A So. Cal. Contributing Editor since 2009, Michael Lawrence Quintos is a talented, mild-mannered Designer by day. But as night falls, he regularly performs on various stages everywhere as a Countertenor soloist, actor, and dancer for MenAlive since 2002. He sings everything from Broadway, Jazz, R&B, Classical, Gospel and Pop, and has shared the stage with Bernadette Peters, Debbie Reynolds, Michael Feinstein, and Liza Minnelli. His musical theater roots started early, performing in various stage productions and a couple of nationally-televised programs. The performing bug eventually brought him a brief championship run in the Philippines' version of "Star Search" before moving to Las Vegas at age 11. College brought him out to Orange County, California, where he earned a BFA in Graphic Design and a BA in Film Screenwriting. He has spent several years as a designer and art director for various media companies, while spending his free time performing in or critiquing shows.
Follow Michael on Twitter or Instagram @cre8iveMLQ.
While its original production, as most Broadway shows go, offered the expected big sets, first-rate costumes, and impressive production values, the 2015 Tony Award-winning revival production of THE COLOR PUPLE---currently slaying audiences for a week-long stop at Orange County's Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa through June 24---is decidedly more subdued and scaled-down by comparison, allowing the songs, the story, and the cast performances to shine on their own merits instead. The resulting show is a powerful, uplifting one, bathed in a loving, spiritual embrace that shines a light on the struggles, the insecurities, the passions, and the tenacity of African-American women living in the early decades of the 20th Century. I can say without hesitation that this revival production is an excellent way to experience this beautiful, touching, and ultimately triumphant musical.BWW Review: Lively New Production of NEWSIES Carries the Banner in La Mirada June 5, 2018
Admirably directed and choreographed by Richard J. Hinds, La Mirada Theatre's NEWSIES aims to be an amiable hybrid between the popularly-received original show and a new iteration that feels fresh for us Fansies forever obsessed with the earlier Disney-backed production that played Broadway and went on tour for a few years. Filled with high-energy music and dancing and a lively, eager-to-please spirit embedded in its DNA, this brand-new Southern California regional theater production of NEWSIES---which continues performances at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts through June 24---is a wonderfully caffeinated jolt of a stage show, highlighted by a remarkably talented and athletically-blessed ensemble that leaps and belts one show stopping number after another. What a treat for every Fansie!BWW Review: South Coast Repertory Revisits Wendy Wasserstein's THE SISTERS ROSENSWEIG May 25, 2018
Despite being birthed in the early 1990's, THE SISTERS ROSENSWEIG-the late Pulitzer Prize-winning Wendy Wasserstein's acerbically witty and vibrantly poignant play about a trio of fascinating, strong-willed Jewish-American sisters-has a remarkably timeless, relatable quality, evidenced by South Coast Repertory's delightful and beautifully-acted OC revival production now continuing performances in Costa Mesa through June 2. Thanks to its naturally appealing characters that don't feel like stock archetypes trapped in a retro bubble, the play-under the keen direction of Casey Stangl-comes across as a contemporary-leaning, very thoughtful theatrical piece populated by strong, three-dimensional female characters.BWW Review: OC's Segerstrom Center Finally Becomes the Room Where HAMILTON Happens May 15, 2018
For three years, I have obsessed over the Original Broadway Cast Album of Lin-Manuel Miranda's ingeniously constructed, powerfully-rendered musical masterpiece HAMILTON, mostly because it just wasn't possible for me to see the show at its home at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York. Fast forward to Fall of 2017 and the show finally makes its long stop in Los Angeles. I snagged a ticket and it was transcendent. Fast forward again to now May 2018, and the show's second national tour has finally arrived in my back yard at OC's Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa for a three-week run through May 27. This production not only successfully reignited my love for this show, but it has also promptly solidified it as, in my humble opinion, one of the best musicals of all time. Apart from being one of the most undeniably creative stage shows ever produced for the American theater, HAMILTON is also one of the most deeply moving and shrewdly intelligent stage musicals I have ever experienced---made even better thanks to an insanely talented ensemble cast that raps, sings, and acts their way into this gripping, very American story.
