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Leo Stutzin
Leo Stutzin has covered theater and the arts in the Bay Area and California Central Valley since 1968.

Stutzin grew up in New York City and received a B.A. in journalism from City College of New York. Before settling in Modesto, he worked as a reporter and editor for newspapers in New York City, Upstate New York, Vermont, Virginia and San Diego. He was the Modesto Bee's arts editor from 1980 until his retirement in 2002. His awards include a 1979-80 National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship to Stanford, where he focused his studies on art and drama.

Entries by Leo Stutzin

Master Harold at Aurora: a Spellbinding Journey Across a Global Canvas on a Small Stage

(0) Comments | Posted June 26, 2016 | 4:16 PM


Hally (Andrew Humann) and Sam (L. Peter Callender) relive a soaring moment with a kite as Willie (Adrian Roberts) observes.
Photos by David Allen

Athol Fugard's Master Harold ...and the boys involves two black men, one teenaged white boy and 90...

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Village Bike in Berkeley Challenges Stereotypes While Delivering Laughs and Ideas

(0) Comments | Posted June 8, 2016 | 9:55 PM


Connecting over a damaged bicycle: Kevin Clarke as Oliver, Elissa Stebbins as Becky

Photos by Pak Han

Stereotypes take a thrashing in Penelope Skinner's The Village Bike, the sizzling British comedy-drama that opened a few days ago in Shotgun Players' Ashby...

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Chester Bailey in ACT's Strand: A Compelling Exploration of Illusion, Reality and a Resilient Mind

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2016 | 4:54 PM


Personal narratives: David Strathairn is a doctor, Dan Clegg his patient

Photos by Kevin Berne

Two exceptional actors, two compelling characters, two distinct narratives that eventually interlock: That's the essence of Joseph Dougherty's Chester Bailey, which delivers...

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Sarah Ruhl's For Peter Pan: An Uneven Attempt to Add Adult Concerns to a Youthful Classic

(0) Comments | Posted May 31, 2016 | 12:10 AM


Kathleen Chalfant in a dual role, remembering and playing Peter Pan

Photos by Kevin Berne

Peter Pan is ageless, as anyone who has ever seen or read J.M. Barrie's classic knows. In countless treatments on stage, in movies, on...

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Treasure Island at Berkeley Rep: Faithful Story-Telling Gives Fresh Vitality to an Old Swashbuckler

(0) Comments | Posted May 2, 2016 | 3:19 AM


Steven Epp as Long John Silver and John Babbo as Jim Hawkins in Mary Zimmerman's adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's tale.
Photos by Kevin Berne

Who could possibly dream of trotting out another version of a story that has...

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Heir Apparent at Aurora: Low Comedy That Soars to Heights of Hilarity

(0) Comments | Posted April 25, 2016 | 3:40 AM


Digging for gold: Julian López-Gorillas as Geronte, plied by imposters Patrick Kelly Jones, Khalia Davis and Kenny Toll as phony nieces

Photos by David Allen

Greed isn't simply good in David Ives' The Heir Apparent at Berkeley's Aurora Theatre. As...

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The How and the Why at Aurora: A Densely Packed Exploration of Ideas and Emotions

(0) Comments | Posted March 29, 2016 | 5:02 PM


Nancy Carlin as a confident professor, right, and Martha Brigham as a nervous graduate student: a toast in academia

Photos by David Allen

Playwright Sarah Treem's The How and the Why runs less than two hours in its West Coast...

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Realistic Joneses at ACT: Beneath a Quirky Comedy, Deep Fears of Mortality

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2016 | 3:03 AM


James Wagner, Allison Jean White, Rebecca Watson and Rod Gnapp in The Realistic Joneses.

Photos by Kevin Berne
Words don't come easily to the four personalities who populate Will Eno's The Realistic Joneses. And when they do...
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Macbeth at Berkeley Rep: Visually Stunning but Short on Dramatic Interplay and Impact

(0) Comments | Posted March 1, 2016 | 11:08 PM


Conleth Hill as Macbeth, Frances McDormand as Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare's classic tale
Photos by Kevin Berne

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow may give director Daniel Sullivan and his colleagues the time they need to reinforce the strengths and repair...

