"One particularly ghastly highlight involves a man carrying around his severed head. That head belongs to the spindly, sonorous Jesse Merlin, who shines as a lecherous medical school professor."
"Jesse Merlin as Dr. Carl Hill, the headless antagonist, devours any scene he’s in."
But the most worthwhile is Elric (Jesse Merlin), the dapper, sinister owner of a curiosity shop. Merlin's foreboding intonations add to the plot, even if his ultimate game plan is left unexplained.
Also bringing a touch of classic horror menace to the film is Elric - the owner of the mysterious shop where the game seems to have originated, or at least appeared. Played by actor (and bass baritone) Jesse Merlin, he's a wonderfully bizarre presence at the heart of a film that stays largely grounded - a young man playing what seems to be an ancient being.... It's a fascinating contrast - Merlin has a touch of Mark Gatiss as Mycroft Holmes crossed with Vincent Price in his poised, arch delivery and is both disturbing and funny.
...among BEYOND THE GATES’ highlights... is a brief but extravagant turn by Jesse Merlin as the proprietor of an occult collector’s store, whose final scene references another classic chiller to complete GATES’ heartfelt homage to the joys of that decade past.
Anche gli elementi di supporto sono fondamentali, a cominciare dalla... perfidamente eccentrico Jesse Merlin.
Jesse Merlin (Helen Keller vs. Nightwolves) channels Vincent Price in his campy performance as the proprietor of the shop where the game was purchased.
Fright Fest, London, August 2016
The iconically cast Barbara Crampton (paying homage to Barbara Steele) and scene stealing creepy antique shop-keeper Jesse Merlin (channeling Roddy McDowall and Christopher Lee) offer a nostalgic, deliberately arch counterpoint.
...Re-Animator: The Musical, it’s his co-star in that same show who steals the spotlight. Jesse Merlin (the voice of F.A.N.G. in Street Fighter V, don’tcha know) plays creepy shopkeeper Elric with such elegant stoicism he practically glides across the screen, intoning lines like "Only the game has the answers you seek" with an intense, and hilarious, earnestness.
He might only making a fleeting appearance, but Merlin is the standout in a film of terrific performances, well-matched by Skipper’s non-believer and his two slightly more open-minded cohorts. The biggest argument for a Beyond The Gates sequel, aside from the obvious, would be to see Elric in all his glory again.
"Boasting a host of impressive kills and one of the festival’s finest performances from Jesse Merlin as eccentric shopkeeper Elric, this is a bizarre fusion of mumblecore comedy drama and B-movie kills that wrong foots your expectations every step of the way."
"...there’s also great turn from Jesse Merlin as the suavely sinister owner of a curiosity shop..."
Los Angeles Film Festival, June 2016
Not to be outdone, Jesse Merlin soaks up every single moment he’s onscreen, crafting an ultra creepy shop owner who seems to have some sort of unexplained intel about the game. Merlin is both unsettling and hilarious, proving that we should be seeing him in a lot more projects than he’s been a part of so far.
The supporting cast includes Jesse Merlin, who’s deliciously channeling the imaginary love child of Roddy McDowall and Vincent Price...
Further fodder for diehard genre fans is provided by a cast almost entirely consisting of faces familiar from other B horrors... Jesse Merlin, who has toiled in numerous campy stage and screen horror musicals, and here plays a suitably macabre curiosity-shop owner.
...one hell of an odd shop keeper (played excellently by RE-ANIMATOR: THE MUSICAL's Jesse Merlin.
Grimmfest, Manchester, October 2016
There are also some nice supporting turns by Barbara Crampton looking stunning as usual as the host of the video game and Jesse Merlin gloriously over the top as an occult store owner (“Do you like……board games?”).
Monster Fest (Australia), November 2016
...Jesse Merlin's shopkeeper character adds some surreal comedy to the proceedings.
Street Fighter V
F.A.N.G, English Voice Actor, Capcom/New Generation Pictures, Feb 2016
I actually found myself despising F.A.N.G at one point during the cinematics… mostly due to the amazing voice acting by Jesse Merlin.