All that hype? Completely justified.BWW Review: The Phantom Stages A Comeback in LOVE NEVER DIES at Segerstrom Center May 1, 2018
There are many, very obvious spectacular things that stand out while watching LOVE NEVER DIES, Andrew Lloyd Webber's infamously, uh, troubled 2010 musical follow-up to his long-running global hit THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, now continuing its two-week engagement at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa through May 5, 2018. While, sure, the show is stunning in its visual artistry and musical performances, the rest is repetitively frustrating. Unless you're a huge PHANTOM fan already or are perhaps maybe morbidly curious as to what the fuss is all about---LOVE NEVER DIES, sadly, doesn't offer much else to audiences beyond its superficial surface beauty.BWW Review: Appealing New Production of SOUTH PACIFIC Sails Into La Mirada Theater April 27, 2018
Armed with a grand, sweeping songbook from Rodgers and Hammerstein, and a romantic, progressive-for-its-time book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan, it is difficult not to be continually enchanted by SOUTH PACIFIC, the groundbreaking 1949 stage musical based on James A. Michener's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Even better sandwiched between memorable songs, romantic interludes, and cheeky, comedic banter is the show's surprisingly candid exploration of race relations---a topic that is, of course, still very much top-of-mind in today's seemingly more divided world. With such important ideological stakes in mind, when a production of this musical presents its material well and in the best possible light, you're almost always guaranteed a show that can still pack an emotional wallop while entertaining you at the same time. Such is the case with McCoy Rigby Entertainment's irresistibly appealing new production of SOUTH PACIFIC, now currently on stage at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts through May 13, 2018.BWW Review: Haunting World Premiere Play LITTLE BLACK SHADOWS Sees the Light at South Coast Repertory April 24, 2018
What our schoolbooks lack in historical accuracy, art can sometimes pick up the slack by being a reliable, more enthusiastic source to fill in those gaps. This becomes abundantly clear immediately upon experiencing the haunting yet beautifully-dramatized world premiere play LITTLE BLACK SHADOWS, Kemp Powers' captivating new drama under the astute direction of May Adrales, that is now continuing its final set of performances at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa through April 29. Visually striking and richly layered, the play piques the audience's curiosity with its riveting storytelling while educating them on a side of American slavery that most probably didn't know too much about before.BWW Review: Nathan Gunn Aims High with FLYING SOLO at the Laguna Playhouse April 17, 2018
One of America's most accomplished and in-demand Baritones today, Nathan Gunn has one of those deeply lush singing voices that can pierce your heart just as it can effortlessly command the room's attention. He does exactly both with his impressive world premiere one-man show FLYING SOLO which continues its remaining performances at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach, CA through April 22. Written and directed by frequent musical biographer Hershey Felder---and inspired by Gunn's own real life story thus far---this leisurely paced yet still quite riveting autobiographical musical is a stunner both with its touching, relatable narrative and Gunn's entertaining, charismatic performing style.BWW Review: Musical Theatre West Surprises with the Delightful NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT April 13, 2018
Once in a while, you come across a stage show that, on paper, may not have had the buzz that other high-profile shows may have had initially, but then you see it and it just completely surprises you in the best possible way. That pretty much sums up my recent experience with the oh-so delightful NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT, Musical Theatre West's buoyant and sublime new regional production of the 10-time Tony Award-nominated 2012 musical comedy now on stage at the Richard and Karen Carpenter Center for the Performing Arts in Long Beach, CA through April 22. An irresistibly silly and infectiously tuneful stage show that will have you smiling from start to finish, this roaring 20's throwback with modern sensibilities provides lots of zany antics, lots of witty one-liners, and lots of spectacular song-and-dance showstoppers that will have you wondering---where has this show been all my life?BWW Review: South Coast Repertory Stages World Premiere of SHREW! April 12, 2018
