GIRL IN THE RED CORNER @ Broken Nose Theatre Company
“A big part of the success for the show is due to John Tovar's stellar, unflinching fight choreography. Too often stage fights appear like they're running just a little too slowly, a little too calculated. Tovar's fights look complete and authentic in the moment, and in the intimate alley space, each time a hit lands, the audience feels it.”
- Elizabeth Ellis, Performink
“Yes, there is a match that will shock you with its realistic fighting (John Tovar does spectacular work with this choreography - smooth as silk).
- Alan Bresloff, Around the Town Chicago
“The realistic fight scenes, choreographed by John Tovar, make the audience forget this is a play...”
- Emma Sulski, Loyola Phoenix
“Thanks to the fight choreographer John Tovar, punches fly just a few feet from your face."
- Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune
THE DOWNPOUR @ Route 66 Theatre Company
“As for the play’s scarier moments, I haven’t seen a more real feeling fight scene than the one staged near the end of the first act by John Tovar. That was simple and terrifying choreography at its best.”
- Christopher Kidder-Mostrom, Theatre by Numbers
THE OPPONENT @ A Red Orchid Theatre Company (Chicago)
“Their ringwork explodes from punching to a full-blown, no holds barred boxing match as the two try to regain their lost honor. The father-son and mentor-student undertone allows each to vent their frustration into one thrilling, and realistic full-fledged boxing match. The gloves are flying as each boxer has their moments. John Tovar’s boxing choreography was breathtaking.”
-Tom Williams, Chicago Critic
“Fight Director John Tovar’s movements are so real, you will forget you are sitting in a theater and instead think you are actually ringside.”
- Michael Roberts, ShowBizChicago
CAMELOT @ Drury Lane Oakbrook
“Tovar has a knack for bringing the most challenging and complex fights, battles, and other forms of violence from page to stage and his work truly shines in this production. What appeared to be only a brief few seconds was, in actuality, a three minute battle scene, and it goes by very quickly. No matter how quick the battles are, they are visually stunning and mesmerizing up until the very end. Whether it was a large ensemble battle, or individual duels with Lancelot and the knights, Tovar excels in capturing the audience with gripping, suspenseful combat.”
-Luke Simone, Chicago Stage Standard
"In addition to these technical achievements, John Tovar’s finely executed and detailed fight choreography provides additional power and excitement to this production. Not the least of which is a spectacular, realistically played-out battlefield scene..."
- Colin Douglas, Chicago Theatre Review
"…outstandingly thrilling fight choreography by John Tovar."
- Tom Williams, Chicago Critic
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM @ Illinois Shakespeare Festival
"In one memorable scene, the feuding courtesans all strip down to their (hilarious) undergarments for a knock-down-drag-out free-for-all that is almost the funniest part of the show."
- Nancy Steele Brokaw, The Pantagraph
BETHANY @ The Gift Theatre Company
"In contrast, there is also an astounding act of violence (disturbingly well-choreographed by John Tovar) that seems outlandish in a vacuum but has a kind of Greek-tragedy sense of inevitability to it. This was always going to happen. It was just a matter of when. And the amount of time that Lyons spends in the aftermath, just letting the mundane details of it all play themselves out is perfect. It stays with you long after you leave.
- Alex Huntsberger, NewCityStage
THE OPPONENT @ A Red Orchid Theatre Company/Bisno Productions (New York)
"…the silent body language exchanged through the gradually intensifying exercises, sharply choreographed by fight director John Tovar, fills in these important details and adds an intriguing physical layer to their verbal sparring match.
- Hayley Levitt, Theatermania
"...their blunt, cutting lines weave seamlessly through John Tovar’s visceral fight choreography sequences.
- Daniel Lee, theatrescene.net
"Kessler keeps the flow action-packed with John Tovar's convincingly authentic fight direction and Neveu's exploration of the mind games and struggling souls.
- Elizabeth Ahlfors, CurtainUp
"John Tovar, the stage fight specialist who has created a bout of fisticuffs that comes as close to realism as possible within the confines of such close quarters and the need to protect the actors from harm.
- Samuel Leiter, Theatre’s Leiter Side
"The fight direction and staging by John Tovar was sublime. The breathing and footwork and eye contact all were like the spaces and the actions of the words from the pages of the play. This is a wonderful companion piece for "Rocky" the musical which we were lucky to see on Broadway.
- Raymond, Raymond’s Theatre Reviews
NO WAKE @ Route 66 Theatre Company
"Edward and Roger had a fight (fight choreography by John Tovar) that was very funny. They kind of were just flailing around trying to wrestle each other but every time they failed. I thought that was hilarious. When Roger took his shoe off and had to say "Time out" as he hopped around trying to get it back on, even though they were in a hotel room and he wouldn't get his feet dirty, I thought it was hilarious. I think Roger thought that he looked like a wrestler or a big man until he tried to fight and then he realized, "Yeah. I don't."
- Ada Grey, Ada Grey Reviews For You
"There is a fight scene (fight choreography by John Tovar) that will leave your sides splitting. Fox and Tovar are hysterical. For anyone over 45, this is even more fun!"
- Alan Bresloff, Around the Town Chicago