Press

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SELECTED PRESS QUOTES

“Kentucky” marks the full-length debut of a distinctive new voice — mouthy, sly and bourbon sweet, with the expected kick. “ – The New York Times (KENTUCKY) 

 The ensemble scenes are absorbing and engaging. Ms. Winkler is not the sort of playwright to be cowed by thoughts of budget or square footage. (KENTUCKY) is a riff on the family play, the homecoming play, the coming-of-age play and also occasionally a musical, with Ms. Winkler’s own compositions facing off against contemporary Christian rock. (The devotional pop is livelier; Ms. Winkler’s music, with lyrics like “These people have shaped you/These people are horrible,” is cleverer.) The style is what a naturalistic play might look like after several pitchers of juleps.””- The New York Times (KENTUCKY) 

“…. The script, by Leah Winkler… effectively skewers the false personas and banal self-descriptions on dating Web sites while underscoring the longing….These appealing young actors have grown up with the Net. For us dinosaurs, it’s a relief to know that apparently it hasn’t made mating any easier.”. – THE NEW YORK TIMES (For the INTERNET) 

This offbeat story of two Japanese courtesans takes  chances that pay off” -New York Times (For Double Suicide at Ueno Park!!!) Screen shot 2016-05-05 at 10.35.42 PM

“Refreshing and witty. A fresh, affecting play.”—Time Out New York (KENTUCKY) 

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“The playwright Leah Nanako Winkler has created a sort of millennial Odyssey, chronicling the rustic homecoming of a New York City transplant. Long in flight from a troubled upbringing, Hiro (Satomi Blair) returns to her native Kentucky in the hope of preventing the marriage of her younger sister Sophie. But Sophie (Sasha Diamond) has found her own kind of escape, in born-again Christianity, and confounds the alienated Hiro with her church-centered contentment, which the play treats with sensitivity. Hiro’s sense of autonomy is further challenged by her abusive father, her immigrant mother, and the childhood friends she left behind. Morgan Gould’s lively production, which includes a Greek-style chorus and a talking cat, has an antic, unruly spirit. Still, Winkler’s story is ultimately a serious one, about the commonplace nature of childhood trauma and the radically different paths people take to recover.”- The New Yorker 

Exceptional. There is an excitement and charm to Nanako Winkler’s language. The accessibility draws an immediate bond with the audience…’Kentucky’ was sublimely constructed and adoringly envisioned and has not only put Leah Nanako Winkler on the map but ensured her as an important player in contemporary theater.” Theatre in the Now

“Gratifyingly touching.”-Stage Scene LA (Kentucky)

“Winkler never condescends to her Southerners — a welcome departure from other recent playwrights who fetishize their characters’ regionalisms. The characters in “Kentucky” may be wildly eccentric and speak with a twang, but they are otherwise people, coping as best they can with the detritus of disappointed lives.”- LA TIMES

SELECTED INTERVIEWS, etc:

Angry Asian Man: Angry Reader Of The Week 

American Theatre Magazine: CAATA 2016: Art and Activism, Pushing Beyond Exhaustion

American Theatre Magazine: Southern Female Playwrights Leaving The Front Porch Behind

The Brooklyn Rail: Bringing Kentucky Home: Leah Nanako Winkler

Playbill: Exclusive Photoshoot With the Cast Of Kentucky

Backstage Magazine: How To Be A Playwright In NYC 

Broadway World: The Kilroys Playwright Leah Nanako Winkler: Striving for Gender Parity 

TDF Stages : You think You know Kentucky But You Don’t 

Stage and Candor : A Conversation with Leah Nanako Winkler

 8 Asians: 8 Questions with Playwright Leah Nanako Winkler

IndieWire : Kilroys List Spotlights 53 Works by Women And Trans Playwrights Deserving Production

 NPR : The ‘sexy robot’ Idea Has A Long History. Is it also the future of loneliness?

