HEATHER E. CUNNINGHAM
and the Critics said...
"Heather Cunningham’s Anna is complex and layered, both as ailing schoolteacher and grieving sister. She’s a powerful performer on stage, at once able to hold her own and blend with her scene partners... Ms. Cunningham and Mr. Rust’s chemistry as brother and sister is the most effective among the three actors, culminating in an ending of one precious moment of emotional, and satisfying release." - Gina Femia, New York Theatre Review
"Heather Cunningham as Sheila gave a powerhouse of a performance, heart-wrenching as the mother and wife struggling to keep her family together. " - Gina Femia, New York Theatre Review
"Clearly, Matthew Trumbull and Heather Cunningham have much in the way of acting chops." - Edward Malin, nytheatre.com
"The play... features a hard-working cast of six, of whom Heather Cunningham as Martha Washington was, for me, the standout." - Martin Denton, nytheatre.com
"The cast is strong (standouts include Heather E. Cunningham as Rivard's housekeeper), the story is compelling, and the show is well worth seeing." - Wendy Caster, Show Showdown
"Heather E. Cunningham plays housekeeper Mrs. Shandig. Mrs. Shandig is a convert to Catholicism who runs the Rectory and Convent. As innocent as Sister Rita is, she is well aware of men’s more base natures. She tries to protect both Sister Rita and Father Rivard from their emotions. Ms. Cunningham is excellent – as are the other supporting players." - Scott MItchell, Reviews Off Broadway
"As the loveless, and lovesick Sheila, Heather E. Cunningham, is called upon to make the biggest character changes, from warm to cold, from strong to weak, from hysterical to giddy, to needy to independent. Always hitting the right note, from vocal to facial expressions, to body language, Cunningham is a joy to watch." - Edward Rubin, nytheatre-wire.com
"And Cunningham is simply phenomenal. She portrays Sheila with a depth and intensity that is absolutely breathtaking." - Alan J. Miller, theasy.com
"Cunningham is especially good with the dry, throwaway lines that she's called upon to deliver as the senior staffer, Peg Costello." - Martin Denton, nytheatre.com
"I also appreciate Heather E. Cunningham as Peg. Cunningham is a heavy-set woman who delivers a performance with a subtext that says, “I value myself, and I won’t mock myself or my weight by acting ridiculous. I know I’m desirable and worth a great deal.” I’d say “More power to her,” but Cunningham knows she has plenty of power already, and is using it splendidly. " - Peter Filichia, theatremania.com"Heather Cunningham does a number on the character of Peg – expanding her from a one-note good time gal into someone who runs deeper and truer. Peg is brassy and bold, but Cunningham will every so slightly allow her vulnerability to peek through, and it’s at that moment when you fall in love with her. " - Karen Tortora-Lee, thehappiestmedium.com
"...the most astonishing transformation was done by Heather Cunningham.
I’ve been following Heather’s work over the last few years, and had you told me, before I saw the show, what her role was, I wouldn’t have believed you. Heather has played the innocent and the ravaged, and has always plumbed the depths of her own shock and misery in such a way that my heart was just shattering during each of their last few plays. A woman, alone at a table, eating a donut… you wouldn’t think it could move me to tears, but it did.
So, suddenly, she’s the femme fatale? Suddenly, she’s the man eater, as devilishly flirtatious and sexually powerful as Mad Men’s Joan. This is not a role that many theater companies would consider Heather for, and yet she knocks it out of the park. " - Sean Williams, seanrants.com
"From the moment Heather E. Cunningham opens the play as Rosie, with a foreshadowing soliloquy of lost flowers, the audience is completely drawn into her world, her family's struggle, her pain, and ultimately her courage. Cunningham's is a performance of such strength, nobility, and beauty she literally left me breathless. Her stunning portrayal grows like a daffodil emerging from the snow until Rosie's inner struggle blossoms so fiercely, so blindingly clear, the empathy we experience is cathartic. I was left literally shaken... In the gut-wrenching climax, Cunningham and Forbrich tear your heart out. I was not alone in suppressing sobs." - Heather McCallister, nytheatre.com
"Heather continues to make
heart scraping choices when she decides who she is gonna play and how.
It isn't interesting to watch a person be depressed, it isn't
interesting to watch a person mourn, and it's deeply boring to watch
passive aggression and self-denial in real life, it's even worse on
stage. So it is a great testimony to Ms. Cunningham that she saves the
worst character for herself, a study in self-absorption and misery that
still, somehow, simply pops off the stage.
