Linda Gehringer, Jeff Biehl, center, and Tyler Pierce in “How to Write a New Book for the Bible” at South Coast Repertory. Credit: Henry DiRocco.

Ultimately, Cain’s unique blend of theater and theology satisfies both disciplines. His faithfulness to the story is justified. The universal will emerge from the singular. As Cain the character says for Cain the writer-priest, “If you want to see God – says the Book – look at your family story.”
Cristofer Gross – TheaterTimes

But the work cannot be scored an artistic success. Cain has not transformed his experience into something lastingly emblematic. The play falls short on the level of character and dramatic development — a sign that the subject is still too close to home.
Charles McNulty – LA Times

No matter how funny, loving, poignant, earnest and smartly written his play is, any misty-eyed laughter upon leaving the theater will become “What’s for dinner?” by the time you reach the parking lot.
Tony Frankel – Stage and Cinema

Cain as the pesky kid brother Jesus never had. There are many funny, charming, and affecting moments, but the individual parts are greater than their sum, and the script is overlong by at least 15 to 20 minutes.
Eric Marchese – Backstage

I wonder if any son has ever paid greater tribute to his mother than Bill Cain does in How To Write A New Book For The Bible, his extraordinary new play about her death—and her life, told extraordinarily well in its Southern California Premiere at South Coast Repertory.
Steven Stanley – StageSceneLA

Watching it is as pleasurable as leafing through a stranger’s chaotically organized, but page for page smile-inducing, intimate scrapbook.
Bob Verini – Variety

Kent Nicholson directs with a sure hand. The chemistry among the actors and the directorial choices make compelling Cain’s wit, honesty, and sentiment without sentimentality.
Melinda Schupmann – ArtsInLA

The acting and direction of this play is “as good as it gets”. Director Kent Nicholson takes a powerful/entertaining play and wisely brings it to the stage without dropping an iota of its psychological, emotional insights or its considerable fun.
Joseph Sirota – Los Alamitos-Seal Beach Patch

The play deftly moves between homespun comedy and heartbreak under the lithe supervision of director Kent Nicholson, who strips the stage bare of everything but a few essential pieces of furniture, a door, an all-important multifunctional crate and hanging pieces of glass representing the fragmented life story — all realized skillfully by scenic designer Scott Bradley. The acting throughout is superb, including several nonfamily characters played without confusion by Blakeley and Biehl.
Tom Provenzano – LA Weekly

I sense that a moving and well-constructed 90-minute play lurks beneath this rather ungainly longer version.
Paul Hodgins – OC Register

“Bible” is a smart and funny new play that exemplifies what SCR does best.
Jordan Young – LA Examiner

Yet there is so much humor, profundity and impeccable craft, both in the script and on stage, that the experience, though at times painful, is also exquisitely beautiful. If you’re curious as to why the marginalized and overlooked artistic medium of theater exists in this world of bombastic visual wizardry and instant access to everything, look no further than this play.
Joel Beers – OC Weekly

South Coast Repertory
655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa
7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays
Ends Nov. 18, 2012
Tickets: $29-$70; (714) 708-5555
Running time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Filed Under: FeaturedLemonMeter


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