Jenny Lyn Bader is a wonderful writer
—Wendy Wasserstein, Bomb interview
a bright writer
—The New York Times
an original talent
—The Village Voice
Bader has the kind of tart, cocky wit that can work a room...
— The New Yorker
Praise for Mrs. Stern Wanders the Prussian State Library:
"A Powerful and Timely Tour de Force!"
—Oleg Sulkin, Voice of America
"An intimate, riveting revelation of insight and courage expressed in unexpected ways... providing optimism for the fate of the human race."
—Ruth Ross, NJ Arts Maven
"In a moment of intense polarization in our own political discourse, the play is more than a history lesson and a drama; it's also a dissertation on how to speak to another person across a seemingly impassable gulf."
—Johanna R. Ginsberg, New Jersey Jewish News
"This is a very worthy play and I won't be surprised if it makes the leap to New York City where I think it really does belong... When you go, see if you can guess who Mrs. Stern is. It's in West Orange, New Jersey, which isn't that hard to get to so make it happen!"
—Peter Filichia, Broadway Radio
Praise for In Flight:
A brilliant play and a lot of fun
—Broadway Show Biz.com
A modern Shakespearean pleasure
Exquisite... The poetry makes the characters and their dilemmas jump off into full throttle
—"In Flight A Play Not To Miss," Times Square Chronicles
Verse plays can surely take you to wonderful places... With the meter running, the talented cast is free to express so many outstanding and outlandish truths.
—NY Theater Now
Praise for None of the Above:
the Off-Broadway Premiere at the Lion Theatre on Theatre Row:
Sparkling performances, given by two actors and an author…
-John Simon, Bloomberg
Jenny Lyn Bader's None of the Above, a two-hander featuring Halley Feiffer and Adam Green, hits all the right notes. It's smart, subtle, and very funny... Feiffer's looks and delivery — she's 17 going on 35 — recall a very young Candace Bergen. Green's character, whose name is Clark, undergoes a transformation from mild to wild. To say that None of the Above has a future is an understatement. It's a small masterpiece…
The cleverest mind twister comedy "None of the Above" at the Lion on 42nd Street beats "Proof" and "Born Yesterday." Playwright Jenny Lyn Bader's gem boasts opposites Halley Feiffer and droll Adam Green to unravel the scintillating dialogue deliberately puzzling and entertaining....Teasing conundum? Endearingly intelligent? Addictive privilege? Brilliantly acted? Yes, all of the above in this hilarious multiple choice two act delight... How their understanding links the pair eclipsing any of the romances seen onstage in many an intellectual moon. Intricately interesting Halley Feiffer and Adam Green turn their November to May meetings into a cerebral experience uniquely based on the playwright's research and director Julie Kramer's logical progression of mind and heart. Congratulations to South Ark Stage Company and the taste of their artistic director Rhoda Herrick selecting "None of the Above, " easily the best play of the season. Go!
-former Outer Critics Circle President Marjorie Gunner, Culvert Chronicles
Oh the risks one runs when trusting one's life to multiple choice.... having to compress knowledge into one of five reductive options - and God forbid one is the most negative, and negating, of them all. Yet the four words identifying that option can also be deceptively delightfulwhen they constitute the title of Jenny Lyn Bader's highly enjoyable comedy, now being presented at the Lion Theatre. None of the Above is a deceptively complex comedy, drawing from so many advanced areas of study that you'd swear everyone in it was already well past having to worry about the SAT… No, Jamie (Halley Feiffer) and Clark (Adam Green), have college on the mind, but are far from done with it... their views about most subjects are greatly at odds - which creates the perfect environment for sparks to fly... a clever educational suspense story as written and acted...
