, Joe Calarco, Writer/Director, SSDC

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by William Finn



Philadelphia Theatre Company

photos courtesy Philadelphia Theatre Company production of Elegies

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Signature Theatre, VA

photos courtesy Signature Theatre production of Elegies

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  foreground: Michael Sharp


Will Gartshore, Sherri Edelen


foreground: Donna Migliaccio, background: Sherri Edelen


Michael Sharp & Donna Migliaccio


Michael Sharp, Will Gartshore


Donna Migliaccio, Will Gartshore


Sherri Edelen



"Elegies is engrossing, moving, and very much upbeat. The Philadelphia Theatre Company gives Elegies, forgive me, a dead-on production. Joe Calarco directs one bouncy paean to eternal rest. He's aided by fine theatrical voices, plus nonstop pianist Kimberly Grigsby, ticker-tape snow, floating lanterns, and other effects from set designer James Kronzer - and striking lighting by Chris Lee."
The Philadelphia Inquirer


"The Philadelphia Theatre Company pulls off a masterful production of the musical Elegies. The show teams director Joe Calarco and lighting designer Chris Lee, who together worked serious magic on PTC's Barrymore Award-winning production of Jason Robert Brown's song cycle The Last Five Years. Calarco has wisely cast the production with performers who are both strong vocalists and accomplished actors. Elegies doesn't just meet expectations-it exceeds them."
The Philadelphia Weekly


"Joe Calarco has fashioned a touching and cohesive 90 minutes out of the song cycle, no easy feat without the aid of a book. Kudos also to the cast of five, led by Finn veteran Michael Rupert, for bringing emotional integrity to material that could easily have been overperformed."
The New York Blade


"William Finn's Elegies: A Song Cycle is a heartfelt, often moving celebration of life. Joe Calarco's inventive staging for the Philadelphia Theatre Company brings out the best in these songs, heightening their theatrical elements with fascinating touches. Calarco's ever-moving staging makes Elegies fascinating to watch. He is a director with a deep understanding of his material and exciting ideas on how to present it."





"Easily one of the high points of the season, Signature Theatre's Elegies is, in a word, heavenly. Performed to perfection by a gifted, seamlessly assembled quintet. An evening of singular style and grace, this melodic trip to the cemetery gates leaves you feeling swell."
Washington Post


"A hauntingly beautiful production. The five actors acquit themselves with polished, impassioned performances that never go over the top.

This glorious musical goes beyond mourning and looking back — it urges us to look up."
The Washington Times


"Elegies is touching, funny, and ultimately buoyant; floating on the spirits of those who inhabit its songs. Calarco's dark, spare stage showcases the songs as the stars and thus the show flows on a current of emotion, like a celebratory wake. Signature Theatre has taken Mr. Finn's work and created a wonderful musical feast."
Curtain Up


"Director Joe Calarco's refusal to treat the material as just songs is the key to the success of the evening. He stages each song as a stand-alone scene, almost a one act play, but he ties them all together. The singing is simply splendid, and it is the acting that turns the evening into something very special."
Potomac Stages


"Directed by Joe Calarco, the piece has an unearthly quality that works well. The show moves effortlessly from one number to the next.

The entire ensemble performs the score beautifully. They complement each other well. This group also proves to be excellent actors. Each one breaths life into the songs they sing."


"Elegies is ably directed by Joe Calarco and well lit by Chris Lee. When theater is good—and this show is very good— the audience’s heart and soul are engaged."
The Washingtonian


"Vibrant. Bracing and celebratory. The show's full-voiced chameleonic cast paints the portraits indelibly."
Washington City Paper


Shakespeare's R&J     Sarah, Plain & Tall    Boy    My Fair Lady    Elegies     in the absence of spring     Of Mice and Men     Side Show
The Last Five Years     A Midsummer Night's Dream     Nijinsky's Last Dance
   The Summer of the Swans   Urinetown   The Mistress Cycle
Twice Charmed    Assassins    The Burnt Part Boys

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