SMALL WORLD : A FANTASIA
Off-Broadway at 59EAST59, Penguin Rep
World Premiere, written by Fred Stroppel
Directed by Joe Brancato
"Mr. Shanahan makes Disney both a practical businessman and a creative spirit, an unstoppable channel of childlike wonder. His Disney is so enthralled with his whimsical, animal-filled tales that you can almost see his head drifting toward the clouds, a helium thought-balloon above his bright eyes and expressive eyebrows. " -- The New York Times
"Charming. Shanahan finds Walt's heart below the petulant, childlike surface, and even hints at the sinister, particularly during digressions about Walt's alleged anti-Semitism and Nazi sympathizing. (On the opposite end of the spectrum, he does a hilarious Mickey Mouse impression, too.)" -- Theatremania
"Disney, played by Mark Shanahan is a robust, clever, and imaginative individual who contrasts sharply with Stravinsky, Shanahan and D'Ambrose's portrayals are spot-on... Totally fascinating." -- BroadwayWorld
"Mark Shanahan’s Walt Disney is charismatic; palpably enthusiastic, stubborn, and clever. What he lacks in culture, he more than makes up for in finger-on-the-pulse inspiration. We see peripheral discomfort when the first is exposed, fireworks when the second is conjured. To watch Shanahan describe an animated sequence is to see it come to life before you. The actor appears boyish but never insubstantial."
-- Woman About Town
"In Shanahan’s smile, carriage and demeanor we nail down the hope-filled, eternally optimistic innovator of the worldf of animation and paradisal theme parks. We reconnect with well-known details about Disney’s alleged anti-semitism, the sub rosa violence in his cartoons and... his time during WWI when he drew cartoons on his jeep to give hope to the children in war-torn Europe." -- Theatre Pizzazz
"Shanahan shows Disney to be an outwardly jovial sort who can be a rather tough customer when necessary. Shanahan also does a nice turn when showing the once-confident Disney wrestling with self-doubts."
"Mark Shanahan plays Disney with his customary style and depth. Shanahan, whom I've seen at least a dozen times in various roles, has a talent for inhabiting those roles, and in the case of historical characters, bringing them to life in front of your eyes. I never met Disney, but I left the theater thinking I'd had the rare privilege of meeting this extraordinary film pioneer, and hearing what he had to say." -- The Infinite Regress
59East59 Photos by Carol Rosegg