As Shadaloo’s lieutenant and the mastermind behind the events the game, F.A.N.G is Street Fighter‘s best ever villain. He’s flamboyant and fun to watch on screen, while also creepy and despicably evil. The performance and animation behind him are the most entertaining thing about this story, and that’s partly due to Jesse Merlin’s phenomenal voicing of the character.
Richard III, Eclectic Company Theater, 7-8/2015
Ultimately, it’s Richard (Jon Mullich) and Buckingham (Jesse Merlin) who steal the show.... The exceptional Jesse Merlin plays Buckingham with a steely cold gravitas that’s both subtle and menacing. As Richard’s right-hand man, Merlin’s chilly demeanor stands in stark contrast to Mullich’s more expressive flair for the dramatic. Two sides of the same coin, the actors successfully play off each other’s strengths.
Erstwhile cohort, Buckingham, who has conspired with Richard in his murderous rise has an almost cynical loyalty toward Richard... Jesse Merlin is excellent in the role as he depicts a genuine change of heart and flees for his life knowing how Richard might retaliate for his defiance.
Other noteworthy performances are turned in by... Jesse Merlin as Buckingham.
Re-Animator: The Musical, The Smith Center (Las Vegas), January 2015
Dr. Hill, Dr. West's nemesis, is beautifully sung by Jesse Merlin.
...Jesse Merlin as foil Dr. Hill was perfectly appalling. Their tango-styled confrontation (ending in a beheading-by-shovel) was a high point.
...the operatically trained, uproariously over-the-top Jesse Merlin...
Re-Animator: The Musical, Steve Allen Theater, Oct-Nov 2014
Jesse Merlin is equally up to the task of filling the giant shoes David Gale left behind in the role of Dr. Hill. Alternately haughty and stuck-up, and then menacing and verrrry creepy, his performance is a delight. His strong basso profundo just drips with equal parts condescension and duplicity.
Jesse Merlin was unforgettable as seedy Dr. Hill, who could belt out his songs with or without his head attached to his body.
Jesse Merlin, on the other hand, makes Dr. Hill a much less pleasant kind of creepy, a sleazy antagonist that you love to hate.
The Werewolves of Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood Fringe, June 2014
Jesse Merlin once again proves that funny is his middle name, this time bringing Lawson's oddball boss, JP Governs, a devotee of Vlad the Impaler, to quirky life.
Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera, King King, February 2014
Michael Shepperd and Jesse Merlin were effectively humorous as Shawn Eckhardt and Shane Stant, the criminals who did the deed...
Sketches from the National Lampoon, Hayworth Theatre, Feb.-March 2013
The rubber-faced Jesse Merlin needs to do very little but stare forward as he plays a poor schlub who periodically returns to ruminate about a fondness for playing with dead pigeons and his attraction to his wife's mother, who smells tantalizingly like Vanilla Ensure.
Jesse Merlin pulls some delightfully funny faces, never failing to crack the audience up with one of his recurring characters, a man whose wife is sleeping with everyone else in the show.
Peer Gynt, San Francisco Symphony, January 2013
The king is played by scarily whimsical Jesse Merlin.
Silence! The Musical, Hayworth Theatre, Sept.-Dec. 2012
Jesse Merlin (from Re-Animator: The Musical) is dashingly charming as the Wile E. Coyote character of Dr. Chilton. The poor guy can never catch a break and gets shut down at every turn, but he's plucky. He never gives up, and can he ever hold a note (if not his pen).
Re-Animator: The Musical, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, August 2012
...Jesse Merlin as Dr. Carl Hill, the headless antagonist, devours any scene he's in.
Jesse Merlin's Hill is the archetypal bad guy, sung and performed with complete plausibility. Hill's demise in the show is as gruesome as it is hilarious.
Equal to West's intensity, Dr. Hill's (Jesse Merlin) camped up sleaze make him a truly despicable pantomime-esque villain.
Opera singer Jesse Merlin belts out a Tom Lehrer-esque number about the human brain and mimes something unspeakable.... Operatic Jesse, who has been decapitated but is still impressively loud, albeit his head is now in his hands.
Re-Animator: The Musical, New York Musical Theatre Festival, July 2012
One particularly ghastly highlight involves a man carrying around his severed head. That head belongs to the spindly, sonorous Jesse Merlin, who shines as a lecherous medical school professor.