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Little Erik in Berkeley: A Skeletal, Flawed Adaptation of a Domestic Drama by Ibsen

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2016 | 3:35 AM


A dysfunctional family gathering: Joe Estlack as dad Freddie, Jack Wittmayer as son Erik, Marilee Talkington (rear), as Freddie's wife, Joie, and Mariah Castle as his sister, Andi.
Photos by David Allen

Mark Jackson is recognized as one of the...

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Satchmo at ACT: Louis Armstrong Minus the Smile, Unveiled by Play and Phenomenal Performance

(2) Comments | Posted January 24, 2016 | 12:42 AM


John Douglas Thompson as Louis Armstrong: His heart belonged to music.
Photos by T. Charles Erickson

Anyone old enough to recall Louis Armstrong's many gigs on the Ed Sullivan Show or curious enough to view his videos on YouTube...

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Disgraced at Berkeley Rep: A Dramatic Triumph, Confronting Issues That Our Times Can't Avoid

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 1:50 AM


A toast among friends: from left, Bernard White as Amir, Nisi Sturgis as Emily, Zakiya Young as Jory and J. Anthony Crane as Isaac

Photos by Liz Lauren

Could any work of dramatic art be more timely, more provocative,...

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Monster-Builder at Aurora: Hilarity and Bizarre Twists in the World of Architecture

(0) Comments | Posted November 15, 2015 | 11:35 PM


Floored: Collapsed architect Gregor (Danny Scheie) draws the puzzled gaze of (from left) Rod Gnapp, Sierra Jolene, Nancy Carlin, Thomas Gorrebeeck and Tracy Hazas.

Photos by David Allen

One thing can be said with certainty about Aurora...

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Ah, Wilderness! at ACT: Lovely Look, Uneven Acting for O'Neill's Domestic Comedy

(0) Comments | Posted October 27, 2015 | 8:45 PM


A tipsy Sid Davis (Dan Hiatt) regales the Miller family with food gags at the dinner table. Thomas Stagnitta, as Richard, is at center.

Photos by Kevin Berne

Eugene O'Neill is widely regarded as the playwright who lifted American theater out of the...

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Imported Pirates Makes a Merry Splash on Intimate Stage at Berkeley Rep

(0) Comments | Posted October 26, 2015 | 12:18 AM


Matt Kahler, as a very modern major general, and friends flaunt the exuberance of Berkeley's Pirates of Penzance

Photos by Kevin Berne

The Hypocrites, a Chicago-based troupe that's esteemed for its unique approaches to classics, obviously knows how...

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Amélie at Berkeley Rep: A Spirited Musical Adaptation of the Beloved French Film

(0) Comments | Posted September 14, 2015 | 3:24 PM


A pivotal discovery, with choral support: Amélie (Samantha Barks) finds the long-lost toy box that changes her life.
Photos by Kevin Berne

Fidelity is a trait to be commended, in situations. Those situations don't always include the process of transforming a story...

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Between Riverside and Crazy: ACT Opens 49th Season With a Tough, Humane Pulitzer Prize Drama

(0) Comments | Posted September 13, 2015 | 12:34 AM


Carl Lumbly as Walter "Pops" Washington: a troubled and angry ex-cop

Photos by Kevin Berne

The past weighs heavily on Walter "Pops" Washington, the angry, suspicious ex-cop whose rage and stubbornness propel the fierce Between Riverside and Crazy,...

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Mud Blue Sky at Aurora: High-Flying Comedy, Delivered With Compassion

(0) Comments | Posted September 7, 2015 | 3:55 PM


All they need is a bucket of ice: From left, Jamie Jones, Rebecca Dines, Devin O'Brien and Laura Jane Bailey

Photos by David Allen

Generalizing from isolated anecdotes is risky, even when the anecdotes are particularly compelling....

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Detroit in Berkeley: A Giddy Treatment of an American Nightmare

(0) Comments | Posted June 28, 2015 | 6:57 PM


A neighborly gesture: The guests are Amy Resnick and Jeff Garrett, the hostess is Luisa Frasconi, her husband is Patrick Kelly Jones, at rear.
Photos by David Allen

For a play inspired by the economic collapse that befell so many...

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ACT Inaugurates Remodeled Strand With Intriguing Love and Information

(0) Comments | Posted June 22, 2015 | 9:59 AM

Sharon Lockwood and Dan Hiatt: Communicating isn't easy.

Photos by Kevin Berne

American Conservatory Theater's new space on Market Street was named the Jewel when it opened as a movie house in 1917. In its current and extensively remodeled...

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