Sam Lovett Vincent The Globe Theatre
9. Ammar Mahmood - Back of The Throat Furious Theatre
10. Salvator Xuereb - No Exit - American Academy of Dramatic Arts
BEST IN LOS ANGELES THEATRE FOR 2006 (listed alphabetically)
compiled by Don Grigware for ReviewPlays.com
Christine Andreas - The Light in the Piazza (Ahmanson)
M. Banks - Sweeney Todd (East West Players)
Dickey - multiple roles in A Season of Shores (Zephyr)
Fishburne - Without Walls (Mark Taper Forum)
Hanley - The Lion in Winter (Theatre West)
Kaye - Souvenir (Brentwood Theatre)
Matthews - Water & Power (Mark Taper Forum)
McElheny - Elizabeth Rex (NoHo Arts Center)
Metcalf - All My Sons (Geffen Playhouse)
Monk - Curtains (Ahmanson)
among this formidable cast is Ronald M. Banks in the title role.
His eyes glinting with purpose and madness, Banks' gruesomely charismatic
Sweeney strides through the squalor of Victorian London like vengeance
incarnate . . . Banks' towering portrayal sets the standard for
the rest of the cast.
F. Kathleen Foley, Los Angeles Times
Ronald M. Banks as Sweeney
Todd, slowly warms into the character bringing out his sinister
side and eventually fully realizing his evil intentions. Banks
singing voice is nothing short of magnificent bringing a rich resonance
to the role.
"But then there was Ronald M. Banks as Sweeney -- tall
and slender, younger than the role is generally played with a gorgeously
liquid voice that easily slid around (and spilled over) every blood-drenched
note. His rich lower register left audience members vibrating
in their seats as he sang. The intensity of his hot and cold fury
was exhilarating as he crooned to the Judge about 'Pretty Women,'
indulged Mrs. Lovett's homicidal fantasies in 'A Little Priest,"
and realized too late the true identity of the dead Beggar Woman."
Terri Roberts, THE SONDHEIM REVIEW
a few rough edges here and there, Tim Dang's staging of Stephen
Sondheim's grim masterwork is satisfyingly polished, while Ronald
M. Banks' portrayal of the demon barber whose victims were recycled
into meat pies is rip-snortingly good.
is extraordinary as Todd,
giving a robust, multilayered performance. He uses his sonorous
bass voice to ominous effect in songs such as "No Place Like
London" and "Epiphany" and shows off his higher range
in "Johanna." He ratchets up the moments of Todd's madness
to iconic levels, all bulging eyes and unnerving grins, but leavens
that with scenes of subtle loss and confusion, as the tragic Todd
marches inexorably toward his blood-soaked destiny.
Terry Morgan, Variety
There are satisfying moments of brilliance. Leading the way is Banks'
beautifully voiced Sweeney, all grotesquely tortured soul
and focused simmering rage.
Terri Roberts, Backstage
The show's success hinges on a powerful lead, and Banks
is a hit. From the minute he enters the stage, with a powerful
stride, fierce eyes and a booming baritone voice, he grabs the audience
by their throats and never lets go.
The Daily Breeze
The music, sharply performed, provides ideal accompaniment for several
fine singers, in particular Banks, whose penetrating
portrayal of the title character dominates the production.
His strong, resonating baritone reverberates throughout the theater,
and his psychotic stares and intimidating manner are mesmerizing.
LA Downtown News
things need to flow from the man with the razor. Banks..has a thrilling
voice. Banks and Tokuda are a clever if quite mismatched pair, making
the finale a bloody good..delight.
LA Daily News
The King and I
King and I"..hunky opera singer Ronald M. Banks put muscle
into the King's songs and made the comic lines worthy of Noel Coward.
Syracuse New Times Stage: Year In Review
There were some individuals who deserve a mention as well. Ronald
Banks was perfection in Merry-Go-Round's The King and I;
Theatre's Best of 2006, Auburnpub.com
There are a lot of things you can get away with in casting musical
your Harold Hill can execute snappy patter and your Henry Higgins
has exquisite diction, all the other elements of a good production
can make up for other shortcomings. But if your goal is to stage
Roger's and Hammerstein's The King and I, you had better
have the King.
M. Banks is the King. He is imperious, intelligent, imposing and
impeccable. He is a force of nature in the role, gripping the audience
from his first appearance and never letting go. It is the kind of
work audiences at any level rarely see, an artist at the very pinnacle
of his craft, absolutely committed and completely convincing. Even
if you aren't a fan of musicals in general or of this one in particular,
if you have more than a passing interest in theater as an art form,
you owe it to yourself to see this performance.
Citizen, New York
King, Ronald M. Banks easily steps out of the shadow of Yul Brynner
(who played the role for many years on Broadway and in the film
version). Banks' strong stage presence befits a king and his singing
is commanding as well. He hits every chance to bring humor to the
part, endearing the character to the audience, and allows us to
mourn his loss at the show's end.
North County Times
In the title roles, Ronald M. Banks (the King) and Kathleen Halm
(Anna), two performers of wide theatrical and concert experience,
give vivacious musical comedy style performances as the disputatiously
sparring and ultimately almost affectionate couple. Banks lends
a kind of samurai swagger to the part, and gives his speaking voice
a growling tonality and accent reminiscent of Toshiro Mifune in
his famous ronin roles. This potent and strutting masculinity pays
off dramatically when the King reaches the tragic limits of such
machismo. And together they are a delight in their polka number
"Shall We Dance?" one of those musical theatre
moments you want to go on forever.
