Awards & Accolades


Winner - Best Drama  United Solo Theatre Festival 2016

A Jewish Joke


Critic’s Choice  San Diego Union-Tribune

Margin of Error


Best In Show 2017  San Diego CityBeat​

Margin of Error

Read More


Nomination - Outstanding New Play  San Diego Theatre Critics Circle

Margin of Error

Read More


Best New Theatre Company 2017  San Diego Magazine

Read More


"End of Year Wrap"  Pat Launer, CenterStage

Read More






A Jewish Joke Reviews

Run Date: March 14 through April 8, 2018

Venue: MOXIE Theatre





"Excellent… It's powerful and relevant material, laced with great helpings of humor, and thoroughly deserving of a hearty recommendation. Splendid work. Hilarious and heart-breaking. David Ellenstein's direction is smoothly worked out so that there's never a static moment. Just as important today as it was then." - Chris Gibson​, BroadwayWorld


Read the whole article



Ladue News


"Phil Johnson delivers a moving and memorable performance… in an astounding one-man performance with a script that is all too uncomfortably contemporary. Delivers a tour de force performance Director David Ellenstein matches the sizzling writing with a production that beautifully builds tension. What’s most impressive is Johnson’s emotionally compelling performance. He moves Bernie from a glib huckster who shills cheap jokes with abandon to a desperate man clinging to his life and his livelihood. A Jewish Joke is both humorous and harrowing. Johnson powerfully displays the good, the bad and the ugly…" - Mark Bretz - Ladue News


Read the whole article


St. Louis Jewish Light


"A brilliant one-man show starring Phil Johnson, who co-wrote the script with Marni Freedman, follows the meteoric rise and stunning, sudden fall of a top comedy writer the timing and irony of the best of the Jewish stand-up comics with the virtuoso skills of a show business wheeler-dealer. A bravura performance...A Jewish Joke brilliantly proves that the blacklist was no laughing matter." - Robert A. Cohn, St. Louis Jewish Light


Read the whole article


The Huffington Post


A solo tour de force powerfully performed by Johnson and forcefully co-written by him and Marni Freedman. One actor - the telephone doesn’t belong to the union - and a very simple set makes it a great prospect for off-Broadway. Producers, take note." - Myra Chanin, The Huffington Post


Read the whole article



St. Louis Post-Dispatch


"In New Jewish Theatre's production, Phil Johnson brings Bernie to such vivid life, you think he must know him inside-out. Quintessentially A Jewish Joke - jokes about standing up to life when you can, taking it when you can’t." - Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Read the whole article


NY Theatre Guide


"Johnson is a sensational performer, able to portray a range of emotions that shake your foundations like a seismic event. I give it full houses, standing ovations, and a thunderous applause. This impressive production needs a lengthy run in NYC." - Jacquelyn Claire, NY Theatre Guide


Read the whole article



New City Stage


"A Mighty Good Mensch. There is a mastery in Johnson’s multi-leveled performance, every drip of sweat, every gesture, every micro-expression of his face is felt beyond the doors of the theater..." - Danielle Levsky​, New City Stage


Read the whole article



Saenger Syndicate


"Turns lemons into lemonade... Life isn’t always a bowl of cherries as Phil Johnson successfully reveals in his one man show A Jewish Joke.” But as fast as one can flip a coin Johnson's humor, based on his growing up and hearing Jewish Jokes, turns lemons into lemonade. A crowd-pleasing show." - Diana Saenger, Saenger Syndicate




Matt Morrow  Artistic Director, Diversionary Theatre

"Strikingly relevant... Phil Johnson is theatre magic. A Jewish Joke is a hilarious joy ride through an obsessively comic mind, while examining a dark chapter of American history that feels strikingly relevant right now. While it is deliriously funny, it's heart and insight are no joke."


