VARIETY - April 11, 2012

Magic/Bird - Broadway

By Marilyn Stasio

Robert Manning, Jr., brings loose-limbed grace and a bit of gravitas

The cast of Pasadena Playhouse’s Production of Blues for an Alabama Sky won the 2012 NAACP Theatre Award for Best Ensemble.

Robert was nominated for a 2010 NAACP Theatre Award in the Best Supporting Actor Category for his work in Battle Hymn.

VARIETY - January 19, 2009

Battle Hymn


[Inside] The Ford Theatre


A Circle X Theater Company presentation of a play in two acts by Jim Leonard. Directed 

by John Langs. 

...Manning is convincing as both the young Lanford, looking for true freedom and love, and the elderly Lanford, stooped and kindly and burdened with the past...

Robert was nominated for a 2008 NAACP Theatre Award in the Best Actor Category

for his work in Defiance.

VARIETY - January 22, 2007



Pasadena Playhouse


A Pasadena Playhouse presentation of a play in one act by John Patrick Shanley.

Directed by Andrew J. Robinson.

What do you do for an encore after writing the most important and successful Broadway drama in a decade? If you're John Patrick Shanley, you continue to explore the moral and ethical issues raised by "Doubt" within another hierarchical institution -- the U.S. Marine Corps -- from your first-hand experience. More ambitious but considerably less focused than Shanley's Pulitzer Prize recipient, "Defiance" is witty and thought-provoking enough on its own terms to reward a visit to the Pasadena Playhouse.

Once Littlefield's adultery is exposed, with the cuckolded Marine (Dennis Flanagan) demanding to be sent to Vietnam to escape the shame, the chaplain (Leo Marks) contrives to put the situation in the hands of (Captain) King (Robert Manning, Jr.) and the evening finally takes off. Will the colonel (Kevin Kilner) turn himself in, and should he do so? Dare he put a soldier in harm's way under these circumstances? And whatever he does, will King be brought down with him?

Kilner and Manning are riveting as they thrust and parry, with Manning particularly effective in communicating his excruciating moral crisis while showing no cracks in his military bearing.

Margaret (Jordan Baker) the Colonel's long-suffering wife was the center of attention in the original Gotham (New York City) production; Manning's tower of strength makes Capt. King the focal point here. One is left to wonder whether "Defiance" is one of those plays that's pretty much up for grabs by whichever actor makes the most of the opportunities afforded him, and whether that's a strength in the writing or a flaw.

BACKSTAGE WEST - February 09, 2006


the Met Theatre

By Dink O'Neal

As Cassio, Robert Manning Jr. offers a clear, consistent take, leading one to ponder if a role switch with Othello wouldn't have met with better success (of the show).

BACKSTAGE WEST - December 1, 2004


the Celebration Theatre

Reviewed By Wenzel Jones

… let's focus on the cashews and almonds. A lot of peanuts have been shoved about, though, before Robert R. Manning Jr. takes the stage in Amy Tofte's The Naked Truth. Never will you see a man radiate so much charm and dignity and humor while wearing nothing more than an elf cap and booties…The salvation of the play—and I've barely scratched the surface of how convoluted it is—is in the performances. Manning is remarkable and works well with Jorgenson; each possesses an astute sense of timing…

MINNEAPOLIS - February 2004

Diva Daughters DuPree


Penumbra Theatre, St. Paul, MN

Reviewed by Elizabeth Weir

Penumbra finds laughter and honesty

As Spencer, Sarah's student, tall Rob Manning exudes quiet sensuality, particularly in a scene in which Spencer and Sarah work out together in balletic desire. Manning has natural stage presence, and he finesses a long poem on the Million Man March that could have sounded didactic.