Joe Pintauro



theater reviews



Pintauro preaches positivism but not dumb optimism, realism rather than fatalism: and he affirms and celebrates love amid the acerbic banter.  It's the detail in the performances and the witty, weepy impact of dialogue that triumphantly elevates Pintauros writing. 
NICK CURTIS,  THE EVENING STANDARD, LONDON.  Jan 19, 1995.

'The question of forgiveness is angled here even more uncomfortably than in "Angels in America,"  Donalds unforgiven ghost haunts the group session which Pintauro presents to us in all its heart-wrenching, recrimination ridden and blackly comical emotional messiness." 
PAUL TAYLOR, THE INDEPENDENT, LONDON.

The excitement of "RAFT" is that you never know where it will go next.  It achieves extraordinary highs and lows.  Following it, I both laughed and cried several times.   Several aspects resemble Tony Kushner's "Angels in America,"  which came after "Raft", but Pintauro's dramaturgy is less schematic and his writing more sensitive to human feeling in all its peaks and troughs.  The issues become unusually gripping here because Pintauro's stage world is persuasive.   It is the finest AIDS drama I have seen.    
ALISTAIR MACAULAY,  THE TIMES, LONDON.

AMERICAN DIVINE (1995-6), CHICAGO.
Nominated for six Jeffersons for 1995, it appeared in four major "Year End Best" Lists, was called "Best Play of 1995" by The Reader and The New City and has been invited to The Traverse Theatre, Edinborough Festival, August, 1996.

"The umbrella title of the three-part production of 26 short plays required a trio of directors and a cast of 21.  This impressive epic also required and found a unifying vision to encompass the saints and sinners and the dreamers and destroyers of Pintauro's sacred and profane world.  There are bursts of unforgettable poetry.  Pintauros greatest strength is his poetic impulse--a lush blend of lyricism and mean streets rage.   All of Pintauro's characters are torn between sinning and penitence."
HEDY WEISS, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.

"Pintauro uses poetic devices to link the plays thematically and the actors are true to the work as literature as well as psychological drama.  If they had compressed the best of Pintauro's playlets into one or perhaps two programs, American Divine would be a masterpiece.  As it is, it is simply superb."
ALBERT WILLIAMS, THE CHICAGO READER (AND AMERICAN THEATRE)

"So sublime is this production, I left the theatre in an altered state.  In play after play of this beautiful, hopeful evening, we see the alienated enlightened and the estranged reunited.  As you might expect from a playwright who avoids Hallmark moments like the plague, few of these reconciliations are conventional. "
NEW CITY, CHICAGO.

BY THE SEA, BY THE SEA, BY THE BEAUTIFUL SEA.
"This was another of Manhattan Theatre Club's clever, quicksilver, wry, ironic takes--in an elegantly realist, blue and gold, but never literalist vein--on contemporary life."
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

BY THE SEA, BY THE SEA, BY THE BEAUTIFUL SEA.
"To an irreconcilable rivalry, Mr.  Pintauro brings an uncommon gift of clarity, toughened by the reality of psychological truths and damages, tempered by an outcry from the heart.   It is so moving as to cause one to marvel at how the language of theater art can express the accumulated rage, the scarred disclosures--all that is so patly called life's baggage--with the focus and empathy that real life, blindingly defensive, does not allow.  Without resorting to fake reconciliation, Mr. Pintauro's compassionate cameo eloquently takes in a husband's devotion to his wife.  In a stunning final tableau, it becomes dramatially evident that a theatrical moment can be momentous."
NEW YORK TIMES.

"Pintauro's play, DAWN, in this trilogy with Lanford Wilson and Terrence McNally, is not only the best but also of a quite different tonality.  Here is a savage, Albee-like evisceration of a family's values, as Pintauro's verbal scalpel strips his characters to the bone in double-quick time.   This is impressive."
CLIVE BARNES,  NEW YORK POST.

BESIDE HERSELF, (1992) 
Pintauro’s Augie-Jake. PLAYED BY WILLIAM HURT,is a coarse UPS man presented as neither savior nor martyr. He’s not a sex symbol or musician; he doesn’t dress like a rock star or lead the picturesque life of a drifter. He’s just a shy, awkward man, lonely because he’s preoccupied with his health. ...unlike Orpheus Descending..., Pintauro demands less than Tennesee Williams of his audience and his heroine. It's as though he set out to dismantle the older-woman/blue collar-stud cliche' and he rings changes on just about every other literary device--from wounded animal imagery, (a dying bear) to the use of flashbacks. Instead of watching a character relive past events (Willy Loman style), we see characters from the past taking an unnatural interest in what is going on in the present. It's funny and poignant and one of the best uses I've seen of the device of representing the divided self by more than one actor. Like the ghosts in "Our Town", Pintauro gives each character his own agenda. There's a generosity toward actors in the way he gives apparations a thematic and psychological function."
THE NEW YORKER