Jenny Lyn Bader's cute and clever NONE OF THE ABOVE looks at the culture of the SAT's through a teen and her tutor…verbal and comedy sparks …plenty of charm and smarts here
If you can't snag top-tier tickets for the starry revival of Shaw's "Pygmalion" that opens Thursday on Broadway, you could do worse than wander down 42nd Street to the Lion Theatre and catch Jenny Lyn Bader's "None of the Above," a sprightly, often clever variation on the intellectual-makeover plot… as in Shaw's play, there's an unwitting mutual education and some flickers of romantic chemistry going on between Jamie (Halley Feiffer) and Clark (Adam Green)… tart social comedy... both characters ultimately make a convincing journey from mutual distrust and disdain to a loose-fitting comfort, even intimacy… under Julie Kramer's direction, Feiffer and Green make an effortlessly appealing and complementary pair. …the play's sympathy for this inarguably spoiled rich kid is perhaps its most disarming quality.
—Rob Kendt, Newsday
ONE look at her all-pink bed room, and it's easy to see that the spoiled Upper East Side 17-year-old of "None of the Above" could give Elle of "Legally Blonde" a run for her money… genuinely amusing dialogue … two winning performances. Feiffer is a tall blond gamine who displays fine comic timing along with her sheer adorableness…
—Frank Scheck, The NY Post
Bader has the kind of tart, cocky wit that can work a room... her dialogue is droll; it has attracted some vivacious young talent in Feiffer and Green, whom I’d happily pay to see again
— John Lahr, The New Yorker
fascinating....warm, human performances
two genuinely endearing characters with a common purpose and comedic timing… for a light-hearted, sometimes polysyllabic diversion, the answer is D: None of the Above
—New Theater Corps
In so a romantic comedy with an edge..., and even a message, playwright Jenny Lyn Bader has created a play that is, at the same time, a Rocky-style come-from-behind “sports” story (picture Rocky training, not for a big fight, but for the SATs!), a coming of age tale that will speak to anyone who has ever had to jump through someone else’s insanely unreasonable hoops to get ahead, a perceptive study of a dysfunctional-family, and a look at a variety of addictions and how vulnerable we all can be to them... The amazing thing is that Bader mixes it all together smoothly, even charmingly, so that we become involved with the two characters... What Bader has done, and quite cleverly at that, is make studying for the SATs, struggling to live up to the expectations of others in this particular way, and conforming to their values into a kind of extended metaphor for growing up, coming of age, reaching one’s potential, and getting tough with life...
- Culture Vulture
Clever writing and convincing repartee… sophisticated humor... Lots of worlds and mathematical equations blend with vulnerabilities and life lessons to make None of the Above a fantastic way to spend a couple of hours. Go see it!
- Electronic Link
This attractive, likable duo has you feeling nostalgic for and repulsed by your own NoDoz- addled study sessions—you know, those "olden times" when a perfect score was 1600! ….after some of the most palpable chemistry on-stage this season, I haven't wanted two characters to just shut up and kiss so badly since the last episode of Gossip Girl. If given a multiple choice, be sure to check None of the Above!
But the best moment of the month may have come from playwright Jenny Lyn Bader in None of the Above. Her lead character is Jamie, a spoiled-rich kid who did poorly on her last SAT because drank herself blind the night before. Now it’s do or fail, and she’s being tutored by a whiz her father hired. During one session, Jamie tells him of the time when a magician appeared at one of her childhood birthday parties, and really did make good on the magic part of his title by disappearing into thin air. They looked everywhere for him — “even in the room where daddy was sleeping.” ...Now that’s smart writing… gets us to feel bad for Jamie, especially because even she doesn’t see the sadness in the detail. If she’s inured this much to her father’s lack of love, then we want to give her some of ours.
-Peter Filichia, Theatremania column
Jenny Lyn Bader's two-hander None of the Above... immeasurably enhanced by stars Halley Feiffer and Adam Green and Julie Kramer's deft direction... they play off each other with the kind of comic and sexual chemistry common to long-standing teams.
for the World Premiere by New Georges at the Ohio Theatre, NYC:
diverting...lively—The New York Times
a snappy new comedy—The New Yorker
a great play to really kick off the spring
one of the most entertaining evenings I have had… this season, anywhere—The Westsider
Beguiling—American Theater Web.com
New Georges presents a snappy new comedy by the playwright Jenny Lyn Bader about the risks people end up taking when they’re trying to safeguard themselves... With wit and candor, the two characters, brilliantly played to type by both actors, deftly dissect entitlement, intelligence, and isosceles triangles.