 Backstage: Sam French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival Winners Announced

Broadway World : Satomi Blair Chats About Kentucky

 American Theatre Magazine: Playwrights Horizons Announces Resident Company Program

THE NEW YORK TIMES: Love among Leah Winkler’s Webbies

Howlround : Leah Nanako Winkler, The Mikado, and This American Moment in

NEW YORK POST : Must be Obscene To Be Believed

  Culturebot: THOUGHTS ON WHY WE MUST TALK ABOUT CLASS

Wall Street Journal: NYC Shortage of Stages

Adam Szymkowicz  I Interview Playwrights

More Press Quotes 

” In an outstanding look at our need to unload onto a third party, playwright Leah Nanako Winkler gives us a stylish and funny comedy titled Taisetsu Na Hito, which means, “Is it ok if I call you an important person?”  And that’s a perfect title for this brilliant and very well performed play.”-NY THEATER NOW 

“Leah Nanako Winkler’s “Taisetsu Na Hito,”….was the most disturbing piece of the evening. It was hilarious (a long diatribe about ham loaf was probably the funniest moment of the whole night) but the way the humor clashed with the emotional desolation of the two human characters made it truly vivid and unsettling.”– Tor.com

Flat-Out hillarity… the play, which on one hand is a comedic romp, also offers food for thought on a variety of important topics. “How will this fadge?” as one of Shakespeare’s heroines once questioned. So see the play. I highly recommend it.”- Epoch Times (KENTUCKY) 

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This satirical comedy had the audience roaring with laugher that became nervous as it revealed the shocking (and infuriating) truths about Japanese Concubines. A sharp and entertaining cultural lesson that delivered a perspective that we need to hear.” -Times Square Chronicles (for Double Suicide at Ueno Park!!!)

” Leah Nanako Winkler’s play is strange, violent, bizarre, hilarious, and unique in every sense of the word. I found myself routinely laughing, shocked, and in awe by this creative and wonderfully powerful piece of theatre. THIS is what Ensemble Studio Theatre does best; it takes big, hard to talk about topics and creates an original and unique form of expression to tell it to the audience. Unlike anything else in the fest, or likely unlike anything else you’ll see soon, Double Suicide at Ueno Park! shows what theatre truly can do: teach, educate, shock, and shine a light upon a world you don’t see everyday.”-The Arts Wire Weekly 

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“Ms. Winkler’s writing is so simple but exquisite in its execution.  In twenty minutes the sad lives of the girls are deftly dramatized with a compelling range of emotion. Visually Stunning…a vivid masterpiece”.-Theatrescene.net (For Double Suicide at Ueno Park!!!)

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Wonderfully, violently, crudely and delightfully subversive. The play snipes at old, but abiding notions of femininity, the fetishization of geishas, ritual suicide and other destructive tropes that linger around the Western idea of Japan, with deadly precision.” –Stage Buddy ((For Double Suicide at Ueno Park!!!) 

“Leah Nanako Winkler’s work is consistently playful…and delights in skewering stereotypes and cliches — often by amplifying them to absurdity. She’s covered the clique-ish realm of high school (complete with Beaver football mascot), the sliding doors of feudal Japan (attended by talking cherry trees suicidal geishas) and the intimate and kinky space of the bedroom (wherein a spurned lover repeats the same plea for acknowledgment — “I’m a person” — 28 times), rendering them all with streaks of humor and pathos.”-Stage Buddy 

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“Double Suicide At Ueno Park by Leah Nanako Winkler, directed by John Giampietro intriguingly roasts the Japanese feudal aesthetic of renunciation of the world…tragedy is not often this funny.  Ditto for clever subversion…. and this all leads to the inevitable brilliance of this piece. “-Ny Theater Now

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“Certainly the most imaginative entry in the series is Double Suicide at Ueno Park…Leah Nanako Winkler, takes a crowbar to the traditional image of the Japanese geisha. (Anyone who thinks Arthur Golden’s popular novelMemoirs of a Geisha is the last word on the subject is in for a stabbing shock.) Winkler has a gift for savage satire that makes me eager to see what she does next, and, in John Giampietro, she has a director who is totally on her wavelength.”- Lighting And Sound America

“ (Flying Snakes)….lets the audience have its fun while also giving them something to think about”-FLAVORPILL

