NOMINATED for 2 L.A. Drama Critics' Circle Awards!
Production of the Year
Ensemble Performance

NOMINATED for a GLAAD Media Award!
Outstanding Los Angeles Theatre Production

NOMINATED for 3 LA Weekly Theatre Awards!
Best Comedy Ensemble

Best Female Comedy Performance - Christine Lakin
Best Male Comedy Performance - Jaden Leigh

TOP TEN OF 2008 – Frontiers Magazine (Les Spindle)

FIRST PREVIEW: May 31, 2008
OPENED: June 7, 2008


"Royal’s script skillfully delves into some weighty issues, such as self-love and loathing, identity crisis, sexual politics and bigotry. Even more remarkable is the wonderful balance maintained between the whimsy and the social commentary. Royal poignantly captures the angst, folly and raging hormones that surge through teenagers. Nick DeGruccio’s exceptionally fine direction leads to sharp, well-modulated performances." -- Lovell Estell III, LA Weekly

Andrea Bowen as CB'S SISTER and Joseph Porter as CB

"Bert V. Royal's uproarious yet bittersweet Off-Broadway play is an affectionate riff on Charles Schulz's beloved Peanuts comic-strip characters, spiced up with cheeky irreverence. Director Nick DeGruccio and a spirited cast capture the humor and heart in Royal's irresistible existential comedy.  One needn't be a teenager nor intimately familiar with Peanuts to relish this alternately hilarious and heart-rending fable, which imparts universal life lessons of self-acceptance and tolerance." 
-- Les Spindle, Back Stage West

Christine Lakin as TRICIA and Lauren Robyne as MARCY

"The L.A. Premiere of 'Dog Sees God', directed by Nick DeGruccio for the Havok Theatre Company, is good indeed.  Scabrously funny and acted with take-no-prisoners relish, 'Dog Sees God' should leave you howling until just about the moment where the laughs catch in your throat." -- Evan Henderson, Daily News

Wyatt Fenner as BEETHOVEN and Joseph Porter as CB

ROAR OF THE CROWD Winner! - Goldstar Events

Joseph Porter as CB and Jaden Leigh as VAN

"Consistently marvelous!  Nick DeGruccio's direction is as bright and inventive as the material, nimbly leaping from the sharply satirical to the emotionally resonant, while never losing sight of the grounded whimsy of the comic from which the piece draws its inspiration."  -- Wenzel Jones, Frontiers Magazine

Christine Lakin as TRICIA, Nick Ballard as MATT, and Lauren Robyne as MARCY

"DeGruccio and his attractive and energetic cast mine the material for every ounce of ribald humor and lump-in-the-throat drama.  It's unlikely that you'll find a more delectable summer tonic."-- Les Spindle, IN Magazine

Megan McNulty as VAN'S SISTER and Joseph Porter as CB

"It’s taken a few years for 'Dog Sees God' to make it to L.A. Thankfully, the exciting new Havok Theatre Company has chosen it as their second production, following the brilliant 'Thrill Me: The Story Of Leopold And Loeb'.  Lightning can indeed strike twice, and DeGruccio proves himself equally adept at comedy/drama as he has proven again and again with the musicals he has worked his magic on...I’ve already seen 'Dog Sees God' twice and I’m going back again.  It’s not often that a production affects me as strongly as this one most definitely has." -- Steven Stanley,

Photos above by Michael Lamont

Photo by April Shih




NOMINATED for 2 Ovation Awards!
Best Musical - Intimate Theatre
Lighting Design - Steven Young

WINNER of an L.A. Drama Critics' Circle Award!
Lighting Design - Steven Young

TOP TEN OF 2008 – Frontiers Magazine (Wenzel Jones & Les Spindle)

Photos by Michael Lamont

OPENED: January 25, 2008

CRITIC'S PICK! - Back Stage West
FOUR STARS! - Frontiers


"Now in its Los Angeles premiere at the Hudson Backstage, Thrill Me proves a propitious debut for the Havok Theatre Company.  Stephen Dolginoff's two-character musical about youthful thrill killers Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb may challenge the audience's powers of empathy, but director Nick DeGruccio's taut staging and wrenching performances by Stewart W. Calhoun and Alex Schemmer make us care, almost in spite of ourselves." 
— F. Kathleen Foley
Feb. 1, 2008


"...we're drawn into an erotically claustrophobic relationship between the needy Leopold and his bullying, Nietzsche-reading lover, Loeb (Alex Schemmer). Calhoun and Schemmer have just the right chemistry to make this asymmetrical relationship believable — and strangely endearing at times. Dolginoff's songs, guided by pianist Michael Paternostro, tend to be spare but affecting declarations... Director Nick DeGruccio knows the difference between thrill and shock, and keeps the evening from lapsing into Grand Guignol. He is aided by Steven Young's moody lighting plot and Tom Buderwitz's set, which is dominated by spiraling platforms that rise above a blood-spattered cyclorama."  -- Steven Mikulan, Jan. 28, 2008

Hollywood Reporter

"Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story has shown up as the inaugural presentation of Havok Theatre Company.   It is a tantalizingly good choice that resonates with Truman Capote's In Cold Blood and bodes well for the company's won't forget Stewart W. Calhoun's fierce performance as Nathan Leopold." -- Laurence Vittes, Jan. 30, 2008

"The production is graced by the compelling vision and astute artistry of director Nick DeGruccio and a dynamite cast of two (Stewart Calhoun and Alex Schemmer).  DeGruccio pulls no punches in depicting chemistry between the boys that's as passionate as it is deadly.  His eloquent staging seethes with erotic energy and dramatic intensity, greatly aided by the contributions of the design team: Tom Buderwitz (set), Steven Young (lighting), Rachel Myers (costumes) and Drew Dalzell (sound).  Golden-voiced Calhoun offers a mesmerizing characterization.  Schemmer brilliantly captures Loeb's steely narcissism and cruelty.  Producer Chad Borden and artistic director DeGruccio, of the new Havok Theatre Company, have launched their venture in high-flying style." - Les Spindle, IN Magazine

 "Thrill Me most definitely engrosses, captivates, and ultimately, indeed, thrills...under Nick DeGruccio’s impeccable direction, it is likely to be one of the most talked about, and praised, musicals of 2008."  --  Steven Stanley,

"Chad Borden has produced a thunderbolt for the premiere of Havok Theatre Company...  Nick DeGruccio's direction deftly catches the nuances and mood swings of the couple, enhanced by Steven Young's lighting design...  Stewart W. Calhoun finds the scheming neediness in Leopold and has a splendid voice that could easily scale much bigger shows than this.  Alex Schemmer's Dickie has the perfect decadent 1920s slouch and makes taunting and tormenting Leopold so much fun... The duets are a perfect blend."  --  Laura Hitchcock,

Photos by Michael Lamont




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