Michael Cohen  Executive Director, Lawrence Family Jewish Center (San Diego, CA)

"Phil Johnson is an outstanding performer whose extraordinary work has taken him from Broadway to Los Angeles and to San Diego. Phil is a man of many talents. As a multifaceted actor, comic, singer and playwright, he is well known and is highly respected by the Jewish community in San Diego. Phil always presents a well-written, exciting and emotional show. He never disappoints. He takes the audience through hilarious artistic adventures and I look forward to seeing him every time I have the opportunity. Undeniably reliable and the ultimate professional, Phil always does a fantastic job. His performances are a MUST SEE!!!"






Withering Heights Reviews

Run Date: June 11 through July 9, 2017

Venue: Diversionary Theatre



The San Diego Union Tribune


“If you come in expecting plenty of good (guilty) laughs rather than some kind of fresh perspective on the novel, “Withering Heights” might be just your ticket — and you have to admire the sheer comic energy of its two writer-performers.” - James Hebert, The San Diego Union Tribune


Read More



Times of San Diego


“Mayhem, delirious mania, split-second character changes and two tour de force performances.…you’ve got to marvel at Schein’s insanely gifted malleability of face, voice, accent and gender, not to mention his agile physicality. And Johnson’s inherent wackiness and mastery of humor, anger and canine impersonation.” - Pat Launer, Times of San Diego


Read More



Stage and Cinema


“…bold performances in a sweet tribute to the characters you love. Johnson and Schein excel in over-the-top melodramatic comedy, giving all of their characters distinctive physicalities to help tell them apart. Cross-dressing, exaggerated voices, and physical idiosyncrasies add to the fun and help elucidate plot.” - Milo Shapiro, Stage and Cinema


Read More



Village News


Just at the “edge of crazy” is one of the funniest, liveliest shows currently running in San Diego.  Fall-out-of-your-seat hilarious. Withering Heights brings Emily Bronte’s novel, Wuthering Heights, to life like never before!  It is a hoot! Exercising expertly crafted comic change ups, impeccable timing, razor sharp wit -with fall on your face English farce - this two man/woman show is a non-stop laugh fest. - Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal, Village News


Read More



San Diego Gay & Lesbian News


“Don’t miss the wild and crazy show.” - Jean Lowerison, SDGLN


Read More



Theatre Critic


“Suffice to say, both men are deliciously and decidedly coo coo. For some summer madness this one might just end up being the Pièce de Résistance. Enjoy!” - Carol Davis, Theatre Critic


Read More


"Ellenstein and the writers/stars continue a promising opening season for Roustabouts with an enjoyably ridiculous parody. Whether you love, hate or haven’t read the book, you can still get a lot of laughs from Johnson and Schein." - David Dixon,


Read More






Margin Of Error Reviews

Run Date: April 19 through May 7, 2107

Venue: Lyceum Theatre, Horton Plaza



General Reviews


“Roustabouts' Margin of Error.. Topical, taut...thoughtful and absorbing new drama”


"Rosina Reynolds keeps the tension crackling"


“Yeager… a formidable force of nature… his room-filling performance fits the runaway ambition of this Nobel Prize hopeful."



San Diego Union Tribune


"Roxane)Carrasco is excellent as Sunita, the play’s moral center, a soft-spoken but ultimately steely heroine" - James Hebert, San Diego Union Tribune


Read More



Charlene & Brenda in the Blogosphere


“In its world premiere…. Will Cooper’s contemporary drama, Margin of Error, impresses with its well-drawn characters, its pacing, the beauty of its production (directed by Rosina Reynolds) and its capable acting company.” - Charlene Baldridge, Charlene & Brenda in the Blogosphere


Read More


“An entirely engaging evening of theatre… An auspicious debut. For its initial outing the company has gone first cabin with its creative team. Sean Fanning… Curtis Mueller… Elisa Benzoni… Bonnie Durben.. Melanie Chen...” - Bill Eadie,



Jazz 88


“Yeager is the commanding center of this outstanding production, forcefully directed by Rosina Reynolds. The impeccable ensemble also includes Joel Miller, Kate Rose Reynolds and Roxane Corrasco”. - Pat Launer, Center Stage Theatre Critic, Jazz 88