ACAPPELLA                                                                          PLAGUED: A LOVE STORY                                                                        KEATS IN CURLERS

Gospel music is the glorious soul of ‘ACAPPELLA’.
— THE NEW YORK TIMES
It is difficult to imagine it getting any better: a group of talented a cappella singers (Broadway veterans and vocal band members), beatboxing, traditional American spiritual hymns, and a decent book about finding one’s voice and finding one’s way… As it stands, ‘Acappella’ is a moving testament to the strength of the human spirit, the importance of the human community, and the endurance and richness of personal faith.
— THEATRE REVIEWS LIMITED
The show works because the music is inspired, the performers passionate, and the journey relatable… Meli has successfully avoided the potential pitfall of creating a disparate incoherent story and instead honed in on a narrative which comfortably bridges the gap between the faith-based gospel music and a coming-of-age tale with broader social and personal themes. Acappella is better than I expected, but with the right development it can be everything an audience looks for in a night at the theater: a relatable story told with drama, humor, and some terrific music.
— Dave Bernstein, ACATRIBE
The story is charming, sometimes very funny and told from the heart… it’s hard to find enough to say about music - it’s proud, big, soulful, joyous, organic and unafraid. The framework of the story is lovely and resonant to anyone who’s left home for their dreams (I’m looking at you, New York) and some tightening coupled with the excellent musical score would make it a real contender for any theater’s lineup.
— NYMF Unauthorized
 
Wonderfully giddy.”

”Hysterical songs… amusing book, which is like a hip ‘Once Upon a Mattress’ - while adding and honest and touching love connection that blossoms between Dusty and Scoop that adds a human touch and unexpected sincerity to the show.”

”With song titles like ‘Ever After is An Awful Long Time’, ‘It’s In The Fleas’ and ‘Not While I’m the Queen’, you know you are in for a good time. But, it is with the lovely ‘Wormwood and Lavender’ and the touching ‘In My Own Skies’ that the score truly amazes and surprises. The writers strike a great balance between zany and sincere. And it works.
— Oscar E. Moore, THE REAR MEZZANINE
Filiaci’s music is an appealing blend of catchy pop-rock and fairy-tale lyricism, and the clever, witty lyrics by Vynnie Meli encapsulate the inner struggle of each character.
— Ruthie Fierberg, BACKSTAGE
 

KRISPY KREMES AND BUTTER QUEENS

A clear favorite emerges almost from the moment Yates sings ‘Krispy Kremes’ opening line - ‘It’s Paula Deen!’ - and laughter rolls across the crowd… a seductive Butter Aria… Ten minutes later, they’re on their feet applauding along to the final strains of the fallen angels’ buttery lament: ‘We lost our wings to Paula D-e-e-n…’ When the votes are tallied, it’s a clean sweep.
— Jill Vejnoska, THE ATLANTA JOURNAL AND CONSTITUTION

CHOPPED LIVER PARADISE

Cruise-ship comedy harbors lessons with its laughter.”

”Laughter by the boatload.”

”While this premiere operates as a giddy sendup of cruise-ship culture, Meli alternates the high-seas high jinks with a heartfelt meditation on the meaning of love, marriage and friendship.”

”Meli proves herself an accomplished playwright with a wry sense of humor and genuine concern for her characters’ emotional well-being. Love, the playwright seems to say, rarely makes for smooth sailing. But, ride it out, and you’re bound to find blue skies and sunshine.
— Wendell Brock, ATLANTA JOURNAL AND CONSTITUTION
 
Truth, Beauty and Style: You don’t have to go to Broadway to find a funny show featuring big hair, a guy in a dress (well, a toga), some mean dance moves and an excitable teenage heroine. KEATS IN CURLERS may not be ‘Hairspray’, but it is a diverting romp that treats weighty themes with the lightest - in this case featherweight - touch. A lot of fun… a Keats analysis that would make any English teacher proud.
— Laurel Graeber, NEW YORK TIMES
 

JIM CROW AND
THE
RHYTHM DARLINGS

It is the special genius of Vynnie Meli’s marvelously intense JIM CROW AND THE RHYTHM DARLINGS that it makes expected theatrical tension out of the usual cast of bullies and victims, but it also (ever so subtly) humanizes the bully and (ever so subtly) shows how the victims themselves participate in and even imitate this institutionalized bigotry. Stripped of its period and its drama, this is essentially a play about pretense, about achieving a goal by ‘passing’ as something ‘other.”

”Politics and Themes aside, this is a play about music, and about people who love that music, women who will do whatever it takes to play it (wherever it takes them).”

”And, the final confrontation is edge-of-seat tense, edge-of-reason cruel. The resolution depends solely on how well Ms. Meli and the cast have created these characters, how well Peggy has assessed the policeman’s fears and assumptions, how well Ms. Sims’ music captures and builds the suspense. That the scene succeeds so well is a testament to the work of writer, director, cast, and crew.
— Brad Rudy, MAT/METROPOLITAN ATLANTA THEATRE AWARDS