Director Stuart Gordon's staging serves the nonsensical material up with zealous flair, and he has elicited a host of memorable performances from the company, particularly from... Jesse Merlin, who brings blisteringly funny creepy lecherousness to his turn as a faculty member with a penchant for plagiarizing other scientists' work.
Particular standouts are Jesse Merlin as the creepy Dr. Carl Hill, a rival medical school neurosurgeon who floats around the stage with a sly, ghoulish look on his face.
Jesse Merlin exhibits a rich baritone and a gleeful relish in villainy as the diabolical Dr. Hill.
Self-satisfied, spooky in his own grandly slower way is Dr. Hill, accused by West to be dishonest and a thief of intellectual property. Matching Skipper's snippy West in diabolical doings and unending condescending defending of his ways is instructor Dr. Hill, played with panache by Jesse Merlin. It's a brilliant asset to have the role sung by an operatic bass with rollingly rich, deep tones. He scores some of the best roars of laughter, with and without his head, or with only his head.
Best - or worst - of all is the evil Dr. Hill (Jesse Merlin, in fine voice), who tries to steal the formula.... The scene in which Herbert kills and then decapitates Dr. Hill is the highlight of the evening.
Merlin is creepy perfect as the crazed doctor, and his operatic voice is the most impressive.
Re-Animator: The Musical, Hayworth Theatre, April-May 2012
More sinister than any corpse is the nefarious Dr. Hill (played by Jesse Merlin), who wants the formula - and the girl, for himself.... The production is carried by two show-stealing performances. As Dr. Hill, Jesse Merlin rises above the horror and sight-gags with a tremendously funny and disturbing performance. Both performers walk the fine line between camp and commitment perfectly and always have a wink and a nod to the audience ready to keep us aware of the kind of show we're watching.
The scene stealer was undoubtedly Dr. Hill (Jesse Merlin). Merlin was the perfect comic villain. His reverberating operatic voice was dastardly and the audience easily believes he would do anything to have his way with pretty Dean Halsey's daughter. We couldnâ€™t help but laugh at his delusion every time he makes a dirty old man move on Avery.
In fact everyone in the cast is excellent, but I must mention the two standouts... The ridiculously talented Jesse Merlin (Dr. Hill) who loses his head over Megan and...absolutely steals the show.
Jesse Merlin is a hilariously creepy Dr. Hill.
Jesse Merlin is wonderfully oily as Herbert's nemesis, Dr. Carl Hill, who lusts after Meg and Herbert's work. The way they retain Carl Hill losing his head literally and still playing a major role in the musical, is a nifty bit of stage magic.
Jesse Merlin as Dr. Hill alternately creeps you out, then sings like a commanding operatic lead baritone.
Merlin's pompous Dr. Hill is full of the cocky assurance of a man who doesn't know he's wearing a really bad toupee.
Re-Animator: The Musical, Steve Allen Theater, February-August 2011
Jesse Merlin steals the show as the lecherous Dr. Carl Hill, a bewigged lothario with a penchant for stolen serums and restrained blonds. His extraordinary baritone reaches all the way to the back rows and adds to this immersive effect.
But it's Jesse Merlin who steals every scene with his leering, preening academic, exhibiting astonishing verbal and physical dexterity.
The vocal standout among the group is Jesse Merlin, who maintains a steady vibrato while physically contorting himself to become the headless antagonist, Dr. Hill.
It is Jesse Merlin as West's nemesis, Dr. Hill, who best exemplifies why Re-Animator stays grounded during all of the excess; Merlin is equipped with a rich baritone and an earnestness one would expect in a heavy drama; the gravity of his performance is mandatory if we are to accept that he puts his vivisected head between the legs ofâ€¦no, no, no, you've got to see this to believe it.
Jesse Merlin's vocal stylings create a richly villainous portrait that sustains itself despite the indignities of scene-stealing mutilations.
With his booming operatic voice and hilariously arch line readings, Merlin delivers a performance as memorable and outrageous as the arterial spray that soaks the audience throughout the play.
Stand-out Jesse Merlin (Dr. Hill) boldly embraces his over-the-top operatic voice like a Canadian Mountie of the cine-serialized 1930s.
