Commentary:

Critical and audience response, August 2010-12:

ANSWERED PRAYERS: “Beautifully staged, gorgeous and evocative libretto and score, and knock-out singing / a human character study set to music and acted with superb and believable nuance / what a gorgeous show! / another fine example of how Nautilus and its typically superb composers, actors, and musicians pay attention to the subtle details that establish real characters and show us what they think and feel; they take away the extraneous, punctuate musically, and the heart reveals itself onstage” UNTOLD LIES: “It’s hard to imagine a more deeply affecting work / The musical idiom is hearty Americana, with the simplicity of folk music and an operatic richness and complexity / the songs are beautifully complex and the singers and musicians are well up to their demands / gorgeous, moving, and beautifully done show / plenty of musically rewarding moments / the music and lyrics are rich and compelling / very well written, composed, and performed, this show is probably more folk opera than musical theatre, but utterly accessible” TWISTED APPLES: “This show has been mounted by seasoned and richly talented professionals / the subtle, nuanced text is amplified by delicate, gossamer music / an excellent script and some truly gorgeous music, approachable and singable, yet boasting Charles Ives-like intensity / breath-taking; heart-wrenching; quietly powerful; beautiful / both the music and the libretto are fantastic; poetic, yet always serving to develop the characters and story / it gives beauty and nobility and a clear voice to natural facts that are easy to repress / as usual, Nautilus comes through with top quality in all aspects.”

From City Pages, August 2004: 

“Jill Anna Ponasik gives a virtuoso performance in this adaptation of Dominick Argento’s Pulitzer- winning song cycle FROM THE DIARY OF VIRGINIA WOOLF… She journeys through the mind of the English writer, borrowing the grandness of the operatic form to express Woolf’s plight… director Ben Krywosz supports his actress flawlessly, creating a rich, minimalist world for a mesmerizing theatrical event.”

From theater blogger Matthew Everett, February 2006: 

“I’m starting to think that maybe Nautilus should be one of the only groups allowed to do musicals, because they get them so very, very right. In this production [of MAN OF LA MANCHA], the company gets out of the way and just lets the music and the story reach the audience in the most direct way possible. It’s an example of what performers that regularly work with Nautilus do best — they approach the song with respect, and present the song, rather than try to overwhelm the song which, with their considerable talents, they could easily do… All of this, of course, overseen by Nautilus’ main man, director Ben Krywosz, who makes Nautilus such a year-round beacon for the best singers, musicians, composers and librettists. This is a company with a unique vision, doing important, unusual, fresh and entertaining work. If they’re not on your theatergoing radar, they should be.”

From the Star Tribune, September 1997: 

INTO THE WOODS is a difficult show to bring off, yet Nautilus’ production scores heavily in every respect, thanks to sensitive, knowing direction by Ben Krywosz… In what is surely the show’s hardest task, he keeps the tone moving easily from light to dark and back again.”

From writers and composers: 

“The Nautilus Composer-Librettist Studio was certainly one of the most valuable programs I have ever participated in. Everything about it was top-notch and utterly fulfilling” • “I’ve got projects planned with at least three of the composers and am still talking with the others about additional collaborations. This has truly been a life-changing experience” • “Nautilus serves as an oasis, a place of creative nourishment, empowerment, and respite. It gave me heart; I felt valued and taken seriously as an artist at a new and higher level. The support I felt from the staff was phenomenal!”

Critical and audience response, August 2009: 

“Wow; ALICE UNWRAPPED is an outbreak of real art at the Fringe / Jill Anna Ponasik gives lovely, rending, and plaintively honest voice to Alice / a small, beautiful jewel / the most moving show I’ve seen in eight years of Fringing / this show is perfection / it touches your soul / a beautiful voice, a powerful story, great characterization, and a strong script / a poignant ode to family relationships / the high quality we expect from Nautilus / the music and the presentation are standing-ovation dynamite / an absolute must see!”

From City Pages, “Best Opera”, May 2003: 

“If you like the fresh, funky, and finely tuned operatic work you see featured by Theatre de la Jeune Lune in shows like their MAGIC FLUTE, you’re partly appreciating the creativity of Nautilus Music- Theater. Nautilus is a process-based studio that turns out original operatic sounds and character work. In that spirit, their recent showing of THE LAST FIVE YEARS, a new creation in the Rough Cuts series by Jason Robert Brown, was a wonderful example of what opera can, and will, be… only singers especially committed to character work would have been equipped to make the performance believable. People who know enough about opera to desire more than what the big boys are offering will want to sit in at the studio — or hope that the rumors prove true of a full staging under the direction of Ben Krywosz at the Southern Theater.”

From St Paul Pioneer Press, August 2005: 

“Anyone who’s seen Jennifer Baldwin Peden in her rave-review work around town (at Jeune Lune, among others) knows she’s a pretty sure bet. As the solo star of MEDITATIONS ON ARION, an artful retelling of the Greek myth, the local singer-soprano lives up to her rep. Co-creators Peden and Ben Krywosz tell a nifty story with utter grace, incorporating baroque opera, cool narrative, and tunes by Meredith Monk and Paul Simon. Don’t miss this one; Peden is an excellent actress, an even better singer, and has the most riveting stage presence, like, ever.”

From City Pages, September 1999: 

“With finely wrought performances and an intelligent evocation of Rossetti’s enigmatic parable [of GOBLIN MARKET], Nautilus has managed something fascinating and even exotic — a wonderful opera.”

From Wesley Balk Opera/Music-Theater Institute performers:

“The Nautilus Institute is a treasure! I dove down and found resources within myself that I scarcely knew I had. It will certainly increase my performing power” • “Exceptional! This approach took me into new realms of singing-acting performance and a new broader foundation for all my work” • “The ability to be in such an open, supportive environment and to truly have the opportunity to experience what was taught is invaluable. There were so many chances to sing and practice what we were learning and that really was an important part of my growth” • “We’re not just voices any more!”

Critical and audience response, May 2012: 

“[THE VIEW FROM HERE is] beautifully intimate and acoustic music-theater, with a raw, immediate feel / a daring approach, focusing on the essence of the songs and the story / the music is not mere accompaniment; it’s integral to the unfolding narrative and smartly deployed throughout, adding color to the character’s struggle to find his soul / it packs an emotional punch; no schmaltz or hurrahs, only the realization that, for once, we’re exiting a musical not with answers, but with intriguing questions.”

From a participant in the 2007 Lincoln Center Theater Directors’ Lab: 

“The next morning, we began our three day Collaboration Principles workshop with Ben Krywosz, the Artistic Director of Nautilus Music-Theater in St. Paul. He looks like Santa Claus, and made me believe in the Spirit of Christmas again”.