From Colleagues…

Michael Samuel Kaplan is an actor in the richest and best sense of the word. He is a first-rate talent with solid training who brings exceptional professionalism to his work. I have had the pleasure of directing him on three occasions over the course of ten years. He is as versatile on stage as he is compelling to watch. He is, in short, a director's dream!

– Peter Zazzali, Director “Angel Street” and “Deer Season”

Michael Samuel Kaplan is an extraordinary actor – intensely talented and hard working, yet one who manages to make it look effortless in performance. I've had the pleasure of directing him in three productions, and he is always lovely to rehearse with – open to direction and trying new things, he has a great sense of humor and is, above all, a truly kind man. 

– Daisy Walker, Director “A Splintered Soul”, “Oblomov” and "Red"

Michael is an urbane, funny, physically agile and precise actor.  He is also a joy to work with: offering suggestions, helping others, pragmatically overcoming obstacles, willing to explore and with a deliciously droll sense of humor. It was easy to be inspired by his devotion to the theater and I'd work with him again in a second. He is a boon to any production.

– Richard Hamburger, Director "The Government Inspector", former Artistic Director of Dallas Theatre Center

Michael  is a director's delight: collaborative, generous, responsible, highly imaginative, skilled, and adventuresome.  He is the type of theatre artist that could with justification engrave on his forehead:  'Here to work.  Absolutely no maintenance required.'

– David Feldshuh, Director "Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music" & "It's A Wonderful Life Radio Play"

Michael Samuel Kaplan is one of the most gifted actors I’ve had the privilege of directing.  In addition to his talent, he brings an intelligence that at once challenges and informs the text of the play.  He becomes a creative partner in the process of working together on a show, always giving over his ego in service of the greater vision of the production.  As a performer he is imaginative, malleable, and always present.  He brings enormous talent to the stage, but leaves his ego at the door.  I will cast him in future productions as often as circumstances will allow.  Working with him is a joy.

– Melanie Dreyer, Director “The History Boys” and “Our Town”

From The Press…


Actor Michael Samuel Kaplan as Elliot and director Rachel Lampert sustain Elliot’s comic agony to the max...Opus is a brilliant and stylish comedy, an American Noel Coward with more bite. Company regulars like Michael Samuel Kaplan, Jesse Bush, Alison Scaramella and Alexander Thomas are all in top form... 

- Syracuse New Times -  READ THE FULL REVIEW

Bedazzling. The sheer magic of top-flight performers blending their talents and bending their wills to produce glorious, ineffable sounds shot through with passion, precise and piercing, lingers long after the final moments of the Kitchen Theatre’s pellucid production of Michael Hollinger’s Opus...Part of the joy of this production lies in the sharp counterpoint among the five actors. Michael Samuel Kaplan portrays Elliot as a lost soul who is also a scrapper, a touchy man whose desire and ambition fights with his fears of exposure, not only of his sexuality but also of his possible inadequacies as a musician. 

- Thompkins Weekly

...performances by Kaplan as the snark-baboon Elliot, and Powers as the virtuoso Dorian, stand out. Kaplan brings just the right amount of verve and sophistication to Elliot, while retaining the deep obstinacy of a spoiled child. His witty bon mots and passionate outbursts speak to his character’s intelligence and passion, but his obdurate, almost childish behavior towards those close to him provide the main fount for alienation and antagonism in the show... 

- The Cornell Daily Sun

To embody Hollinger’s engaging story, Lampert has assembled a dream cast - a superb acting ensemble...absorbing entertainment, thanks to the talents of its entire creative team. 

- The Ithaca Journal

Oblomov - American Premiere

All three actors are superb...Kaplan is constantly awhirl in his multiple roles, and earns bonus points as audience cheerleader, drawing us into the story...a highly original and timely update on a classic.

