“One of the few men who courts the Joni Mitchell comparison in his ivory-tickling style, his deep blue voice” — Performing Songwriter Top 12 DIY.

Isen’s voice is a wonderful instrument that is fully as melancholy as the sound of an English horn”— The Southern Voice.

Like looking at an impressionist painting-his songs are blended shades of blue and purple, splashed with white” — Chicago Free Press.



“Richard Isen… has managed to pull off a very difficult feat: Tell a universal story in a novel way with surprising plot twists, create characters that we truly care about, and write music and lyrics that charm the ear, engage the mind and touch the heart.” — Musical Theater Lovers United

All in all, it’s a good show. While the first act serves as something of a farce with some camp noir overtones, the second takes a surprisingly grave turn into mortality, spirituality and the dangerous ease of self-deception. Somewhere in the overlap between Zen philosophy, Jungian psychology, Oscar Wilde (who is quoted constantly throughout the production. We tried to make a drinking game of it, but had to stop for fear of our lives) and ‘Rent’ you’ll find ‘Chance.’”  —  EDGE Media Network

… a non-stop, intimate epic…” Buzzin’ Lee Hartgrave, BeyondChron

With touches of Boheme (not Rent), Falsettos and Kiss of the Spider Woman, along with some impressive dramatic touches, along with stunning performances, the evening was sure to  please.” — Outer Stages


“‘Lestat’ on Broadway is getting the attention, but the living dead are singing off Broadway as well. Fine voices! ‘Close Your Eyes,’ a lament about letting go, beautifully delivered by Ms. Noll, is transporting!” — The New York Times

“Often-impressive work. The four leads do well; credit goes to director Gabriel Barre. York subscribers should be pleased. A Fine & Private Place gets points for being an unconventional musical displaying originality and heart, not to mention attractive performances. Regionals looking for an earnest and economical musical should give this tombstone tuner an afterlife.”  — Variety

“A damn good musical, rich in intelligence and emotion. Enjoyable, thought-provoking entertainment. Charming and quirky. Sophisticated melodies blend well with a sensitive book and deftly crafted lyrics. A much needed sign of intellectual life in New York’s musical theatre world.”   —

“Isen’s music is always beautiful, at times even magically rapturous, and surging with restful romanticism.”Talkin’ Broadway

“The Goodspeed [does not open its] “work-in-progress” productions at the Norma Terris Theatre to review. I cannot let this show pass, however, without comment. It is one of the most unlikely stage productions I have encountered in a long time. Imagine, a musical comedy set in a cemetery! Impossible, you say? That was my initial reaction, too. And yet A Fine and Private Place challenges your imagination and holds your interest from start to finish. It works remarkably well. The show should have a future off Broadway and/or on tour, much like The Fantasticks. All the necessary elements are there-life, love, death, drama, comedy, an intriguing book and lyrics, a fine musical score-plus a talking raven. What more can you ask of a modest, yet strangely riveting, new musical?”  — Connecticut Pictorial Gazette

“Offbeat pleasures and glints of real promise. The most winning character is the sardonic raven, a sensational turn. The sentimental fable is carried along nicely by Richard Isen’s constrainedly eloquent score and Haagensen’s lyrics. “No One Ever Knows” is a beautifully placed hymn to mortality. Poignant and charming.” — Newark Star-Ledger


“Music of real quality has been written by Richard Isen to embrace and augment Owen’s poetry.  There are songs of haunting mellowness and others that deal wittily with the spiky requirements of the metres.  Accompanying at the piano, Isen provides some interesting harmonic surprises.”  – The Scotsman, FRINGE FIRST AWARD, Edinburgh Festival