How do you "fix" the misogyny of Shakespeare's now antiquated THE TAMING OF THE SHREW? For playwright Amy Freed, it means injecting it with a noticeable dose of equality empowerment, and then shifting its characters' traits and motivations as if written from a female's perspective. That is the premise of South Coast Repertory's latest World Premiere production SHREW!-which continues performances in Costa Mesa through April 21. The results? A funny but flawed update with good intentions.BWW Review: 10 Reasons Why THE BOOK OF MORMON Tour at Segerstrom Arts Is Still a Hella Funny, Hella Good Show March 28, 2018
The tragic events surrounding the rise of the Khmer Rouge regime in mid-70's Cambodia serves as the overarching backdrop that links the past and the (near) present in Lauren Yee's stunning new play CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND---which continues its World Premiere production at Orange County's Tony Award-winning regional theatre South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa through March 25, 2018. Commissioned by SCR as part of its CrossRoads Initiative, this powerful and searing new drama---sprinkled with welcome bits of comedy and, yes, rock concert music interludes---had its initial staged reading at last year's Pacific Playwright's Festival and is now an absorbing, full-fledged production under the admirable direction of Chay Yew.BWW Review: Melanie Griffith Headlines Stage Adaptation of THE GRADUATE at the Laguna Playhouse March 6, 2018
Golden Globe winner Melanie Griffith can now be seen on stage playing pop culture's most famous cougar, Mrs. Robinson---the infamous 'mom of a certain age' who uses her predatory sexuality to seduce a recent college graduate into entering a torrid affair---in a new production of THE GRADUATE, which continues its just-extended engagement at the Laguna Playhouse through March 25, 2018 in Laguna Beach, CA. On paper, the role seems like a perfect fit for the now 60-year-old star who has demonstrated prior success in playing sultry, seductive women. But in this production, the results---like the dysfunctional relationships that criss-cross in this play---aren't as well-matched as you'd hope it would be.BWW Review: Segerstrom Center Welcomes the Gorgeous Lincoln Center Theater Production of THE KING AND I March 1, 2018
Featuring outstanding performances from a cast led by Laura Michelle Kelly and Jose Llana, the beautiful and exquisite national tour production of Lincoln Center Theater's Tony Award-winning revival of the 1951 Rodgers and Hammerstein classic THE KING AND I leaves audiences utterly spellbound by its sweeping opulence and gorgeous, reverent staging-which notably combines the elegance and grace of the classic musical many of us have known and loved for decades with a knowing sensitivity to modern times that we exist in today. The national tour production continues its two-week run of performances at Orange County's Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa that continues through March 11, 2018.BWW Review: Musical Theatre West Bets on Charming New Production of GUYS AND DOLLS February 27, 2018
Buoyantly bright, unabashedly old-fashioned, and yet irresistibly enjoyable, Musical Theatre West's new production of GUYS AND DOLLS manages to preserve its infamous old-school charms without making it unapproachable for 21st Century audiences. For the most part, MTW's new local revival looks and sounds like a wonderful throwback to this musical's roots, recreated reverently as if to reiterate all of its smile-inducing properties to be enjoyed by both traditionalists and newbies alike. From Frank Loesser's timeless music and lyrics (which includes now standards 'Luck Be A Lady,' and 'I've Never Been in Love') to the cheeky-for-its-time book by Abe Burrows and Jo Swerling, this GUYS AND DOLLS places much of its bets on the show's built-in, inherent nostalgia, performed well by its energetic, highly enthusiastic cast.BWW Review: OC's Chance Theater presents Touching Musical VIOLET February 15, 2018