Merlin, who also starred at the brilliant and semi-operatic "The Beastly Bombing" at this same theater, has a magnificent baritone that makes the score soar.
Merlin gives a bravura performance as the sleazy Dr. Hill, creepily hitting on Meg in multiple inappropriate ways, and giving the play a bracing dose of aural bombast via his operatic voice... George Wendt's duet with Merlin, after Halsey has been somewhat impaired, is an instant classic.
The most side-splitting moments belong to Jesse Merlin who dons a David Gale wig as West's antagonist, Dr Hill. You haven't lived until you've seen a decapitated head sing and his interactions with Graham Skipper are pure comedy gold.
Overall, the cast lacks the vocal plushness of riotously operatic Jesse Merlin as obsessive Dr. Hill -- the standout turn...
Jesse Merlin, as the villain of the piece, Dr. Carl Hill, plays the role for everything it's worth, producing edgy comedy with a well-placed leering sideways glance or dismissive aristocratic grumble. For most of the second act Merlin's character is in fact, headless, but it hardly seems to affect his operatic bass baritone vocals. Truly the guy is the Paul Lynde of his generation, but with a preposterously good singing voice. Who would forget this fellow with the mellow bellow having seen him perform only once (and headless)?
A decapitation is pulled off with aplomb, but the real giggle is how victim Dr. Hill (the deliciously smarmy Jesse Merlin) manages to sustain his lecherous lust for power while toting around his (singing) head at mid-thorax.
But the standout performance here must be that of Jesse Merlin as Dr. Hill, the twisted scientist who seeks to steal West's work and Megan's heart -- at any cost. Merlin is capable of contorting his expressive face into some wonderfully droll expressions, while maintaining a sense of authority and funereal menace. He redefines his character more so than any other performer, and he earns the play's biggest laughs. His tango scene with West is a particular hoot.
But it is Jesse Merlin as Dr. Hill that truly makes the show. At first, he is just the calmly weird professor that butts heads with Herbert. His longing for the Dean's daughter is hilarious (especially when sung) and when he - -ahem - loses his head, the special effect and the continuing nuttiness of his character are hilarious to watch and listen to. I smell an Ovation award!
The actors are all wonderful and completely get the tone of play, possibly none more so than Jesse Merlin who f***ing nails it as Dr. Hill.... And the decapitation scene with Dr. Hill was marvelously fun - as was Jesse Merlin's performance inside the wheeled costume that made it appear as though he were a decapitated zomboid carrying his own singing head.
Then there was the outstandingly eerie Jesse Merlin as Dr. Carl Hill, when he slips in love overtones to Meg, as well as his turn as a disembodied head - making him twice the villain he once was. Both Graham Skipper and Merlin have commanding singing voices, capable of booming resonance that adds to the thrill.
Dr. Hill (Jesse Merlin), a wonderfully sinister shrink with a big operatic voice.... winds up with his head in his stomach but he keeps singing in that glorious bass voice, and I still don't know how it's done.... Gordon reserves the most fun for Dr. Hill. He remains in nasty character throughout and sings gloriously from the pit of his stomach.
Merlin channels his best inner David Gale - with the assistance of a salt 'n pepper shaded wig - and really shines as Hill; plus, you've got to hand it to the guy for singing and moving about the stage while trying to pull off the effect that he's holding his own head.
USS Pinafore, Crown City Theatre, May-August 2010
Jesse Merlin's Captain Corcoran is magnificent, the embodiment of swagger, with facial muscles locked into a smirk and a voice that that just keeps going.
The Good Soldier Schweik, Long Beach Opera, January 2010
Jesse Merlin, he of the smooth acting and sonorous bass-baritone familiar from past LBO productions, was hilarious as a nurse (female) whose default treatment option is the enema (don't ask).
Carved in Stone, Theatre Asylum, June-August, 2009
...you can't help but marvel at Jesse Merlin's portrait of Oscar Wilde, with a wonderful bass voice and the ultimate gentlemanly decorum.
...Merlin's Wilde is played out with impeccable hauteur and comic timing.
Merlin captures the dry, aloof wit of Wilde...