"Misery overcomes farm wife Rosie (Cunningham), who spends her time sulking around the kitchen in a zombie-like trance... The urge to walk onstage and shake her out of it owes to Cunningham's moving performance... " - Lily Hodges, villagevoice.com
"I’m haunted by the seemingly stark yet surprisingly deep performances by Heather E. Cunningham (Rosie), Joe Forbrich (Gant), Lowell Byers (Will) and Casandera M.J. Lollar (Molly)... Heather E. Cunningham’s Rosie is suffering deeply from a loss which has taken her hope and her heart, but there are still moments of anger in her, and where there’s anger there’s at least a spark of life. She tightly wraps her depression around her as if it were the ratty sweater she can’t keep from pulling closer and closer. " - Karen Tortora-Lee, thehappiestmedium.com
"She is a gut-punch
of an actor. Completely without concern for herself when she's in
character, utterly subsumed by the demands of the script. But I know
she was also at every step of the process, the sets, the props,
everything... including picking the piece.
"But the tragic star who attempts to be joyful and helpful, but ends the play weeping while consoling herself with one of the worst looking donuts ever seen, is Angel the chunky waitress, played by Heather Cunningham. We need a sidebar to inform you that Heather Cunningham is the founder and artistic director of Retro Productions, and often this kind of casting can seem like vanity, but not here. Heather’s veneer of joy is outsized ,but the terrible teasing and abuse she absorbs from nearly every character, and hence from the world at large is palpable." - Wickham Boyle, theaterscene.net
"Stand-outs include Heather E. Cunningham as Angel. She works so hard to please everyone else, letting all others lay into her as she tries to roll with the punches. As the situation gets more volatile, her defenses gradually crumble as she loses the ability to cope." - Andrew Singer, City Scoops, New York
"we get to see Cunningham break down at the very end of the play in a very moving moment...Kudos to Ms. Cunningham." - Dianna Martin, The Fab Marquee
"Cunningham...clearly understands everything Angel feels, especially regarding her unrequited love—affection, at least—for Stephen, who calls himself Red Ryder." - Leonard Jacobs, Backstage.
"Jessica Collins (a perfect Heather E. Cunningham)" - Jonathan Reuning, United Stages.
"As the deeply dissatisfied estranged wife of a Vietnam vet in Retro Productions' presentation of Emily Mann's play [Still Life], Heather E. Cunningham burst with working-class outrage and resentment yet made you care for this lost soul without begging for sympathy. And in an evening of three monologues, she played off the other two actors, never showily but always eloquently." Marc Miller, Backstage East, "Performances to Remember, 2007." (Listed among 22 performers from Broadway [Lauren Ambrose: Romeo and Juliet, Deanna Dunnagan: August: Osage County] and Off-Broadway [Allison Pill: Blackbird, Kelly Kinsella: Kelly Kinsella Live! Under Broadway] alike.)
"Cunningham and Vaughan are marvels, both subtly defying expectations about their characters' roles in Mark's life. Even in repose, and there's a lot of it, each stays in character, forcing us to confront Cheryl's bitterness and Nadine's complicated earth-mother makeup even when they're not front and center." Marc Miller, Backstage.
"The play is strongest when we catch a glimpse of the complex personalities that lie beneath the judge-charming caricatures these women have created for themselves. Cunningham believably fleshes out Dot's seemingly mindless character through the slow revealing of hidden facets you wouldn't have guessed she possessed. A climactic speech about her "proudest moment" is stirring and strong, especially in the stunned moment when she trembles with the realization that her mother, aunts, and grandmother fought for equality, and here she stands, a competent woman who saved hundreds of soldiers' lives, struggling to earn respect by ironing a shirt. Within her lies a fiery, determined spirit that has been too easily and thoroughly suppressed." - Adrienne Cea, OffOffOnline.com PICK OF THE WEEK
"Heather E. Cunningham is solid as Mrs. Los Angeles." - Michael Lazan, Backstage
"Cunningham and Burke do a nice job showing the close friendship and banter between the two women." - Josephine Cashman, NYTheatre.com
"Heather E. Cunningham was a knock out as the timid misfit Maria Theresa Russo. Maria struggles with being one in a houseful of siblings, picked on by the nuns and her classmates and it all comes to a quiet and touching boiling point in a stirring monologue. Heather's quiet performance is not easily forgotten. " Akira Squitieri, Theatrescene.net
deserves a medal." - Laurel Graeber, New York Times