REVIEWS

A SWINGIN’ CHRISTMAS… TOO!

Tempe Center for the Arts

She (Shana Bousard) teamed up with Brian Runbeck, also an Equity actor with comic timing and a gorgeous deep baritone voice, to deliver an updated version of their 2017 holiday cabaret.

His “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” was sublime and his Bing Crosby to Shana’s Rosemary Clooney is worthy of its own entire show. He shined on “White Christmas”, and their duet, “(I’d Like to Get You on) A Slow Boat to China”, was perfect.

Lynn Timmons Edwards
Cabaret Scenes

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES

Cortland Repertory Theatre

Possessor of a rich Broadway baritone, Runbeck is a frequent Cortland Repertory visitor and a winner at the Syracuse New Times Syracuse Area Live Theater (SALT) awards. His many numbers, like “Song on the Sand,” are splendid.

James MacKillop
Syracuse New Times

Runbeck’s Georges is the ideal compere, but sweet and love-struck at his core, the essence of the doting husband.

Bryan VanCampen
Ithaca Times

Central to the action and various themes of the show is the relationship between Georges and Albin. Runbeck and Briel do marvelous work together and solo with several of the poignant Jerry Herman numbers, in particular the heartfelt duets “With You on My Arm” and the reprise of “Song on the Sand” which is the Act 2 opener. The extraordinary blending of their vocals lent solid credibility to their onstage relationship that seemed as comfortable as a pair of old slippers.

Tony Curulla
Syracuse.com

SOME VELVET MORNING

Tempe Center for the Arts

Some Velvet Morning is a provocative play that grapples with issues of misogyny and sexism with an electrifying story of obsession, desire and the roles we play. Directed by Ralph Remington, Some Velvet Morning features actors Brian Runbeck as “Fred,” Christina Denkinger as “Velvet”.

BroadwayWorld.com

CHICAGO

Phoenix Theatre Company
AriZoni Award Nomination – Best Supporting Actor

Brian Runbeck’s Amos is sweet, sincere, touching and funny, making this thick-skulled, put upon husband one you notice, even though no one in his life does.

Gil Benbrook
Talkin’ Broadway

Then there’s “Mister Cellophane,” the unforgettable lament to forgettability sung by Roxie’s longsuffering husband, Amos; Brian Runbeck’s turtlish rendition is both hilarious and beautifully sung.

Kerry Lengel
Arizona Republic/AZ Central

Brian Runbeck’s Amos Hart had an original, spectacled intelligence about his naïveté. With sweet elements of Charlie Chaplin in his “Mr. Cellophane” number, he may have believed himself invisible, but certainly his smooth vocal quality was unforgettable.

Jennifer Haaland
Mesa Examiner

Brian Runbeck’s solo “Mister Cellophane” not only manages to instill a real sense of sympathy for the sad sack of a husband, it also successfully uses the vaudevillian style inspired by another legendary performer, Bert Williams, an entertainer once described by W.C. Fields as one of the saddest men he ever knew. And that’s just how Runbeck makes us feel every time we meet Amos; he’s the saddest man we’ll ever know, and even though no one remembers Amos, you won’t forget Runbeck.

David Appleford
Valley Screen & Stage

GROSS INDECENCY: THE THREE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE

Cortland Repertory Theatre
Syracuse Area Live Theater (SALT) Award – Best Actor

Brian Runbeck is superb as Oscar Wilde…and even as he provides his own defense via wit and intellect, we sense the growing exhaustion in him.

Paul Hansom
Ithaca Times

Brian Runbeck’s Wilde is a carefully detailed character who has a human streak, as well as implacable rightness and bravery.

Joan Vadeboncoeur
Syracuse Post-Standard

Runbeck’s performance was magnificent and embodied the character of Wilde with believable passion and conviction. Runbeck was expressive enough to convey Wilde’s desires and ideals without becoming a caricature.

Danica Hall
Cortland Standard

Brian Runbeck delivers a magnificent performance as Wilde, offering so much more than the general impression of a flippant wit (although that trait remains, aptly and amply, in evidence) by zeroing in on Wilde’s passion for his “English Renaissance” in art and, particularly, literature. Runbeck turns in an accomplished and compelling performance throughout.

Tom Woods
Central New York Theatre News

Comic relief, when needed, is often cerebral, and is provided in measured amounts by “character” witnesses, but in greater portions through the crafty, verbal twists and turns launched by veteran actor Brian Runbeck, who metes out extraordinary aural and visual stage justice as Wilde. Runbeck is not only facile with the somewhat stilted Victorian verbiage, he also strikes an uncanny resemblance to photographs of the writer in facial expression and physical “style”.

Tony Curulla
Syracuse Post-Standard

HOW THE OTHER HALF LOVES

Phoenix Theatre Company
AriZoni Award – Best Actor

All of the actors are good, but it’s Brian Runbeck, as the absent-minded aristocrat Frank, who makes the show. Playing somewhat of a stereotype – a droll dimwit representing the ineptitude of the upper crust – he delivers the playwright’s witty dialogue with impeccable timing.

