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Brooks Appelbaum

Brooks Appelbaum

Brooks has been writing theater reviews since her undergraduate days, and her critical writings have appeared in The New Yorker, the New Haven Magazine, and elsewhere. She currently writes about theater for the Shoreline Times and is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle.

Brooks’ theater criticism is informed by a lifetime of acting and directing experience. She and her husband, Dennis Bell, co-founded their own theater company, AppleBell Productions, and their 70-seat house sold out almost every performance. The business ran in the black for three years, until they left for the East Coast.

Brooks studied directing with Arno Selco, then head of the theatre department at Ithaca College, and with Resident Director Evan Yionoulis in Yale’s Summer Directing Program, among others. In academic, amateur, and professional settings, Brooks has directed over twenty plays by such writers as Sam Shepard, Horton Foote, Steven Dietz, A.R. Gurney, Lanford Wilson, and Thornton Wilder.

An actress for many years, Brooks’ favorite roles include Laura in The Glass Menagerie, Carol in Oleanna, Portia in The Merchant of Venice, and Nan/Lina in Richard Greenberg’s Three Days of Rain.

Brooks has taught acting in a wide range of settings, including adult classes, high school theater departments, and AppleBell Productions’ acting program. At Quinnipiac University, Brooks teaches in the English Department, Women and Gender Studies, First Year Seminar, and her own course, "From Script to Stage" in the Theatre Department. 

Brooks graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University and earned her Ph.D. in English Literature from Cornell.




BWW Review: CHOIR BOY at Yale Repertory Theatre
April 11, 2022

Tarell Alvin McCraney's CHOIR BOY, playing at Yale Repertory Theatre through April 23, is directed by the prodigiously talented Christopher D. Betts; Betts has created a terrific production, for the most part, with outstanding acting, singing, and scenic, lighting, and costume design. The play itself has some predictable elements, but for the most part Betts' interpretation makes for a thought-provoking and moving experience.

BWW Review: DREAM HOU$E at Long Wharf Theatre
March 26, 2022

BWW Review: THIS BITTER EARTH at TheaterWorks Hartford
March 1, 2022

This Bitter Earth, playing at TheaterWorks in Hartford through March 20, is a moving and poetic work that explores the love between two men, Jesse and Neil, and their central conflict.

December 9, 2019

Some may doubt that a stage adaptation of the terrifically inventive, romantic, and witty 1998 film, 'Shakespeare in Love,' could possibly succeed. However, Connecticut Repertory Theatre's current production, expertly directed by Vincent Tycer and acted by a vibrant, masterful cast, proves that setting this story--which is about theater, after all--in an actual theater, creates a magic all its own. This production is, without a doubt, 'a hit! a palpable hit!'