- The Boston Globe, Critic's Pick - READ THE FULL REVIEW

If you like plays by Shakespeare and Chekhov and Becket and Pinter and Sam Shepard, you might want to get to the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater to see this American première...Michael Samuel Kaplan is wonderful in his eight different roles. As Oblomov's father, he directly addresses and even exhorts the audience to take a part in the drama. He is also the faithful old retainer, a no-nonsense and senseless doctor and five more. He is a master of caricature, and an energetic theatrical force as he instantly changes personae. In addition, he is able to show some true character peeking through the theatricalism of his caricatures - no mean feat...This is the kind of play and production that is entertaining while you experience it, but will keep you thinking about it long after you have left the theater. It might even keep you up at night...

- Cape Cod Times

Lady Chatterley's Lover - Southwest Premiere

Thanks to an excellent cast and the pinpoint direction of Jacqueline Reid, FUSION’s performance of this adaptation is brilliant…Michael Samuel Kaplan is compelling as Clifford. In conveying his character’s aristocratic grounding and discomfort with those socially below him, his love for his wife is revealed to be as complex as it is unsatisfying to her. And he does all of this from the seat of his wheelchair. 

- ABQ Theatre

From the moment they hit the stage, the six actors make it look easy…the secondary couple in the story is portrayed as vividly as that of the title characters themselves. In the role of Clifford Chatterley, Michael Samuel Kaplan brings everything this man is and could be to his portrayal of Clifford’s own frustrations, so different from those of his wife. 

- Elbow Room, New Mexico 

Angel Street

“Angel Street” is a parlor-room drama that has retained its power to (Bella’s) husband, the excellent Kaplan shifts from mildly threatening to sinister, flying into rages with the smoothness of a purring engine. Treating his wife with “kindness, cunning, and harshness,” his Manningham, we see, is an abuser. But he’s more than that, and as the play progresses, just his arrival in a scene creates unease…“You sit on the edge of your chair most of the time,” Eleanor Roosevelt said of the play back in the day. At Kansas Repertory Theatre, under Zazzali’s direction, that’s still the case. 

– The Kansas City Pitch CRITIC'S PICK "BEST OF 2016"

The Night Alive

This year FUSION has again brought a contemporary Irish master to Albuquerque, and again the experience is revelatory. The actors are all excellent…there is a long tradition of the Holy Fool in literature, and Michael Samuel Kaplan has brought his own unique gifts to McPherson’s laudable addition to world literature… pure theater, ineffably joyous and wonderful…

– The Albuquerque Journal

"The Night Alive,” as trenchantly directed by Jacqueline Reid and powerfully acted by her fine cast, haunts me still… Michael Samuel Kaplan is excellent in the role of  Doc… All of the characters are living in the moment and the moment becomes transcendent.

– ABQ Theatre


This season has seen many good small-company productions of Shakespeare's plays, and First Maria's Hamlet is one of the best...beautifully designed, expertly acted and exciting to watch...not to be missed.

– Theatre Pizzazz


Kaplan is riveting as the talented, tortured and pretentious artist.

- Cape Cod Times (Critic's Favorite of 2014)

Ants - Premiere

The actors more than meet the play’s demands, delivering literate, idea-packed dialogue and monologues with humor and honesty. The characters the playwright and actors have together developed are complex, quirky, and utterly believable as they travel ultimately logical but unforeseen arcs...As Adam, Michael Samuel Kaplan delivers a character who could be despicable, but is instead charming and highly appealing...This play is so rich, so warm, so engaging, so full to the brim with ideas and enthusiasm, it leaves you happy, hopeful, and satisfied.


Jeff Zinn directs at a good clip, eliciting strong performances from his three-member cast...Michael Samuel Kaplan displays a charming, deft comic touch in the play's final scenes.

 - Talkin’ Broadway

At A Loss (Renamed "Handle with Care") - Premiere

The four actors are excellent...Kaplan's Josh is charming and sympathetic. In one especially authentic moment, he confides to Ayelet, needing to unburden his heart even if she can't understand his words. Kaplan's roles in productions at Cornell's Schwartz Center were always memorable, but the close-up experience of this production shows just how subtle his characterization is.