Kerry Lengel
The Arizona Republic

GOLF: THE MUSICAL

Off-Broadway, Midtown Theatre

Brian Runbeck is endlessly entertaining throughout, taking little moments like an old man¹s cough and turning them into comedic masterpieces.

Show Business Weekly

The show builds its centerpiece out of the banter of two of the most famous golfers of all, actors Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, heartwarmingly played by Tom Gamblin and Brian Runbeck.

Barbara & Scott Siegel
Theater Mania

Brian Runbeck’s Bob Hope—never an easy voice—is brilliant.

Marc Miller
Backstage

Tom Gamblin, Lyn Philistine, Brian Runbeck and Christopher Sutton are a vocally and comedically gifted foursome of golfers. Gamblin and Runbeck have fun playing famous celebrity golfers Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, getting laughs by mocking their own (pretty good) attempts at impersonation.

Associated Press
ABC News

Gamblin…plays Bing Crosby along with Runbeck as a spot-on Bob Hope. The two do a parody of the Hope/Crosby Road pictures and throw one-liners back and forth making the audience laugh and entertaining themselves too.

Darron Cardosa
Theatre is Easy

HOW THE OTHER HALF LOVES

Cortland Repertory Theatre

The sparkplug of CRT’s electric ensemble is Brian Runbeck as the sincere Frank Foster. Whether he’s attempting to plumb the mysteries of broken electric toothbrush or fumbling for the words to save a co-worker’s marriage, Runbeck exudes an almost exquisite befuddlement.

Len Fonte
Syracuse New Times

Brian Runbeck leads an energetic and accomplished cast with his spot-on portrayal of the slightly befuddled cuckold Frank. It is marvelous work.

Tom Woods
CNY Theatre News and Reviews

Brian Runbeck is particularly hilarious as well-meaning but tedious Frank Foster.

Miranda K. Pennington
Ithaca Times

HAIRSPRAY

Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival

Tracy’s dad Wilbur is exquisitely sketched by Brian Runbeck, one of the few to add unique personality to his type. Among the show’s many excellent numbers, his and Winslow’s romantic duet, “You’re Timeless to Me,” is one of the standouts.

Barbara Adams
Ithaca Times

As Tracy’s father, Wilbur Brian Runbeck is a delightful jokester who lightens the tension of many a scene. His duet with Winslow, the tender “(You’re) Timeless to Me,” is one of several musical highlights…

David Wilcox
Auburn Citizen

Darryl Winslow’s Edna and Brian Runbeck’s Wilbur (Tracy’s parents) are terrific renditions of the “traditional” characters (for this piece) played “to type”. Winslow’s gender is barely recognizable as he plays the overweight wife to Runbeck’s diminutive husband. One of the show’s highlights features the two in a smooth song and dance number titled “You’re Timeless to Me”.

Tony Curulla
Syracuse Post-Standard

42nd STREET

Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival

The two self-described character supporting players are the songwriting team of Maggie Jones (Becky Barta) and Bert Berry (Brian Runbeck), both skilled scene stealers. Barta gets her licks in “Shuffle Off to Buffalo,” and Runbeck can squeeze a laugh from the slightest lines.

Syracuse New Times

UNBEATABLE

Phoenix Theatre Company/Stages Repertory Theatre

There’s a wonderful little ditty, Pharmacy Song, that’s built almost entirely out of scientific mumbo-jumbo; Brian Runbeck, one of several wonderful supporting players, performs it with vaudevillian pizzazz.

Kerry Lengel
The Arizona Republic

HARVEY

Cortland Repertory Theatre

Runbeck creates a smiling, unfailingly polite, bright-eyed Elwood that wipes away memories of Jimmy Stewart in the same role. He’s self-contained and confident in his vision, with none of Stewart’s drawling hesitation. Part of the humor of his characterization is his talent to convince.

James MacKillop
Syracuse New Times

As Dowd, Brian Runbeck breezes in looking for all the world like James Stewart, who starred in the 1950 film. But Runbeck steers far clear of any of Stewart’s mannerisms and makes the role entirely his own. Runbeck especially captures Dowd’s unflappable calm. He may fantasize the rabbit, but he delights in the world and the people in it. Still, Runbeck also conveys Dowd’s loneliness.

Neil Novelli
Syracuse Post Standard

Runbeck, as the sweet and oh-so-mannerly Elwood P. Dowd, has got his character down to a “t”; never once does he stoop to gimmicks or grimaces to get his laughs, and he gets a good many… every member of the cast should look to his example of how humor arises out of character and situation, not from the imposition of ticks, twitches, and gratuitous schtick.

Caissa Willmer
Ithaca Times

CONTACT

3 + 9 =