Review Roundup: Thomas Sweitzer's 20 SECONDS

20 Seconds will run at The Irene Diamond Stage through October 21. 

By: Sep. 25, 2023
Review Roundup: Thomas Sweitzer's 20 SECONDS

Thomas Sweitzer's award-winning tale of love, forgiveness, resilience and the extraordinary power of music, 20 Seconds just celebrated its opening night! Written and performed by Sweitzer, with direction and development by Jeremy Scott Blaustein (Producing Artistic Director of Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre), 20 Seconds is now in performances at The Irene Diamond Stage at the Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street) through October 21. 

20 Seconds is an inspiring testimony to the uplifting power of music at all stages of life. Music provided companionship when Tom couldn’t find it in a destructive home. Years later, music shaped Tom’s career as a therapist, allowing him to augment his penchant for song with clinical, research-based practices.

Let's see what the critics had to say...

Marcina Zaccaria, Theater Pizzazz: Piano music sails past effortlessly, adding polish to what might be misconstrued as an otherwise gritty open mic night. Sweitzer’s confessional truth is told, from Pennsylvania to Northern Virginia. He is more than a solo artist, though. The Co-Founder, Creative Director, and Head of Music Therapy at A Place To Be, Sweitzer has helped families seeking music therapy. While 20 Seconds almost feels like an advertisement for his non-profit organization, it’s really an affirmation of why he makes music and how one man can build a better future. 

Alix Cohen, Woman Around Town: Except for the need of some median editing, the piece flows. Neither songs nor some vocalized dialogue have melody which makes them difficult to let in, however. Humor is a bit too rare. Sweitzer’s story is harrowing yet he doesn’t tell it with self pity or histrionics. The playwright/actor is an appealing and sympathetic person. It’s a miracle to have not only survived his childhood, but to have turned his life around altruistically. There’s resilience and hope here for those struggling.

Cary Wong, The Interested Bystander: I didn’t know anything about him, and I would suggest, if you can, to let it be a surprise as well. Most people would say they would do and go through everything in their past again because it all leads them to where they are now. I’m not sure Sweitzer would agree but knowing he not only survived but is thriving and helping others, leads me to believe he was always destined to be a healer. This play, with sensitive but unblinking direction by Jeremy Scott Blaustein, is Thomas Sweitzer’s crucible, and it’s a fascinating and ultimately, rewarding journey. 

Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel

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