frankie, who already has been blackballed by Don because of the boy's ineptitude on the playing fields at school (Jimmy is his father's scout).

Physically, the play opens awkwardly; Campo has devised a symbolic game of oneupmanship as Don and Michael prop their feet on the rungs of a stool that then disappears from the set. The first scene also presents Don as a juicy beer drinker and Michael as a dry abstainer. Soon, the big splitting point arrives with Don's declaration on having fun in athletic endeavors: "Winning is fun. Losing stinks." This leads to the matter of the unwanted Frankie, who has a different surname (hyphenated) from Michael, who is his stepfather.

As acted by Dykstra, who sports a faded red baseball cap and talismanic whistle for most of the play, Don represents the politically unconscious American male. He is condescending to his wife and to females in general. When Michael experiences an emotional moment, Don derides it and crows, “We're not women.” Musical theater is the object of ridicule, especially an upcoming youth production of "Brigadoon." Don is also informal, calling his new assistant coach Mike or Mikey, despite the tidy sad sack's persistent wish to be addressed as Michael.

The arc of the two-act play, with its parade of short bits and blackouts, puts Don in the catbird seat. He is the man with the blasting whistle and the big yell to his struggling Bad News Bears, like the bungling Frankie. Gradually, Canton's cooler and more civilized Michael becomes an equal, then a superior as the wheel of fate turns. In the end, Don has become one of those men overthrown by his outdated, backward, father-knows-best values. Yet ironically, Michael has taken on some of Don's desire to win, even cheating in a critical moment, albeit unintentionally.

Though "Rounding Third" suffers from its agenda, both the bullish Dykstra and the tentative but awakening Cantor make it winning and often funny. The jokes often depend on male rituals, such as wearing socks and underwear for days on end during a run of ballpark successes. In the end, as Don loses some of his cocky machismo, "Rounding Third" even becomes poignant. Men like Don - sports fans and womanizers and Bud guzzlers - move through a benighted world that has vanished before their eyes, even in a Republican era.

Here and there, Dresser shows that he can write sharp dialogue, unlike the babble in the dreadful book he contributed to last season's Broadway disaster, the Beach Boys jukebox musical mistitled "Good Vibrations." Not surprisingly, that credit is missing from TheaterWorks' program bio.

Brian Dykstra: Cornered & Alone

a comedic rant of political proportations

"One Off Broadway production you can be sure Republicans won't be flocking to is "Brian Dykstra: Cornered & Alone," but Democrats and environmentalists are going to find Mr. Dykstra 's EXHILARATING one-man show INTOXICATING and enormously satisfying."

The New York Times

"A bitterly funny barrage of home truths about the plight of American liberals"

The New Yorker

"LENNY BRUCE would have saluted - maybe even toked a joint with - Brian Dykstra."

Curtain Up

"Brian Dykstra :  Cornered & Al one is a hearfelt, intelligent, captivating, uproarious, dignified, and, most of all important work of art.  Dykstra is invading the fall 'must-see' lineup and he is not going to stop until he has reached his goal:  change....I leave you with an opinion of my own; one which I have told every person i have talked to since I saw this show; GO SEE IT! See it now! Bring friends, bring family,just do not miss this one!"

offoffonline.com

"Brian Dykstra recently found himself listed on a Rush Limbaugh-affiliated website as an "enemy" of the conservative talk radio host. This seemed strange to Dykstra because there was no indication that Limbaugh or any of his self-styled "Dittoheads" had attended the Brian Dykstra : Cornered and Alone . " 

Theatermania

"Listening to Brian Dykstra is simply EXHILARATING."

Backstage

"Brian Dykstra is damn pissed. His one-man show is about the myriad things that he sees corroding our society. The questions he raises are TRENCHANT and on target. His description of Hollywood's manipulations juxtaposed against the show business of Washington is subtle yet POWERFUL."

Gay City News

Times Trumpets an "Exhilarating" Evening of Bush-Hating

"The Times pushes yet another anti-Bush art show in Friday's Weekend section. Reviewer Anita Gates has kind words for Brian Dykstra 's one-man political propaganda show, "Cornered & Al one," playing on Manhattan's Upper West Side."