“The narratives that fill their cyberscape are familiar ones: stories of love, of loss, of misunderstandings, of loneliness…..beneath the slick interfaces this is a seething, vibrant world full of people longing to be seen and heard…. creates this world with the deeply-felt conviction of those who inhabit it every day. In form the piece mirrors its subject matter’s diversity by utilizing a pastiche of dance, movement, video, scenes, and songs. While certainly frenetic at times, the piece never loses focus, and all of these disparate elements flow together seamlessly to give the impression of a single, dynamic landscape..” – NYTHEATRE.COM (THE INTERNET)

There have been numerous pieces of theatre, film, television, and literature that have embarked on a journey into the psychologically violent depths of the social impact of female body image on the lives of women and young girls. Big Girls Club (The Happy Happy Dance Princess Show), part of The Brick’s Antidepressant Festival this summer, is maybe the most direct and biting I have experienced. -NYTHEATRE.COM

There is enough story in every moment to fill a thousand blogs.,.. The show itself is great, but what’s more impressive is the way one feels after the show…..the audience is left thinking about which member of the cast most resembles them…and how long it’s been since they cleared their web history”BROADWAY WORLD (THE INTERNET)

“A delight in railing against the theater elite, rich whites and trust-fund kids. (Flying Snakes in 3-D) is sticking a hot poker in the ass of the one-percent.” THE VILLAGE VOICE

“(Flying Snakes In 3-D) ….an ambitious and entertaining night of theater. Expect to laugh and have fun. All of these parody moments were entertaining and wonderful to watch. The subtle references to why doing theater is hard was refreshing….. Maybe we needed that bash. ”THEATER IN THE NOW

 “Delightfully cheesy “special effects”, great acting, and a fast-paced, literate script propel us into the epic struggle of heart vs. pocketbook, dreams vs. the rent is due….A clever piece of theater about theater, FLYING SNAKES IN 3D!! is a wonderful way to pass sixty minutes and laugh till it hurts.”- eljnyc

 “The gentrification of New York’s theater scene gets confronted, tackled, and beaten in this rough comedy of politics and passion”-The Fifth Wall 

 “…groundbreaking, innovative, highly original show. The real message of Flying Snakes in 3D came to you later….wrapped up in layer upon layer of smart, thoughtful, good theatre..that was by the people, of the people and for the people”-THE HAPPIEST MEDIUM

 “Only Everywhere Theatre Group can successfully juxtapose the struggling artist message with a science fiction narrative about snakes…be spellbound by this piece…the tenacity and spirit of the company members, and the rawness and camp rolled together. “-NEW YORK THEATRE REVIEW

 “I’m in agreement, often passionate agreement, with almost all of the sentiments, convictions, and frustrations that underlie Everywhere Theatre Group’s Flying Snakes in 3-D”-NYTHEATRE.COM

 “…All in good fun. The play features imaginative video sequences by Chase Voorhees and you even get to pelt the actors with rubber snakes. In one particularly jarring juxtaposition, a (Winkler’s) candid monologue about her love for theater is spliced with a histrionic scene in which the two scientists accuse each other of creating the killer king cobras.”- Stage And Cinema

 “A hilarious and unexpectedly touching story of why we make theatre and how to save the world from killer flying snakes….heartfelt ….a refreshingly original piece of theatre that is pretty damn funny, yet still asks the audience to take an honest emotional journey and really see the artist behind the crazy characters on stage….  pretty freakin’ fantastic. ”-THE EASY

“Weirdly, Flying Snakes in 3D!! may well be the show that generated the most interesting discussion thissummer in New York.”- Culturebot

“…Sydney Black veers sharply into self-reflective parody….Winkler’s absurdist comedy deftly handles these collective fourth wall-shattering moments without spiraling into cheap pastiche.”- Sun Sentinel
 “This ambitious piece of original theater, written and directed by Leah Winkler, feels, at times, like a cubist episode of the Twilight Zone. Winkler creates a kind of echo chamber of memory, combining scraps of movement with live music and text to investigate the suicide of a frustrated composer. The music, performed by a trio of musicians on stage, is brilliant and performances by Marc Szewczyk and Robin Darling are effective.  ……it’ll stick with you when other Fringe shows are just a blur” David Hoppe, Nuvo News Weekly