—The New Yorker
After they meet cute… sexual tension vibrates beneath their verbal barbs. Under Jamie's clever interrogation, Clark — an impecunious grad student — reveals that he has made a breathtaking all-or-nothing wager with her father that Jamie will achieve a 1600 on her SATs. Jamie labels this a "Faustian bargain." When Clark demurs, she builds a convincing analogy, just like the ones in their practice test book. Their rapid-fire repartee shoots typical test vocab words back and forth in witty exchanges. For the heritage of this kind of coupling, think Pygmalion. Or conjure any old flick where a street-smart Clark Gable gives some hoity-toity society dame a few real-life lessons. Now update. …To borrow a few words from their SAT test… Pill and O'Neill are so affable and their wrangling so piquant that you hanker to capitulate to this thoroughly recreative endeavor.
—The Village Voice
This two-hander, with great roles for young actors, has a liveliness that is refreshing... Playwright Bader provides a creatively original plot line while molding her two youthful protagonists into appealing, rounded characters…As Jamie matures in front of our eyes… we have Faustian bargains, entitlement, number obsession, the nature of risk, the perfect pink dress, and the Rational Choice Theory -- not your usual boy-girl banter… Bader's dialogue has conviction and her character development shows a remarkably restrained hand. This play kicks off the 11th season for New Georges… In Jenny Lyn Bader, they have uncovered an original talent…
Absolutely delightful and totally original… We’re tired of theatergoers complaining that the theatre isn’t entertaining before. We also scorn critics who say comedy is dead… Not true. None of the Above is beautifully structured, well developed in terms of its two characters, and, most amazing of all, consistently funny and surprising… The writing and directing are so skillful that we feel we come to know both of Jamie’s parents (through their phone calls) without meeting them. This piece has an undeniable appeal for regional theatres everywhere.
—The Compulsive Theatregoer,
Theatrescope: The Insider’s Guide
One of the surprises in store in Jenny Lyn Bader's bubbly new comedy at the Ohio Theatre, None of the Above, is that it makes the SAT as funny as it does; that it finds time to examine a number of weighty psychological subjects and imbue them with humor is more remarkable still… None of the Above is a great play to really kick off the spring - a breezy, almost-romantic comedy that, for two hours, will keep the sun brightly shining.
During the rush of Broadway openings before the Tony deadline, three… off-off-Broadway shows appeared which deserve a mention. None of the Above by Jenny Lyn Bader has received a fine production at New Georges… The energetic mounting and clever script deserve a wider audience.
None of the Above is both retro and up-to-the-minute; one of these days Bader is going to write a Broadway-ready comedy.
—Entertainment Design Magazine
Elegant dialogue, sophisticated and refined.
…One of the most entertaining evenings I have had at New Georges; indeed, this season, anywhere … The play has a delightfully original premise… fine acting by Alison Pill as Jamie and by Kel O’Neill as her indefatigable coach, Clark. These are two very fine young actors, perfectly cast for their roles, and wonderfully directed by Julie Kramer…
The show examines the moral challenges of the SATs, using highly animated , extreme characters to cleverly illustrate these serious themes within a comic plot… students will finally have None of the Above to speak out for them!
—Theatre Development Fund (TDF)’s Play by Play: The Theatre Newsletter by and for Teens
I thoroughly loved it!
—“Hi! Drama,” Time Warner/RCN Cable TV
A beguiling and often very funny look at entitlement, addiction, and young love.
—American Theater Web.com
Reviews of the published play None of the Above, in the anthology Under Thirty: Plays for a New Generation (Vintage):
Playwright-editors Lane and Shengold have assembled five full-length plays, 11 shorter plays, and excerpts from four plays, all written for actors under 30… Jessica Goldberg's "Refuge," Jenny Lyn Bader's "None of the Above," and Carolyn Gage's "Harriet Tubman Visits a Therapist" are all standouts. Disaffection and alienation are present throughout, but so is a sense of humor. Academic and public libraries will see a lot of circulation of this book… fresh and gripping...