– The Ithaca Journal

Director Rachel Lampert has assembled a crackerjack cast...Michael Samuel Kaplan, familiar to Schwartz Center audiences, gives an uncluttered, likeable performance as Josh.  He has a great time absurdly pantomiming what he is attempting to say to Ayelet throughout the first scene, but it's in the quietness of the latter scenes that he truly shines.  As Josh unwinds, we see layers of sadness reel off, until a sudden and tender half-smile of hope appears.

– Tompkins County Weekly

Sight Unseen 

Michael Kaplan well embodies the hunger of someone who hoisted himself out of a more insular world into international fame.

 – The Los Angeles Times

Kaplan’s performance is animated, layered, charming, strong and psychologically telling… 

– The Orange County Register

Kaplan gives a superb portrayal of the artist, a man as easily misinterpreted as his provocative abstract art…everything about this production is first rate.

– The Long Beach Press-Telegram

Moliere's The Learned Ladies

...just enjoy – easily enough done – the delicious parody of Warhol by resident actor Michael Kaplan. Cigarette always in hand, he’s effete and silly and clever, and Kaplan adds endlessly inventive comic turns, starting with an irresistible hint of muffin top where his black sweater doesn’t ever quite meet his black jeans.  If you could tear your eyes away from him, they should go to...

– The Ithaca Journal

Family Time 

Witty banter comes alive in the hands of Sessions and Kaplan. These two actors have great chemistry.  It is almost more thrilling to root for playful dissent than a resolution.

– Talkin’ Broadway 

Kaplan and Sessions provide an honest and intimate portrayal of two disparate siblings drawn together by their mother’s impending death.


The History Boys - Regional Premiere

…special fine ensemble acting unfolding a story that jolts you alert, like fingernails digging urgently into your skin.  Michael Kaplan's Irwin is superbly played: clever but craven, goading the boys into the appearance of intelligence merely by arguing the opposite of what's expected, or conventionally believed - or even true.   

– The Ithaca Journal

The Unvarnished Truth

Nothing less than comic genius could make this dog fly, and it’s soaring…Miller, Gordon, and Kaplan sizzle to a higher plane.  They bring to their roles the agility of monkeys, the timing of trapeze artists, and the expressiveness of silent-screen clowns.  They wring from their roles a sustained torrent of laughter…

– The Sacramento Register

 God’s Ear - Regional Premiere

Michael Kaplan’s performance is stunning in its intensity and variety, conveying an unusual degree of emotion through quotidian language and non sequiturs.

– The Ithaca Journal

…Michael Kaplan is excellent.  His character is both perplexed and broken, yet remains decent even during his infidelities.  It’s a touching performance because he is reeling from hurt, trying to find a comfortable shoulder in a world where they’re perpetually cold.

– The Ithaca Times

Michael Kaplan’s Ted is a man in flight, disenchanted and bereft, throwing himself into drink and flirtation.  Kaplan manages to let Ted be at times a louse, without ever losing touch with the tenderness and yearning to return, to connect, to nurture, that are at the center of his pain.

– Tompkins Weekly

 Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music

Jim Stools is wonderfully embodied by Michael Kaplan, who turns in a rock solid performance that's beefy and blunt but not without care. He's a gruff, ex-Harley rider, whose casual acceptance of life carries some tenderness and a few hints of deeper melancholy, for he is an American poet...              

– The Ithaca Times

The fine ensemble work is sheer comic delight. Before you know it, you're seduced in spite of yourself. 

– The Ithaca Journal

The Substance of Fire

Michael Kaplan’s Martin is a wonderfully soulful loner, somewhat reminiscent of Edmund in O’Neil’s ‘Long Day’s Journey into Night’.  His frustration and need for his father’s love is shared empathetically with the audience.      

 – Rob Stevens’ Showtime

The Government Inspector

Kaplan's snarky servant provides easily some of the most enjoyable moments in the production.  

– The Ithaca Times