A quieter, more down-to-earth musical-but done so with a bellowing musical prowess thanks to book writer and lyricist Brian Crawley and composer Jeanine Tesori-VIOLET explores the multiple layers of feelings associated with being and living life as an 'other' within an environment that promotes (and unfairly rewards) societal normalcy and uniformity-and all the baggage that comes with it. The delicate yet still poignantly powerful 1997 award-winning off-Broadway musical continues its regional premiere production (based on the 2014 Broadway revival) at Orange County's Chance Theater in Anaheim through March 4, 2018.BWW Review: KINKY BOOTS Tour Struts Into Segerstrom Center for the Arts February 9, 2018
For the most part, the brief Orange County return of the Tony Award-winning musical smash KINKY BOOTS---which continues its quick week-long stop at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa through February 11---pretty much preserves its hard-to-escape fabulousness. Its current incarnation as a non-Equity bus-and-truck tour---now presented by Troika Entertainment, but retains many of the original's main elements---only feels slightly different from previous productions you've likely seen. The musical's endearing narrative, its vibrant main characters, and the ear-candy confections concocted by pop superstar Cyndi Lauper all combine to showcase a fun and genuinely lovable musical that celebrates living one's authentic self triumphantly.BWW Review: Tony-winning Superstar Kristin Chenoweth Triumphantly Returns to OC's Segerstrom Center February 6, 2018
Luckily for some of us who don't have the luxury or the time to simply catch every show that Tony Award-winning musical superstar Kristin Chenoweth does in New York City, she is a prolific touring artist, opting often to bring her sweet and sassy singing self to audiences around the world via enjoyable solo concerts that beautifully showcase her vocal chops and her charming persona. Playing to a packed house this past Saturday, February 3, 2018 at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, it is no wonder that her new-to-Orange-County show, simply titled AN INTIMATE EVENING WITH KRISTIN CHENOWETH was met with expected enthusiasm. Mixing material old and new from her diverse and personally-curated repertoire of Broadway, classic standards, hilarious cabaret, and Christian gospel music, Chenoweth once again delivered. Armed with effortless comic timing, superb musical acting, and a voice that can make grown men cry, Chenoweth is a treasure and remains to be so in these 'intimate' concerts.BWW Review: SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE Stage Adaptation Romances at South Coast Repertory February 1, 2018
Witty, enchanting, and joyously self-referential, the original film version of SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE fantasizes a story involving a young, virile William Shakespeare in his prime, who quells a bout of writer's block by secretly romancing an engaged lady named Viola---which apparently becomes the inspiration for the Bard's infamous star-crossed tragedy 'Romeo and Juliet.' The plot of the film remains fairly intact in Lee Hall's mostly delightful if slightly diluted stage adaptation, now continuing performances in a gorgeous-looking new regional production at Orange County's Tony Award-winning theater South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa through February 10, 2018. This spunky love letter to the theater is chockfull of stagecraft-insider amusements and fun-to-find Shakespearean Easter Eggs that both aficionados and casual fans will appreciate. But, shockingly, despite the spectacular production values and the beguiling, gusto-bathed performances of its large ensemble cast, this stage adaptation somehow loses some of the inescapable romanticism that is so much more prevalent in the original film.BWW Review: THE CAR PLAYS Makes Its Highly-Anticipated Return Trip to Segerstrom Center January 26, 2018
Still one of the most the most unique and thrilling live theatrical offerings you will ever experience, THE CAR PLAYS has once again parked themselves at the Julianne and George Argyros Plaza at Segerstrom Center for the Arts for another highly-anticipated round of claustrophobic, stopped-in-traffic high drama or amusing hilarity. Produced by Moving Arts under Creator/Artistic Producer Paul Stein, THE CAR PLAYS is again presented as part of Segerstrom Center's annual popular 'Off Center Festival,' its celebration of unique and avant-garde musical and theatrical acts. Because 'seating' is literally limited, there are only so many spots available to take in this incredible site-specific theater experience, which explains why it has been extended an additional weekend---through February 3, 2018---to meet the high demand.