—Library Journal, reviewing Under Thirty: Plays for a New Generation (Vintage)
This collection offers thespians plenty of characters to portray in situations that crackle with teen appeal. Jenny Lyn Bader's None of the Above presents two students battling not only the demands of SAT preparation, but also what each of them believes that the other values about earning top marks… Many of these plays feature ribald remarks, suggestive possibilities, and sexual identities of many hues. All are well constructed and each has been performed professionally… libraries serving sophisticated theater audiences will definitely want this collection.
—School Library Journal, reviewing Under Thirty: Plays for a New Generation
Praise for Manhattan Casanova at Hudson Stage Company:
a witty, winning new play... You could ask for more from an evening at the theater. But you wouldn't get it.
-The Journal News
When Pam tells Charlotte she's fallen for a man who wooed her with French poetry, Charlotte says: "That's not love at first sight, honey! It's love at first citation."
Welcome to Jenny Lyn Bader's "Manhattan Casanova," a witty, winning new play on stage through Nov. 11 at Pace University in Briarcliff Manor, a production of Hudson Stage Company.
This urban fairy tale mixes the snappy dialogue of "Sex and the City" with the feel of a New Yorker cartoon. There's a psychiatrist who drives her friends crazy, a mantra-chanting patient who sees things clearly, a friend who lives in the present, a waitress with a passion for the Knicks and, of course, a lothario making the rounds.
Yes, love is in the air.
Bader's script is knowing and natural and, in performance, these are characters we recognize.
That said, director Richard Caliban, who staged "Kimberly Akimbo" here last season, has a first-rate design team of accomplices to achieve just the right fairy-tale feel.
Andreea Mincic's set is two banks of panels onto which lighting designer Andrew Gmoser projects photos of New York scapes, of the women and of suggestive pieces of art that happen to be the handiwork of the actor playing the Casanova. When not acting as a screen for these images, the panels are lit ethereally - sometimes cool, sometimes warm - to reflect the mood. It's remarkably effective.
All of this is backdrop, of course, to a script that is charming, bright and breezy. Caliban directs with a brisk pace entirely suited to the material. It's easy to go along for the ride.
Psychiatrist Charlotte Kaplan (Elizabeth Hess) is so judgmental and down on love that her girlfriends - who have found love - break up with her.
Enter John Casey (James Kiberd ), the title character. We soon learn that Casey has seduced Charlotte's friends - and some of her current and former patients.
But Casey doesn't see it as seduction. He sees it as his brand of therapy - "saying what usually goes unsaid ... offering revelations."
The sparks between these two are too hot not to start a fire.
When Charlotte falls, and fall she must, she falls hard. All the certainty, judgement and caution in Act 1 fall by the wayside in Act 2. But Bader still has a twist or two in store.
Elizabeth Hess' Charlotte is domineering with her friends, demanding with the waitstaff and no pushover for any man, least of all John. Hess has a smoky vocal quality that reminds one of Lauren Bacall and a bearing that runs the gamut from aloof to vulnerable.
Kiberd plays John with a twinkle in his eye and the kind of confidence one would expect of a "serial seducer."
Known to fans of "All My Children" as mercenary-turned-detective Trevor Dillon, Kiberd endows John with an inner calm befitting a lion tamer, approaching these women with a wink, a nod - and absolutely no apologies.
With Bader's smart dialogue and two actors up to the task, the scenes between Charlotte and John crackle with sexual tension.
The supporting cast is pitch perfect.
Janine Barris, as the suggestible, mantra-loving Eva, is sweet, well-reasoned and well-adjusted. The scenes with Barris are particularly memorable, thanks to her commitment to the material. She is at times weepy, at times lucid and always a joy to watch.
