The Mikado Project
"The winning cast includes...Ronald M. Banks, memorable for his eponymous turn in East West Players' recent production of "Sweeney Todd," is a particular standout, an accomplished actor-singer whose casually funny manner is a pleasant surprise, particularly in light of his bitterly virtuosic previous portrayal.
F. Kathleen Foley Los Angeles Times

Sweeney Todd

REVIEW PLAYS PICKS BEST OF THE YEAR 2006 (listed alphabetically)
by Jose Ruiz for ReviewPlays.com

Top Ten Actors
1. Ronald M. Banks – Sweeney Todd – East West Players
2. Laurence Fishburne – Fences – Pasadena Playhouse
3. Michael Gallagher – Everyman for Himself – Furious Theatre
4. Dan Harper – Dockers – Theatre Banshee
5. Charles Howerton - Slow Dance on a Killing Ground – Athena Theatre
6. Jay Johnson – The Two and Only – Colony Theatre
7. Chris Levatino – Talk Radio – The Gangbusters Theatre Company

8. 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

THE BEST IN LOS ANGELES THEATRE FOR 2006 (listed alphabetically)
compiled by Don Grigware for ReviewPlays.com


Best Performances
Christine Andreas - The Light in the Piazza (Ahmanson)
Ronald M. Banks - Sweeney Todd (East West Players)
Dale Dickey - multiple roles in A Season of Shores (Zephyr)
Laurence Fishburne - Without Walls (Mark Taper Forum)
Fences (Pasadena Playhouse)
Bridget Hanley - The Lion in Winter (Theatre West)
Judy Kaye - Souvenir (Brentwood Theatre)
Dakin Matthews - Water & Power (Mark Taper Forum)
Karesa McElheny - Elizabeth Rex (NoHo Arts Center)
Laurie Metcalf - All My Sons (Geffen Playhouse)
Debra Monk - Curtains (Ahmanson)

Foremost 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.
ReviewPlays.com

"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

Despite 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.
Calenderlive.com

Banks 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


Good 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

For "The 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 theater.
If 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.

Ronald 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.
The Citizen, New York

As the 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

As 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 endearing youngsters.
San Diego Union


As the King, Ronald M. Banks has enough mega-kilowatt talent to make Yul Brynner's shadow recede considerably.
Los Angeles Times

Banks, 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.
Tulsa World

(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. Arizona Tribune

(As 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 character.
Dallas Star-Telegram

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.

In 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

Banks 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 County Times

Banks is doing an outstanding job as the king. Banks' presence captures the stage when he is singing "A Puzzlement" or with the entire cast.
Daily Californian

Ronald Banks delivers a masterful portrayal of the towering King in bare feet. …Banks commands the attention of his subjects (both on and off the stage) with his riveting baritone vocality.
Inland Entertainment Roundup

Banks' acting is always right on as the King. Comedic moments in the play are well timed and delivered…
San Diego Daily Transcript

Ronald 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.

Ronald 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 and gesturing.
Pomerado Newspaper Group

South Pacific
.....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

Pacific Overtures
Ronald M. Banks stands out as the Russian Ambassador
Aisle Say Boston

A 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?
Backstage West

Evita
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.
Backstage West

Ronald 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.
Easy Reader

Ronald 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

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