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Selected Theater Directing Reviews

MY LEFT BREAST by Susan Miller • Actors' Theater of Louisville Humana Festival, Louisville KY (Premiere), Watermark Theater NYC (OBIE winner 1995), and National Tours


“A metaphor of resilience… done with a self-aware humor and a literary acuteness that make her hour on the stage an enlarging experience”

 - D. J. R. Bruckner, The New York Times


“Under the direction of Nela Wagman, Miller is eminently likable. She carries on a casual conversation, draping herself over a chair or a desk as if she's settled down to tea with her best friend.”

 - Patti Hartigan, The Boston Globe




MASHA NO HOME by Lloyd Suh • Ensemble Studio Theatre NYC


“The cast is admirably well chosen, and Nela Wagman’s direction is acutely perceptive.  No one extorts laughs, but together these actors inspire two hours of them.”

 - D. J. R. Bruckner, The New York Times


“In a briskly paced staging that blends visceral physicality with dexterous verbal play, director Nela Wagman wins rich performances from her smoothly fused ensemble."

 - Francine Russo, The Village Voice




SUMMER CYCLONE by Amy Fox • Ensemble Studio Theatre NYC


“A fine cast is burnishing the wise compassion of Amy Fox’s “Summer Cyclone” to a warm glow at Ensemble Studio Theater…Under the direction of Nela Wagman, the performances are uniformly commendable and Ms. Stern and Mr. Giacalone prove convincing in the central romance.”

 - Lawrence Van Gelder, The New York Times


“Playwright Amy Fox is a very graceful, sophisticated writer. Her new play, "Summer Cyclone," isn't afraid to tackle powerful themes and difficult material. As directed by Nela Wagman, the play is honest, poignant, and sincere.”

 - Victor Gluck, Backstage




WAITING AT THE WATER'S EDGE by Lucinda Coxon • Watermark Theater NYC


"Nela Wagman's efficient, simple staging, ballasted by lucid performances...highlights Ms. Coxon's undeniable gifts for building narrative and, in examining forms of loneliness and ambition, for fluidly forging connections between social cause and emotional effect." 

 - Ben Brantley, The New York Times




BLAMING MOM with SOUPY AND ADENA by David Edelstein • Watermark Theater NYC


“Blaming Mom,’ and extended one-act comedy directed by Nela Wagman, is funny enough to obviate cries of ‘Critic, pan thyself,’ even if the obsessions get in the way of theatrical liveliness…Still, when Willie and his equally self-involved girlfriends butt complex-addled heads, the play soars into a sparkling celebration of neurosis that recalls the old Mike Nichols-Elaine May routines. And Patricia Scanlon, as a cripplingly high-strung femme fatale, provides one of the season’s comic high points reading an excruciating exercise for a ‘Fiction as Therapy’ class.”

 - Ben Brantley, The New York Times


Director Nela Wagman stages these encounters zestily, in short, fast-paced scenes, tossing characters on stage like dice, sometimes in overlapping combinations – boy/girl, boys kvetching/girls bitching, or seesaw sets of mismatched couples.”

 - Francine Russo, The Village Voice


"Soupy and Adena' "is cleverly staged by Nela Wagman, the director of the double bill, and played with delight by the two-member cast.” 

 - Vincent Canby, The New York Times



BONNIE by Ann Marie Healey • Ensemble Studio Theatre NYC


“The performances are just right.”

 - Lawrence Van Gelder, The New York Times




SEX AND OTHER COLLISIONS by Trista Baldwin • The Assembly NYC


“Director Nela Wagman has staged Baldwin’s brisk comedy-drama with economy and energy.  Confrontations are sharp and transitions clean.  Some of the best moments are the wordless ones, and that’s saying a lot, because Baldwin’s words speak volumes in Wagman’s hands.”

 - Elias Stimac, Show Guide 

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