ďTHE LAST SESSIONĒ FROM COAST TO COAST _
Best Musical Nomination - New York Drama League
Best Musical Nomination - Outer Critics Circle
The Last Session is a sleeper hit of a musical running at the 47th Street Theatre. Though the central character has AIDS, The Last Session is not a depressing experience. It features talented actor-singers, Steve Schalchlinís wonderful score (the story is based on Schalchlinís own life) and Jim Brochuís book(he also directed the show. Donít miss that one!
Liz Smith (November 10, 1997)
The best AIDS inspired song Iíve heard in the last fifteen years is Going It Alone which closes the first act of The Last Session. In the ballad, a dying man comes to the realization that while he may be on his own in a losing battle, his longtime companion could be experiencing the same isolation. Itís a heartbreaking outcry in a heart-mending show. Jim Brochu has created a comedy-drama wrenched from deep places within himself. The cast sings like tarnished angels and act like the devil.
Village Voice, David Finkle (June 16, 1997)
Funny! Enlightening! Enjoyable! Trust me, The Last Session is a life affirming musical that packs it all in, and with a bigger bang than many a glitzier, neon-light fronted show, fueled by its very unique energies and strengths.
Curtain Up, Elyse Sommer (October 1997)
Winner GLAAD Media Award - Best LA Theatre Production
Winner - Best Score - Los Angeles Drama Critics Award
Winner - Best Book - Los Angeles Drama Critics Award
Winner - P-FLAG Oscar Wilde Award
Best Musical Nominee - LA Ovation Award
Top 10 of 1998 - Los Angeles Times
Top 10 of 1998 - Los Angeles Frontiers Magazine
The Last Session is screamingly funny, yet love is everywhere. Individually, the cast are vocal dynamos but singing in harmony they are heaven on earth. The audience joins in a chorus of sniffles. Written from the heart, Schalchlinís gospel tinged pop tunes exert a rare emotional pull and BrochuĎs story telling allows them to emerge realistically out of the action. Again and again, a fierce drive takes overtakes the tunes melodic strains. Itís life taking hold again - hope rising on powerful wings. Critics Choice.
Los Angeles Times, Daryl H. Miller (December 7, 1998)
No ifs ands or buts, you have to get yourself to The Last Session - a raucous cacophony of morals, music, religion, life and love and ten powerful musical routines that will blow you away. Be prepared for dialogue that is quick, witty, wicked and wonderful. Through a variety of musical styles - gospel, rhythm and blues, rock and roll and pop - The Last Session is so rousing, heart warming, full of life and healing (and also uproariously funny) that it had the opening night audience on its feet for a full five minutes.
Long Beach Press Telegram (December 10, 1998)
The premise is simple but the characters are rich, the script crackles with wit, the songs are stirring and the cast is terrific. Composer Schalchlin provides soaring anthems and stinging satire while writer-director Brochu keeps the energy high and the laughs frequent. Pick of the Week.
L.A. Weekly, Neal Weaver (December 10, 1998)
Brochu and Schalchlin use a remarkable blend of music and humor to offer a memorable tribute to plain and simple courage. The Last Session is a moving testament to the power of love, loyalty and friendship. Pick of the week.
Backstage West, Teri Roberts (December 10, 1998)
The Last Session is a life-affirming celebration: An intimate musical with impressive dialectical fireworks and exceptionally enjoyable songs.
Orange County Register (September 20, 1998)
Schalchlinís score is both moving and melodic. His solid anthems ring true, beginning with the lightly humorous and tender ďSave Me A Seat.ď a moving ballad in which Gideon imagines his own memorial service. The Last Session rings true when it touches on Buddyís crisis of faith and reach deep when Buddy lays hands on Gideon in a prayer of healing. The unlikely pair square off in a holy moment that resonates beautiful of grace.
San Francisco Examiner, Pamela Fisher (June 19, 1999)
Itís a hell of a show. This is my second time seeing this powerful musical. I love it in Los Angeles and I love it here. Schalchlinís emotional score blends gospel and rock, and even though the songs speak of AIDS they have n upbeat tempo that is never depressing. Jim Brochuís book is bright and funny. Direction is fast and crisp. If you want to see a ďHell of a MusicalĒ I highly recommend The Last Session.
Talkiní Broadway, Richard Connema (June 21, 1999)
The Last Session, an off-Broadway musical about a dying singer/songwriter can cast theatergoers into a sea in which waves of poignancy, joy, distress, fear and empathy surge over them. The conflict between the two driven women - longtime, unfriendly rivals, provides some of the nights best comedy. A must-see.
Denver Post, Ed Will (June 18, 1999)
Forget the bleak subject matter, The Last Session has plenty of heart to make up for it. Itís a highly personal piece that succeeds because of its intimacy and unvarnished sincerity.
Rocky Mountain News, Tom Wise (June 18. 1999)
What we should all do is form an orderly line up at 12th and Vine in the lobby of the Ensemble Studio Theatre and thank Producing Director Lynn Meyers for bring Steve Schalchlin to town in his energizing musical, The Last Session. Itís a gift. Grave thoughts on the subjects of fright, frustration, anger, depression and AIDS are investigated with power, point and poignancy as well as wit and no small measure of mordent humor.
Cincinnati City Beat, Tom Cleverish ((July 11, 2000)
They donít come more heartfelt than The Last Session, the off-Broadway musical that the Downstairs Cabaret Theatre opened last night. The show combines biting humor and heart-tugging pathos, a tricky feat this production pulls off handily. The women trade insult while the recording engineer adds sardonic commentary from the booth. The edgy humor is the ideal balance to the often wrenching music. For the audience, it makes a full and moving experience. The Downstairs Cabaret Theatreís roof stays on but I donít know how.
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Mark Liu (January, 2001)
LAGUNA BEACH, CA
The Last Session is a hilarious, poignant and ultimately very moving play that works on many levels and unfolds with a brilliant blending of naturalistic type and theatrical imagery. The play is as inspiring as it is entertaining and the real beauty of it is the handling of a subject that has been too often beaten to death and cliché ridden in contemporary theatre. The whole play is a song about life and living.
The Laguna Beach Press, Tom Swimm (September 28, 1998)