Composing /Arranging /Music Directing Reviews

"... the music provides emotional underpinning ... Lackaff"s musical arrangements are thrilling. Dickens invested three spirits and a time-warp tour in turning Scrooge around when all it might have taken were the tunes."

~ Boston Phoenix, Carolyn Clay

"The music alone could make for a beautiful holiday concert, with brilliant arranger Anna Lackaff seemingly challenging herself to never use the same instrumental mix twice. For "Mortal Flesh" the piano drones an ominous octave and the players sing a bleak, beautiful unison, diffusing into harmonies as they shift into "O Come Emmanuel" A dramatic cymbal simmers, a tom booms ... peasants' instruments are sprinkled in like so many spices. Bodhran, recorder, bells, and accordion are ushered in ... "

~ Oregon ArtsWatch, A. L. Adams


"New Rep's 'Carol' charms with its simplicity, musical spirit ... musical interludes become part of the storytelling ... with many holiday carols integrated smoothly into the action."

~ Boston Globe, Terry Byrne

"One of the most powerful choral arrangements of anything that we have ever heard was an interwoven medley of the two Advent carols Let all Mortal Flesh Keep Silent and Veni, Veni Emmanuel, performed by a 12-voice mixed choir as part of a staging of Dickens' A Christmas Carol ... that spellbinding arrangement by Anna Lackaff ..." 

~ Anglicans Online


"Every scene yields pleasures, not the least of which is the glorious music (which sounds like an historically "informed" performance with original instruments). Practically everyone plays a recorder, a guitar, a flute, a trumpet, a pennywhistle, and on and on ... Carols resonate through each scene. Some will be familiar and some, like Tiny Tim's gorgeous "There Was a Child" will haunt you days later." 

~ Theater Mirror, Beverly Creasey


"Traditional carols blend seamlessly with the story ..."                                        

~ Boston Globe, Louise Kennedy


"... utterly enchanting characterizations and musical interludes ... realizing the play gorgeously along with Anna Lackaff, who undertakes the music direction ... This is hands-down the best version of Dickens' novella in any format--stage or screen--I've seen yet ..."

~ Edge Boston, Kilian Melloy


"The music by Anna Lackaff is one of this production's strong suits, with lovely versions of Christmas songs ranging from "Here We Come A-Wassailing" to "Silent Night." The second act mashup of "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" and "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" -- done as Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present watch the lonely and destitute finding comfort in the holiday spirit -- is particularly affecting.

~ San Jose Mercury News, Charlie McCollum  


"The vocal arrangements are stunningly good ..."                                       

~ BroadwayWorld.com, Patrick Brassell


"Anna Lackaff's arrangements of the music suit the performers, including the beginners among the kids."

~ Theater Mirror, Will Stackman


"... chock-full of musical whimsy ... [Lackaff] infused the typically dull script with a combination of hearty instrumentals and vocal harmonies performed by the actors."

~ Portland Monthly, Cari Johnson


"... a jewel-like polished production ... replete with spirited singing ... there seems to be no sight or sound unused to quickly grab our attention."

~ The Epoch Times, Richard Campbell


"... live music transport[s] viewers, suggesting a place where the enchanted events that follow might easily come to pass ... with original music by Anna Lackaff ... "

~ PQ Monthly, Leela Ginelle


"Part of what raises this [San Jose Rep] production a step beyond the normal holiday theatre fare is the set, the music, and the lighting ... Integration of music was exquisite. While piano, violin, percussion, guitar, recorder, accordion and other instruments remained on stage, this use was subtle and so well integrated into the storyline that they never seemed an afterthought."

~ Stark Insider, Cy Ashley Webb


"I do not believe I have ever seen a production more rewarding ... This [San Jose Rep] production includes vocal and instrumental music relative to the time and mood, performed by the 16 actors themselves. Baroque and beautiful, the sweet sounds of voice, violin, chimes, bells, drums, recorder, guitars, and piano are repeatedly introduced scene after scene, appropriately. The songs ... ring richly and appropriately into the fabric of the tale ... the same tale which you have probably seen many, many times ... but perhaps not as simply presented or as scaled down and yet so moving and effective."

~ For All Events, Charles Jarrett


"... the four-piece orchestra under the direction of Anna Lackaff []sounds much larger."

~ Encore Michigan, Donald V. Calamia




Performance Reviews

"Kudos go to Anna Lackaff ... bears watching carefully ... a voice [of] great sonority ... She makes just the right moves to tell the story. Just her presence onstage throughout most of the production oozes pathos."

 ~ Lincoln Journal Star, John Culter


"Another highlight was Anna Lackaff on harpsichord/synthesizer for 'Faeries' [in Mannheim Steamroller] ... Lackaff's long flowing dress and striking, animated presence made her playing even more enjoyable to watch."

 ~ Broadway World, Elliot Lanes


"Anna Lackaff expertly tackled the harpsichord and synthesizer, playing the lead on "Carol of the Bells [in Mannheim Steamroller]."

 ~ DC Metro Theatre Arts, Marlene Hall


"But the show's heart-pumping, scale-tipping numbers ... featuring Anna Lackaff's expert synthesizer, were the real treats of the evening."

 ~ The Show Report, Chris Daniels


"... strong, energetic, well presented performance ..."                                    

~ Lincoln Journal Star, Larry Kubert


"Anna Lackaff joined [Chuck] Penington as piano accompanist. Both were right on target in meeting the singers' moods and needs ... Lackaff came down from the piano to join Luke T. Jones for the duet 'I Won't Send Roses' from Mack and Mabel. Their voices were a perfect blend."

 ~ Lincoln Journal Star, John Culter


"... character gem ... Anna Lackaff as the eye-popping Mrs. Potiphar ... "

~ Lincoln Journal Star, Larry Kubert