Times Watch

Waiting for Righty
A look at some of the left-leaning shows that will be playing in NYC during the RNC.

Adam Klasfeld

 "Equipped with a SHARP WIT, a poetic flair, and just the right amount of cynicism, he has put together an engaging and timely performance piece that won't win him any friends amongst Republicans but SHOULD BE SEEN BY EVERYONE."

Theatermania

With GOP in town, politics treads boards off-Broadway

Elysa Gardner

"It seems like every theater company is waving its arms, saying, 'Look, we're doing political theater,' " says Brian Dykstra , who takes on President Bush, Justice Clarence Thomas and other conservative icons in his acclaimed one-man show Cornered & Al one , now playing at the Triad Theatre." 

USA Today

"BRIAN DYKSTRA FOR PRESIDENT. Liberal and proud, Brian Dykstra will make you think of the Declaration of Independence with a passionately renewed interest. This man should be making the talk show rounds in order to spread his word to middle-America.  Bring a politically apathetic friend.  They'll thank you later."

The Drudged Retort

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Hiding Behind Comets

 

Controversial 'Comets' is masterly, creative, graphic

Jerry Stein, Cincinnati Post

"Hiding Behind Comets," a new play from Brian Dykstra that opened at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Thursday night, not only provides a masterly evening of suspense but is a creative fictional extension of the 1978 Jonestown murder-suicide..Dykstra achieves commanding insights into the characters....It is Dykstra's talent for writing dialogue-now slicing, now vulgar, now sardonic-that provides exciting sparring...There are fascinating explorations, notably the strange symbiotic emotional and physical connections that the twins have for one another...There are also substantive contemplations on larger themes: the manipulation of minds through the perversion of faith, the twisted rationale that extended guilt can cause and the unsettling effects on children when they are deprived of truth."

 

'HIDING' EXCITES, DISTURBS CROWDS
New Playhouse play deals with sexuality

Katherine L. Sontag, The News Record

"Some plays are comfortable, safe and simply shine new light on our everyday experiences or introduce us to new ones gently. The others are those that get into the audiences' mind and force them to reconsider the world they are living in.

Hiding Behind Comets, the world premiere play at Cincinnati's Playhouse in the Park, takes its audience on a roller coaster of events that keep patrons on the edge of their seats until the very end."

 

 

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Americana Absurdum, at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London

“This is the fastest theatre I've ever seen. The cast rip through their lines at patter-song pace…the talented nine-strong cast amidst the zaniness and constant activity even manage to lend a sympathetic humanity to their loathsome characters.”

Time Out London, Critics Choice

That Damn Dykstra (the Boxed Set) , Access Theater New York

“Brian Dykstra is working hard to turn ranting into a new genre, and if he succeeds comedy may not be safe…the word flow feels unstoppable…he can make you think as hard as you laugh …Dykstra displays striking comic powers.”

Tom Sellar, The Village Voice

“Brian Dykstra is a talented guy.”

Philip Hopkins, Theatermania.com
(That Damn Dykstra, Access Theater, NYC)

“Dykstra opens the show with a vivid performance of 'The Mean Queen and the Thief of Hearts.' He bursts onto the stage, telling the sultry, romantic tale in the style of a spoken-word artist who has been traveling the world for years to hone his skills. Before the audience has time to decide whether they like Dykstra or not, he has already swept them away. Bringing the power of his work to life with magnificent storytelling, Dykstra alters the mood and the moment simply by changing the rhythm of his words. Even if he stood in one place, he would still capture everyone's attention.”

Quin Chia, Washington Square News
(That Damn Dykstra, Access Theater, NYC)

“Dykstra spins wildly imaginative rhymes with an unpredictable sensibility.”

Joshua Tanzer, OffOffOff.com
(That Damn Dykstra, Access Theater, NYC)

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The Mean Queen and the Thief of Hearts, Pittsburgh Public Theater

“funny, sharp-edged"

Christopher Rawson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Copenhagen, Arizona Theatre Company

Brian Dykstra in Copenhagen“Mesmerizing”

Kyle Lawson, The Arizona Republic

“Dykstra’s Heisenberg is equally brilliant.”

