theatre specialist

Award-winning director, producer and educator.

Rave Reviews

Necessary Sacrifices


"Directed by Peter Ellenstein... This play is timely and compelling."

E.H Reiter,

"This filmed play is scads more absorbing than the ubiquitous Zoom theater projects out there. It’s nearly two hours of tense confrontation between two towering historical figures... The drama demands strict attention from viewers ...the story is one of enduring importance."

-David L. Coddon, San Diego Union-Tribune

“A brilliant opener for North Coast Repertory’s 39th season. It is two hours of compelling entertainment.  This production is inviting in every way and provides sterling entertainment for the entire family especially from junior high school ages and up.  This production is rated a solid 10 out of 10.”

– Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal, Fallbrook News

"Speaking truth to power takes on whole new meaning... there are also poignant moments...(Douglass) does not flinch from intimacy.  Peter Ellenstein directs this full production... the high-definition results look dazzling on a large flat-screen TV... The sign of a successful history play is it sends you on a research quest for more information after viewing.  This is one such play."

- Lynne Friedmann,

"If you love theatrical productions, North Coast Repertory Theatre, in Solana Beach, has

just the play for you. Not only is this a chance to see a beautifully directed and produced play, but the choice for their production could not have been more appropriate for this time in our nation’s history." 

-Tom Robertson, Vista Press

"Necessary Sacrifices. Masterful Acting. Powerful Content. North Coast Repertory has outclassed the rest of the county theatres in these uncertain times by producing quality entertainment worth paying for online, which can be conveniently enjoyed on your schedule."

- Kathy Carpenter, Splash Magazine


“"Excellent production... ​Absorbing, close to flawless production... “Necessary Sacrifices” comes as close to being in the intimate space of the theatre as one can get without actually having your tush in a theatre seat." 

– Carol Davis, Critic

"Hellesens intelligent, insightful, engaging play...a nicely nuanced performance...honesty and conviction... time spent with them is well worth it."

- Jack Lyons, Desert Local News


i"I felt like a fly on the wall (better than a front row seat) watching  two brilliant portrayals...  "Necessary Sacrifices" is a must-see production."

- Sheldon Merrill,  

"Director, Peter Ellenstein, captivatingly stages the playwright's dramatization of real events... the results are compelling.  Ellenstein's interpretation emphasizes the importance of social change and hope for equality, whether it be in 1864 or 2020."

David Dixon, Sand Diego Story

"If you like to take the long view of history, and consider how the past informs the present; not to mention seeing what great statesmen look like, you'll enjoy this production."

Pat Launer, Times of San Diego 

“Live streaming works beautifully with NCRT’s theatrical production of Necessary Sacrifices. This captivating performance offers a fascinating look into the hearts, souls, and thought processes of Frederick Douglas and President Abraham Lincoln ... The acting is mesmerizing and will keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s really nice to see how well masterful live stage performances, such as this, work really well on your computer or TV screen at home.”

- Andy Lee, Publisher, North County Sun

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