Jesse Merlin's brilliant Oscar Wilde is forever dropping one of his trademark quips... Wilde's iconic quotes land like bad puns after which the actor, in grand style, raises his chin with a dismissive scowl and looks menacingly about to see if anyone will dare try to one-up him.
Merlin's walk on the Wilde side is a droll stroll. He dispenses Oscar's bon mots with a charming grace.
...Jesse Merlin was pitch perfect as everyone's favorite dandy, Oscar Wilde.
Jesse Merlin as the caustic and snobbish Wilde is deliciously delightful.
The Emperor of Atlantis & The Clever Woman, Long Beach Opera, May, 2009
Merlin impressed with his gravitas and the effortless power of his dark-hued instrument.
Exemplary, too, was Jesse Merlin as the Loudspeaker and a vagabond.
De zangers waren stuk voor stuk goed, met een paar uitschieters wat betreft acteren. Jesse Merlin, die ook in de Amerikaanse voorstellingen de president speelde, steelt de show door zijn droogkomische stijfheid en zijn perfecte tongue in cheek.
English: All the singers were good, but there were a few who really peaked as actors. Jesse Merlin, who also played the role of the president in the American production, steals the show with his wry stiffness and his perfect tongue in cheek.
Jesse Merlin, die maakte zijn eigen rol, en vertolkt de president ook uitstekend met een sterk gevoel voor timing, en een mooi en helder stemgeluid.
English: Jesse Merlin, who created his own role, gives a first-rate rendering of the president with a strong sense of timing and a lovely vivid voice.
Uitzondering is Jesse Merlin. Niet alleen steekt hij qua zang boven iedereen uit, ook zijn acteerprestaties zijn sterk.
English: Jesse Merlin is exceptional. Not only is he above everyone in singing, but his acting performance is strong.
The Cunning Little Vixen, Long Beach Opera, January, 2009
Jesse Merlin's booming voice stood out in the role of the Parson...
Jesse Merlin sings a lonely and passionate parson...
The Steve Allen Theater and The New York Musical Theater Festival, July 2006-October 2007
Jesse Merlin puts in a charismatic star turn as the vain, sex-obsessed, militaristic president.
Jesse Merlin as President Dodgeson is just a ring-tailed wonder: Stephen Colbert with Ray Bolger's limbs and Alfred Drake's baritone.
Writer-director Julien Nitzberg's wittiest and most satirical writing is superbly acted by Jesse Merlin. Merlin exquisitely portrays President Dodgeson as a cross between President Bush and an immoral, cowardly Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce.
Merlin wisely avoids a warmed-over George W. Bush caricature and instead piles on the basso profundo that's just right for the egotistical head of the self-absorbed nation... At his best, Merlinďż˝s manner and voice suggest the drop-dead seriousness of a dynamic divo...
Jesse Merlin is full of brio as President Dodgeson...
New York International Fringe Festival, August 2007
Jesse Merlin's turn as a Shakespearean has-been gone Hollywood takes the statue for the night. Equally silly and refined, he hits the highest note of truth and humor when he quips, "We are all stars trying to work our way back into the chorus."
Don Giovanni, Opera San Jose, April 2006
...Leporello, sung by Opera San Jose bass-baritone Jesse Merlin, is the finest characterization he has achieved in many roles with the company. The chemistry between the hapless, long-suffering Leporello and the rakish Don is palpable and delightful.
...bass-baritone Jesse Merlin is hilarious as Leporello, Giovanni's spineless sidekick.... that long experience of being onstage together has a lot to do with the success of "Giovanni." The comic rapport between (Joseph) Wright and Merlin grows out of shared experience...
Jesse Merlin's Leporello dealt well with the extensive stage demands on the role.
The Marriage of Figaro, Opera San Jose, Sept.-Oct. 2004
...penetrating voice... Merlin's voice cut through the orchestra, hitting the balcony with greater impact than anyone in the cast.
Die Fledermaus, Opera San Jose, April-May 2004
The jokes are fine-tuned, the emotions deftly rendered... Nowhere was that more evident than in Tuesday's comic highlight, an extended bit of silent stage business executed with dazzling precision by bass Jesse Merlin as the prison warden Frank. Arriving at the prison still drunk from the evening's festivities at Orlofsky's villa, Frank attempts to change out of his party clothes and into his work outfit, and in those few minutes Merlin -- like a magician doing close-up work -- offered a wonderfully transparent tour de force.