As Pam, Abbie Killeen is bubbly, hopeful and in love - and not interested in Charlotte's efforts to deflate her.
Kari Swenson Riely is down-to-earth and clear-eyed as the waitress, Viv, and returns later as Anne, Charlotte's languid friend who has fallen headlong in love and enters in full swoon. Both characters are well-formed and believable.
Romantic comedies are the red-headed stepchild of theater genres, painted all with the same brush and dismissed out of hand. "Serious" theater groups don't do romantic comedies.
But a well-written romantic comedy, like "Manhattan Casanova," in the hands of a first-class theater group, like Hudson Stage, introduces us to interesting characters, makes us laugh and, yes, think.
"Manhattan Casanova" is about relationships, about people who flirt and act on those flirtations and, in the end, about asking for what you want - and getting it.
You could ask for more from an evening at the theater. But you wouldn't get it.
Is that moonlight or the pearly glow from a halogen lamp? Sometimes it's hard to tell. It all depends on your frame of reference which makes the irony of "La Vie en Rose" as theme for Hudson Stage Company's production of "Manhattan Casanova" sweet... Charlotte is sipping Merlot and reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "A Hundred Years of Solitude" when John (James Kiberd), everybody's favorite Casanova, enters and the sparks fly. With a feisty round of snappy dialogue, they begin the mating game... At the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Manhattan Casanova received the Edith Oliver Award for its “caustic wit that deflates the ego but does not unduly damage the human spirit.” In Bader's world men and women may live on different planets, but when the stars line up just right, the gravitational pull is nothing short of cataclysmic… Thought-provoking theater!
—The Scarsdale Inquirer
praise for Manhattan Casanova
(Book-in-hand Staged Reading/"Special Presentation" at John Drew Theatre at Guild Hall, East Hampton)
Jenny Lyn Bader's bright and delicious new comedy... if "Manhattan Casanova" and "Sex and the City" were put in head-to-head combat, "Manhattan Casanova" would win, hands down. It climbs into the ring with two big advantages and probably more: Its dialogue is far more intelligent, and it has at least two characters who are worlds more interesting than anything "Sex, etc" ever dreamed.
These characters are played in East Hampton by Mercedes Ruehl and Heather Goldenhersh, who matches the irrespressible and charismatic Ms. Ruehl line for line... Ruehl rules the stage at all times. Using her voice as if it were an orchestra, she shades and launches each syllable of each line with dazzling control and comic impact.
August typically means a suspension of therapy as analysts take summer vacation. How does that make you feel? Assuage those abandonment issues with Manhattan Casanova starring Academy and Tony Award-winning actress Mercedes Ruehl. Written by Jenny Lyn Bader... who Wendy Wasserstein described as her favorite young playwright, [Manhattan Casanova] explores what happens when a cynical psychiatrist finds herself facing a love epidemic... Don't be last on line for your chance to experience Bader's quirky take on love and relationships.
—East Hampton Independent
a fast-paced comedy
Don't tell writer Jenny Lyn Bader that miracles don't happen. Not that it's a miracle that her screwball comedy "Manhattan Casanova" is opening tonight... Chalk that up to the author's gift for invention, zany sense of humor, and on-target understanding of the wacky dynamics of contemporary sexual politics.
—Southampton Press (profile)
Reviews of He Meant, She Meant: The Definitive-Male Female Dictionary (Warner Books) by Jenny Lyn Bader and Bill Brazell:
The idea here is fun, a pursuit many 1990s guides ignore or forbid. If Samuel Johnson had conversed with Nora Ephron, or Ambrose Bierce with Dorothy Parker, a similar vinegary concoction might have ensued…
—Martin Nolan, op-ed writer, The Boston Globe
A Berlitz crash course in the female language
Very cute and very funny!
He Meant She Meant is absolutely wonderful! It’s fun but it’s for real…
Isn’t this the funniest book ever?
The most extraordinary invention for sex life since the Pill!
—actual blurb on the back of the Italian edition, Secondo Lui e Lei (Sperling + Kupfer), unattributed