George Weinberg Harter, San Diego Arts
the king, Ronald M. Banks has the voice and presence to portray
the ruler who's determined to prove he's not a barbarian. The 46-year-old
San Diego native asserted his authority in everything from his hands-on-hips
stance to his amusingly imperious use of the phrase et cetera.
At Friday's opening, Banks was particularly charming with the cast's
San Diego Union
the King, Ronald M. Banks has enough mega-kilowatt talent to make
Yul Brynner's shadow recede considerably.
Los Angeles Times
Boone give exceptional lift to 'King and I'. Theatre Arts brought
to Tulsa two exceptional performers
in Debby Boone and Ronald
M. Banks. They anchor this version of "The King and I"
with heartfelt, believable characterizations, fine singing, and
a sparkling chemistry. Banks' precision singing makes the king's
rapid-fire show pieces--the patter song "A Puzzlement"
and the incantation that is the Act One finale-delightful: not a
word is lost. Banks also deftly handles an even trickier task of
balancing the king's impish, playful side with the character's harsher,
more brutal attributes-the characteristics that allow him to be
both a good father and a strong king. His reactions to his stream
of offspring in the "March of the Siamese Children" are
priceless, but when it comes time for the king literally to crack
the whip, Banks makes you believe him capable of tremendous violence.
(Director) Sha Newman works at improving the show where she can.
But her main work was done when she cast dynamic Ronald Banks in
the role of the king. Ronald Banks is a king-sized actor who is
both commanding and vulnerable, a hard combination to find in male
leads. Tuesday's crowd took to Banks like Pat Boone to white loafers.
the King), Ronald M. Banks has solved the Yul Brynner problem. With
his classically trained voice, this actor doesn't need to stand
in anyone's shadow. He has animal magnetism aplenty. And, unlike
Brynner, who owned the role for decades, he creates a believable
As in the case of Brynner and Kerr, it's the chemistry between this
production's two leads, Sarah Tattersall and in this historical
account of conflicting cultures and sexual mores, Ronald Banks and
Sarah Tattersall are ideally matched. From their first meeting to
their last tearful parting, the give and take of their relationship
provides the performance its emotional spark.
a cast of predominantly Asian actors, Banks strikes a towering figure
as the King. He's a man torn between ancient traditions and the
encroachment of a new age. He's an all-powerful monarch determined
to understand the new industrial age and its rampant imperialism,
while having to deal with a strong-willed woman who refuses to fit
the role of a submissive servant.
Banks, who recently played the role of Sharpless in South Bay Opera's
production of "Madame Butterfly," is blessed with a resonant
baritone voice, both for speaking and singing. His magnetic performance
as the King combines exuberant energy, a humorous degree of perplexed
consternation and a puffed-up sense of sexual bravado. He's a talent
to watch out for.
Torrance Daily Breeze
is successful as the stubborn but lovable polygamist/bigamist. The
daunting task of pulling off a role most people associate as synonymous
with Yul Brynner doesn't faze Banks. He steps up to the plate and
offers a performance you could hang a star on. In addition, Banks
adds an impressive vocal element (arguably missing from Brynner's
performance) with his rich and commanding singing voice. North
is doing an outstanding job as the king. Banks' presence captures
the stage when he is singing "A Puzzlement" or with the
Banks delivers a masterful portrayal of the towering King in bare
Banks commands the attention of his subjects (both on
and off the stage) with his riveting baritone vocality.
Inland Entertainment Roundup
acting is always right on as the King. Comedic moments in the play
are well timed and delivered
San Diego Daily Transcript
Banks makes the role his own, while occasionally offering a nod
to tradition. Banks is superb, truly regal in the part of King Mongkut.
Banks, who has tremendous stage presence, plays the part with a
mixture of bluster and bombast balanced by a touching uncertainty
and loneliness, despite his many wives and offspring. Above all,
he projects dignity.
Banks, as king, is a commanding presence with a full rich, baritone
resonance that cuts down anyone in defiance or in doubt of the king's
power. He captivates with his version of "A Puzzlement"
and delights with his "etcetera, etcetera, etcetera" phrase
Pomerado Newspaper Group
.....in the role of de Becque, attractive baritone Ronald M. Banks is a compelling leading man.
The show really took off when Banks began singing the first magical strains of "Some Enchanted Evening."
The Easy Reader
M. Banks stands out as the Russian Ambassador
Aisle Say Boston
Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum
Never better is handsome Ronald M. Banks, seen here earlier as Anna's
king of Siam and Evita's saturnine Peron, now as muscle-flexing
Miles Glorious. (He has a) gorgeous opera-quality voice. Who knew
he could be so funny?
Eva's meeting with Peron
is a highlight, her voice blending
beautifully with the rich operatic baritone of Ronald M. Banks'
mask-like Peron. Banks' Peron is a creature of ice, a mechanical
man-the little man on the wedding cake. It works to underscore the
play's diamond-hard dark glitter.
M. Banks as Juan Peron has the vocal and acting ability to recreate
a man with powerful presence coming to terms with an even more powerfully
ambitious female counterpart.
M. Banks has a strong presence and a big, rich baritone voice to
back it up, which is perfect for Juan Peron. He shares a nice chemistry
with Jackson (Eva) that is not solely based on a sexual spark, but
a mutual respect for each other's ambitious nature.
The Beach Reporter