James Reel, Tucson Weekly

“Without a doubt, it’s heavy stuff. Yet, Brian Dykstra as affable, push-ahead-fast Heisenberg and Ken Ruta as fatherly Niels Bohr banter and argue about quantum physics, the uncertainly principles and fusion with a passion and authority.

Ann Brown, Arizona Daily Star

 

A View From the Bridge, Theaterfest, Montclair, NJ

“Eddie, who’s brilliantly portrayed by Brian Dykstra…Dykstra never slips into easy-laugh caricature, and each of his gestures is natural—the shrug of the shoulders while extending the arms wide, smiling through his pain and plopping his forkful of ziti onto the plate when annoyed. Dykstra makes Eddie what Miller intended—a simple, but not simplistic man.”

Peter Filichia, The Star Ledger

“What if the new Jersey professional and semiprofessional theaters bestowed their own version of the Tony Awards? …If I were the nominator, here’s the way I’d see the 2002-2003 season: …Best Play Actor …Brian Dykstra for A View From the Bridge (nominee).”

Peter Filichia, The Star Ledger

“As Eddie, Brian Dykstra gives a career-defining performance. An actor of remarkable depth and insight, Dykstra captures flawlessly the creeping, corroding sense of loss with which Eddie battles…Film star Anthony LaPaglia’s Eddie, on Broadway in 1997, seemed far too young and virile for the role. It is eye-opening here to watch Dykstra make Eddie his own. Wrapping his burly arms around his character, he comes out slugging with a power and ferocity that leaves one drained watching. His beefy, slightly stooped frame slumped in Eddie’s favorite chair, his face twisted in confusion as he confronts unexplored feelings of lust for his niece, his eyes mirroring contempt for the desperate Beatrice and barely repressed rage at the joyful innocence of Rodolpho—Dykstra’s Eddie is a man in turmoil and pain.

Naomi Siegel, The Montclair Times

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Dinner With Friends, Philadelphia Theatre Company

“Brian Dykstra is moving.”

Dante J.J. Bevilacqua, South Philly Review

“Memorable”

Desmond Ryan, Philadelphia Inquirer

Macbeth, Pittsburgh Public Theater

“Electrifying.”

Christopher Rawson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Twelfth Night, Pittsburgh Public Theater

“Brian Dykstra leads the cast as Sir Toby. He’s the Visiting Guest Artist…I hope they learned from him what precision comedic timing looks like, as well as Dykstra’s almost inhuman ability to know exactly when to pull back.”

Ted Hoover, Pittsburgh City Paper

“Dykstra is hilarious as the drunken Sir Toby Belch.”

John Hayes, Pittsburgh Post Gazette

“…tugging everyone’s performance to higher levels whenever he’s on stage…daring bravado and creative imagination.”

Alice T. Carter, Pittsburgh Tribune

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All The Rage, Pittsburgh Public Theater

“Each of us will prefer some performances over others—Dykstra’s soul-less insolence.”

Christopher Rawson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A Doll's House, Asolo Theater, Sarasota, Florida

“Viperish”

Jay Handelman, Sarasota Herald Tribune

Incommunicado, Off-Broadway

“Deft.”

John Simon, New York Magazine

Bobby Gould in Hell, New Hope Performing Arts Festival

“The cast of four in uniformly excellent, expertly catching the snap and crackle of Mamet’s volleying dialogue. At the center of the wordplay is Brian Dykstra’s admirably manic portrayal of the merciless by witty interrogator.”

Douglas J. Keating The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Explosively funny”

Mark Cofta, Backstage

“Brian Dykstra is quite the powerhouse.”

Peter Filichia, Theater Week

Gangster Apparel, Off-Off-Broadway, New York

“Brian Dykstra delivers a marvelous performance as Louie.”

Cynthia Melia

Gangster Apparel, Montpieler, Vermont

“Hilarious”

Jim Lowe The Times Argus

A Most Secret War, Off-Broadway

“Deft.”

John Simon, New York Magazine

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FOR THE PRESS

Press photos of Brian Dykstra, in black & white at 300 dpi are available fom the Acting Page.

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