Jesse Merlin proved a standout actor and comedian at the party and later as the seriously hung-over jail commander, topping off both with a fine basso.
Another standout is resident artist Jesse Merlin, a bass, who took on the role of the jail warden who likes to party.
...bass Jesse Merlin does a Chaplin-esque turn in his underwear...
The Pearl Fishers, Opera San Jose, Jan.-Feb. 2004
...Merlin still demands attention with that impressively vibrant and masculine bass voice.
Don Pasquale, Opera San Jose, September 2003
As the old miser, Jesse Merlin was a delight of genuine pantalone schtick. Physically and vocally, Merlin gave a superb performance.
In the title role, bass-baritone Jesse Merlin played surprisingly well off Rubalcava.... adept physically, playing the usually corpulent Don Pasquale as a shaky little old man and finding just about every bit of funny business in the libretto... Merlin is a good reason to see the opening night cast.
...Merlin's performance, full of body language and funny business, gave the opening night performance Saturday much of its ardor...
The manner in which Pasquale buys into the sham marriage is even funnier than the torment. Relishing the prospect of a young, innocent bride, the sexagenarian [sic] shucks a tunic like a flasher opening his raincoat. Merlin's duck-walking little old man is reminiscent of the old Italian fellow in a current commercial who enters his delighted wife's boudoir shaking a can of "Vigoroso" and twirling his mustache. Later, conversely, Merlin's devastation is touching.
...it's hard to imagine... a more distinctive Pasquale than Merlin.
...the Merlin gamble is a memorable success.
Faust, Opera San Jose, November 2002
Jesse Merlin is perfectly cast as Mephistopheles. He makes for a stylized, stereotypical devil.... Merlin's performance was consistent and his acting appropriate.... Everything about his persona and his costume has been manipulated in favor of creating a convincing and charming devil.
La Boheme, West Bay Opera, May-June 2002
Jesse Merlin's goofy, convivial Benoit worked beautifully, making of the landlord a credible if naive character, wonderfully different from the doddering fool one usually sees played.
Madama Butterfly, Opera San Jose, April-May 2002
Bass-baritone Jesse Merlin was very impressive, both in acting and singing in his brief appearance as Butterfly's rich suitor, Prince Yamadori...
Manon, Opera San Jose, February 2002
Jesse Merlin rounded out the main cast with a very impressive Count des Grieux...
Faust, West Bay Opera, October 2001
Jesse Merlin's big baritone as Wagner... rounded out the cast with youthful, energetic performance and solid vocalism.
The Mikado, Lamplighters, July-August 2001
This was in time to thoroughly enjoy the second act entrance of the resplendently attired Mikado, played and sung by Jesse Merlin. The 23-year-old bass from Opera San Jose reminded this reviewer of Samuel Ramey. When he was on stage, the rest of the cast and the audience felt it. He sang, scowled, smiled, strutted and danced as if he were thoroughly enjoying himself.
La Boheme, Opera San Jose, April-May 2001
...Jesse Merlin stole the show for the few moments he was on stage as Benoit, the money-grubbing landlord.
H.M.S. Pinafore, Lamplighters, July-August 2000
Jesse Merlin, as Boatswain's Mate, shone in the "British tar" trio and in his solo, "He is an Englishman." Merlin had such a fine baritone voice -- indeed, one of the best voices in the cast -- that I wondered why he had such a small role. Had the director deemed him too young and handsome to play Dick Deadeye?
Iolanthe, Stanford Savoyards, April-May 2000
Jesse Merlin is the evening's most distinctive performer as Lord Mountararat, one of the buffoonish Peers. His singing about the doltish qualities of his social group is one of the show's best moments.
Pirates of Penzance, Stanford Savoyards, November 1999
On the lower end of things, the Savoyards offer up some real vocal firepower- namely... Jesse Merlin, who lent a basso profundissimo to the Sergeant of Police.
Princess Ida, Stanford Savoyards, April-May 1999
...Merlin followed by tackling some impressive neo-baroque baritone runs in "This helmet, I suppose..."