Steph newman

"To say a woman playing a dog is adorable and sassy is something I never thought I’d say"

-The Santa Maria Times 

[Steph Newman loves comedies.]

"I saw poodle hairs starting to sprout"

-Santa Maria Sun

[Steph has played a dog not once, not twice, but THREE times]

"Inhabits her role with such sassy aplomb that she elevates this Irving Berlin classic..."

"...Into the Realm of Triumph." 

-Eugene Weekly

{What?! Steph did not pay for this review.] 

"She was totally endearing."

-The Santa Maria Times

[Steph Newman loves what she does and loves sharing it with audiences.]

"Evokes Katharine Hepburn when inhabiting the character of the acerbic, independent Beatrice. She..

"....She infuses an infectious vivacity into her role." 

-UCI Shakespeare Center

[Mille grazie]

"...Just the right combination of hayseed charm, frontier grit and bubbling sex appeal"

-Eugene Weekly

[What can I say?!]

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As You Like It

LA Times

 Simon’s production of “As You Like It,” much like the play’s central characters, transforms for the better in the forest of Arden. There’s quite a bit of villainous overacting in rough-and-tumble Chicago. But when Steph Philo’s Rosalind dons a mustache and a gent’s jacket and slacks, escaping the tyrannical court with her cousin Celia (Maribel Martinez) and the fool, Touchstone (Sam Arnold), only to meet up by chance with her heart’s desire, Orlando (Nick Manfredi), the exquisite beauty of this comedy about romantic love shines again. 

When Philo’s Rosalind, still assuming a quasi-male identity, puts Orlando through his paces to test the staying power of his infatuation, the play and production reach full strength. Calmer, simpler, less frenetic, the staging touchingly has Rosalind lie on the ground across Orlando’s legs as she disabuses him of the dewy-eyed notion that heartache is fatal. “Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love,” she memorably tells him, as her own heart nearly bursts with affection for her newfound soul mate. 

-Charles McNulty, LA Times


 Santa Maria Sun

 I have to admit I was a little skeptical about whether or not Sylvia would be any good. The Drama Desk Award-winning play puts an unusual twist on the ever-popular plot device of a love triangle between a man and the two women competing for his heart; this time, one of the women is a dog. {...}

Under the direction of Patricia M. Troxel, Philo slides seamlessly back and forth between adorable pup and near-human muse. At one point, when Philo lies by the couch chewing on Kate’s beloved copy of Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, I swear I saw Poodle hairs starting to sprout. And in another scene at the park, Philo uproariously answers the question every dog owner wants to know: “Why do dogs love to chase cats?”

“Hey, hey, HEY!” Philo barks. “What’s that under the car? It’s a cat!”

“You stink, Kitty! ... Up yours with a 10-foot pole!” she growls toward the audience, her body straining mightily against her leash. “You’re a disgrace to the Animal Kingdom!” - Amy Asman


Santa Maria Times 

Now about Sylvia the dog. How does one play a dog, who seems to be more human than anyone else on stage and talks an occasional blue streak? Well, Stephanie Philo figured out how and does it well. She struts around the stage like a Snoopy who can talk — large and in charge. And she commits completely to the premise.

To say a woman playing a dog is adorable and sassy is something I never thought I’d say. Philo does a great job reacting to several situations exactly the way one would expect a dog to react. When she wiggles her rear, you almost see a tail wagging. When she runs around yelling, you can almost hear her barking.

And the way she handles the barking is extremely hilarious.

I personally am not a dog person, and even though Philo acted as a dog in several ways that re-enforced my dislike for dogs, she was totally endearing.  -Brad Memberto

Annie Get Your Gun

Eugene Weekly 

It’s not necessarily downbeat to claim that a given theatrical production is completely carried by one performance in particular — to lavish praise on an actor who puts the play on her back and carts it expertly and, of equal importance, joyously from her first appearance on stage to the proverbial drop of the velvet curtain.

This is especially true in community theater, a distinctly democratic institution where the egalitarian instinct gives a nudge to tender swaths of talent that blend in a stew of ability, some of it realized but not always.

Which brings us to Stephanie Philo Newman’s turn as Annie Oakley in Cottage Theatre’s current production of Annie Get Your Gun. Newman, who teaches theater arts at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, inhabits her role with such sassy aplomb that she elevates this Irving Berlin classic into the realm of triumph.

Channeling such legends as Ethel Merman, Mae West and Irene Dunne, Newman gives her Oakley just the right combination of hayseed charm, frontier grit and bubbling sex appeal; her performance is at once orthodox and utterly modern, a nod to the tradition and continuing relevance of musical theater.

Whether flirting with her gun-slinging foil Frank Butler (the well-matched Ward Fairbain) or proving her worth as a tough woman capable of competing in a man’s world, Newman exhibits the kind of lost-art versatility that made Broadway the toast of the world: She can sing, dance, make funny, pitch woo and kick ass with the best of them.

As great as Newman is, it’s not as though the rest of the large cast scrambles to keep up; rather, her infectious spirit seems to provide the necessary spark, spreading a sort of giddy atmosphere throughout the production. 

-Rick Levine

Much Ado About Nothing

 UCI Shakespeare Center

Directed by New Swan festival founder Beth Lopes, Much Ado About Nothing delivers riotous fun. The most delightful scenes feature rivals of wit Beatrice (Stephanie Philo Newman) and Benedick (Ryan Imhoff), who unwittingly fall for the matchmaking schemes of their kinsmen and military comrades respectively, both parties conspiring to deceive obstinate bachelors into believing themselves loved by the other. Benedick’s companion misinterprets his co-conspirator’s gesture of hearts protruding out of the chest and instead pretends to stab himself when claiming that the supposedly heart-wrenched Beatrice was in danger of doing a “most desperate deed,” thus inciting wonder in the duped Benedick, bemusement in his accomplice, and mirth in the audience.

Sporting brunette curls and men’s trousers, UCI alumnus Newman fittingly evokes Katharine Hepburn when inhabiting the character of the acerbic, independent Beatrice. She infuses an infectious vivacity into her role and involves New Swan spectators in her comedic antics — at least to be used as stage props. She conceals her eavesdropping by borrowing a program guide from an audience member, and grips a random gentleman’s head with excitement upon hearing about Benedick’s supposed love for her. - Isis Huang

In The Next Room

The Gazette

 Catherine Givings (Stephanie Philo) is bubbly, funny and profoundly bored — a woman, like many in the Victorian era, in search of something she can’t exactly define. Dr. Givings (Chad Siebert) loves his wife, but his attention is focused on his “therapeutic electric massage” and curing female hysteria, one paroxsym at a time. He never notices that his patients are much like his wife: Anxious, neglected women who have no more power or purpose than the caged bird in the Giving’s living room.Catherine’s rather decorative unraveling, which is partly due to her inability to feed her new baby adequately, spurs her to yearn for (then, demand) the one thing her husband denies her, the object of his primary obsession: His mysterious treatment.What transpires is funny (did I mention it’s a comedy?), a rose-colored reflection of a naive time long before Sally so convincingly put Harry in his place on the issue of female sexuality.Ultimately, though, the Ruhl play is about finding emotional intimacy, which the strange final scene drives home. On the way, she sideswipes issues of patriarchal power, female sexuality, lesbianism, racial mixing and backward turn-of-the-century thinking.Ruhl’s ambitions make for a challenging work requiring good comic timing and the emotional underpinnings to make Act II believable. -T.D. Mobley-Martinez