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what critics are saying . . .

On the Twentieth Century - Blank Theatre Company

“But if, like me, you are a Cy Coleman fan, here’s a rare chance to hear one of his best scores deftly sung by young voices and this consistently likable and earnest troupe makes for very pleasant company. There’s a zesty comic sensibility on display that’s a fine match for Comden and Green’s book, too. All in all, here’s a trip for retro Broadway fans who like their musicals up close and yet roaring down the track“

– Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

“Dustin Rothbart and Nick Arceo as O’Malley and Webb are a dynamic duo, masterfully executing their roles as the masterminds behind Jaffe’s desperate scheme. Their efforts to concoct and sell the idea of a non-existent play keep the audience in stitches.”

– Frank Meccia, Around Town Chicago


“Rothbart and Arceo make a perfect comic duo and occasional straight men[...]it’s easy to forget that without the straight man, we’re just watching a room full of nuts – those moments of disbelief and frustration they portray gives the audience something to relate to and laugh even harder when everything goes off the rails. “

– Chicago Theatre Review, Alina Hevia

Merrily We Roll Along - Blank Theatre Company
"The trio at the core of “Merrily,” played here by Christopher Johnson (a fine young vocalist), Dustin Rothbart (a company co-founder) and Brittney Brown, all are deeply invested in what they’re doing[...]this is the kind of crew capable of rejuvenating the city’s storefront theater scene just when it needs them the most.”
- Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

“Franklin Shepard, Inc.” is an explosive number about selling one’s soul, and Rothbart handles it superbly.”
- Karen Topham, Chicago On Stage

“Christopher Johnson and Dustin Rothbart, as Frank and Charley, respectively, are also engaging and vocally strong. Charley is not as well fleshed out in the book, but Rothbart productively plays with what is and is not there to create something three-dimensional.”
- Christine Malcom, Talkin Broadway
“Blank’s Co-Artistic Director & Founder Dustin Rothbart brings a brash and driving wit to writer Charley Kringas, markedly poking knowing holes into the wet rag role of Franklin Shepherd, played by Christopher Johnson.”
- Scott Gryder, Picks in Six
The new production of Stephen Sondheim’s musical Merrily We Roll Along, is a reminder of everything that live theatre is, or should be, all about. In a long lifetime of theatre-going, I don’t think I have ever seen a better or more heartfelt small-theatre production, nor even a better musical of any size.”
- Michael Antman, Chicago Theatre Review


The Wild Party - Blank Theatre Company

"Rothbart gave us a temper that was larger-than-life, making you want to slink from his wake. His raucous rendition of Let me Drown had me spellbound with a maniacal aura that teetered on the edge of genius and madness."

- Kathleen Anwar, Broadway World

"The cast of stellar vocalists makes every song pop. Standout vocals and top-notch choreography make The Wild Party a night of fun."

- Lauren Katz, Picture This Post

The Mystery of Edwin Drood- Blank Theatre Company

“Dickensian class drama is present but takes a back seat to the lower-stakes, goofier antics of the performing company (like the charmingly overeager emcee work by Dustin Rothbart).” A dizzying, delightful word buffet "Both Sides of the Coin" performed by Rothbart and Heinemann is a highlight.

- Dan Jakes, The Chicago Reader


“Heinemann and Rothbart share a wonderfully entertaining duet in ‘Both Sides of the Coin’.”

- Karen Topham, Chicago On Sage

Spring Awakening- Blank Theatre Company

“Everyone involved in Blank Theatre Company’s SPRING AWAKENING is a new contributor to storefront excellence in Chicago"

– Kelsey McGrath, PerformInk​​

“Blank Theatre Company has assembled a group of exceptional singers...Each vocal performance is expressive and full-bodied, and this bare-bones production gains much from the quality of these voices. “

– Matthew Nerber,  Third Coast Review 


...Spelling Bee - Madkap Productions

“The very touchy, stressed out William Barfee (Dustin Rothbart) illustrating the skill of his “Magic Foot" brought down the house.”

– Beverly Friend, Chicago Critic​​

​The History Boys - Eclectic Full Contact Theatre

“This production is excellent for so many reasons. This non-equity cast is exceptional.”

– Colin Douglas, Chicago Theatre Review

“In addition to the material itself, the show contains beautiful and subtle performances by each cast member. Highly Recommended.”

– Stephanie Dykes, Picture This Post

The Secret Garden - Lake Forest Theatre

"Dustin Rothbart’s Dickon embodies the heart of the Moors of Yorkshire and the central connection to nature, all with a knowing smile."

- Alli Doubek, Entertaining Chicago


"Stand out comedic performances by Elizabeth Mazur (Martha) and Dustin Rothbart (Dickon) are

another highlight"

- Erin Fleming, Chicagoland Musical Theatre

The Little Mermaid - Jedlicka Performing Arts Center

“Poor Unfortunate Souls” is superb, powerful and frightening. She’s wonderfully assisted by Dustin Rothbart and Colton Shied as her oily, eely accomplices, Flotsam and Jetsam.”

– Colin Douglas, Chicago Theatre Review


Oliver! - Citadel Theatre

“The four talented singing street vendors (Natalie Rae, Alison Stake, Aaron Mann and Dustin Rothbart) are excellent, selling their wares in “Who Will Buy?”

– Colin Douglas, Chicago Theatre Review


“Perhaps the most impressive thing about Citadel Theatre's revival of "Oliver!" is the tenaciousness of its ensemble. “

– Barbara Vitello, The Daily Herald

HAIR - Big Noise Theatre

“With some of the talent that we will see move on to our Equity companies in the years to come…such as Maragret Mead (D. Rothbart, quite the comic). All solid performers who make this production, the sparkling one it is!  Highly Recommended!”

- Alan Bresloff, Around Town Chicago

The Rocky Horror Show - Underscore Theatre Company

“Rothbart, putting on a heavy German accent owned the stage during his scenes, and when it came time for his song “Eddie’s Teddy,” boy can he sing.”

- Kevin Pollack, Rock Chicago Magazine


“Both Eddie (Aaron Stephenson) and Dr. Everett Scott’s (Dustin Rothbart) stories are mysteries to me, but damn could those fellas sing.”

- Elizabeth Schmeski, Eric and Andy’s Reviews You Can Lews!

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