As “Iago” in Othello
‘Othello’: Villainous Iago steals the show Lisa Wolpe is a standout bad guy. Iago is notorious not just for making Othello run amok with jealousy. He’s also a brazen scene stealer, offering an actor abundant opportunities to eclipse the play’s tragically duped protagonist.
In the Theatre @ Boston Court’s all-female take on “Othello,” a co-production with the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, Iago actually deserves title-character status. Director Lisa Wolpe saves her most interesting interpretation for the diabolic ensign, a role she performs so naturally that you’re hardly aware of any cross-dressing trickery. – Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times
As “Shylock” in The Merchant of Venice
Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, after eleven years of stand-out productions, has nothing left to prove. The gender question has no bearing on the quality of the work in this terrific production. Lisa Wolpe, who founded the company, and is producer, director, and a superb actor, has played a diversity of Shakespeare’s male roles, all with a dedication to excellence and a palpable celebration of language. Her Richard III was memorable, as was her Hamlet, and her current Shylock may be the most outstanding of any viewed in a multitude of productions, here and in England. – Madeleine Shaner, Backstage West
As “Agnes” in The School for Wives
It is really quite marvelous the way Lisa Wolpe gives the deprived and limited Agnes such a fullness of characterization: naivete, tenderness, romantic passion, anger, stubbornness, vulnerability, a delectable misture of willfulness and complaisance, each trait coming into play with the most unassuming naturalness and in spontaneous, appropriate response to each situation. Miss Wolpe is truly an actress, in the sense that she does not merely play herself. I have seen her as the tomboyish sister in the Rep’s “Curse of the Starving Class”, as the debonair, elegant, noble-hearted Julia in “The Rivals”, and now as Moliere’s lovable exemplar of fresh innocence and strength of soul. They cannot all be Lisa Wolpe.
— Jonathan Saville, San Diego Reader.
As “Ramona” in Zara Spook and Other Lures
Ackerman is blessed with a first-rate cast, particularly Lisa Wolpe as Ramona. This is a commanding performance… There is a tough, gritty texture to Wolpe’s Ramona, a woman who clearly is exhilarated by the mystic New Mexico setting. She has few illusions about life. She is proud and resilient, able to accept and deal with most, if not all, of the quirky contradictions life throws at her. At the same time, she is not an unfeeling woman. She wraps a gentle air of protectiveness around Evelyn that is respectful of Evelyn’s nature and personality. — Ed Segal, The Berkshire Eagle.
As “Emma” in Curse of the Starving Class
Miss Wolpe makes the most of this role and at the same time reveals herself as an actress of exceptional talent…The glitter in her eyes and the rapt joyfulness of her face as she recounts her pathetic daydream are something to behold. This is the high point of the whole production. — Jonathan Saville, San Diego Reader
The Merchant of Venice (Ovation Nomination, “Best Leading Actress” 2005)
Lisa Wolpe, a superb actor, has played a diversity of Shakespeare’s male roles, all with a dedication to excellence and a palpable celebration of language. Her Richard III was memorable, as was her Hamlet, and her current Shylock may be the most outstanding of any viewed in a multitude of productions, here and in England.
— Madeleine Shaner, Backstage West
As “Leontes” in The Winter’s Tale
As vengeful King Leontes, Lisa Wolpe has a startling grasp on Shakespeare’s text and the function of each line she speaks. Summoning such crystalline emotion as to leave us breathless, she gives an awe-inspiring depiction of love turned to tyranny.
— Laura Weinert, Backstage West
Lisa Wolpe sets immediate high standards with a masterful performance. — Philip Brandes, LA Times
As “Viola” in Twelfth Night
Wolpe is an ideal Viola, at times demurely feminine, at times convincingly boyish… — F. Kathleen Foley, L.A. Times
As “Benedick” in Much Ado About Nothing
At the center of this agreeable production is Lisa Wolpe’s hilariously virile Benedick… she propels the comedy with heartfelt rhythm and pace. — Philip Brandes, Los Angeles Times
As “Lysander” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Lisa Wolpe has outdone herself again, as creative visionary, as director, and as the young hero Lysander; frankly, she could easily confuse the hormones of the most secure individual of any sexual persuasion. There is a palpable spirit and joy that radiates in waves from this not-to-be missed presentation, one of the true theatrical highlights of the year in Los Angeles.
— PICK OF THE WEEK – Travis Michael Holder, Entertainment Today
As “Angelo” in Measure for Measure
Lisa Wolpe’s performance as Angelo can be measured only by the highest rule – it is intense, focused, inspired and magnificent. — Madeleine Shaner, Nightlife Today
Among this engaging cast, Lisa Wolpe stands out… she affords a chilling glimpse of moral decay cloaked in sanctimony – the universal garb of corrupt politicians, past and present.
— F. Kathleen Foley, Los Angeles Times
As “Richard” in Richard III
Lisa Wolpe delivers an overwhelming, hypnotic portrayal of the dominating central figure. Her inspiration and energy never flag as she imparts shape and depth to Richard’s Machiavellian nature… a brilliant, revelatory staging!
— Tony Tran, Los Angeles View
Wolpe is a mesmerizing and miraculous Richard, giving him such a slithery, most gleeful joy in his deathly web of twisted and world-class scheming that it makes one want to – appropriately – go home and take a shower. Thanks to the determination of Lisa Wolpe and her Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, even theatrical perfection recognized for several centuries can obviously be improved upon.
— Travis Michael Holder, Entertainment Today
The best Richard III this critic has seen in years… an evening of Shakespeare at his finest. — J.R. Clark – Drama-Logue
A gem… Lisa Wolpe, in the title role, is at once beguiling and obscene, conveying all the necessary slime, sex and charm to bring the beast off the page.
— Judith Lewis, L.A. Weekly
Shakespeare would rave about Lisa Wolpe’s outstanding performance of the title role. She is so good, in fact, that the other actors onstage with her often get lost in the background.
— Bari Newport, Backstage West
Lisa Wolpe wears evil’s wiles and seductions like a well-fitting garment, broad and bold in her demonic intensity, loveless and alone, full of intellect, fire and power untempered by moral restraints, and taking such evident glee in the portrayal of the 100% character that is rarely written for a woman.
— BEST BET – Madeleine Shaner, ShowCase Entertainment Magazine
Intense and boyish, Wolpe mitigates the Dane’s melancholy with a highly developed sense of irony that persists until the last gasp. It’s a convincingly sexy performance, whatever your gender.
— F. Kathleen Foley, Los Angeles Times
A glorious rendition…with superb production values and a gifted cast… Kudos go to Wolpe for a production that
matches anything found on the boards at the Royal Shakespeare Company.
— CRITIC’S PICK – J. Brenna Guthrie, Backstage West
In a title role that is universally regarded as one of the most psychologically complex character studies of all time, Wolpe fully embodies Hamlet and brings a veritable rainbow of emotions to the role. This is a Hamlet to be studied and savored, a revelation for newcomers to the text and a fresh awakening for veterans.
— Elias Stimac, Drama-Logue
“Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender” – Lisa Wolpe’s solo show, directed by Laurie Woolery ★★★★★
AMERICAN THEATER MAGAZINE
“Playing Shakespeare’s great roles is an alchemical process about unpacking the vulnerability of a villain or a man in order to understand why men do what they do.”