Poet, songwriter and performer Christopher Reiner is an artist whose work is as easy to recognize as it is difficult to pigeonhole. He doesn’t fit into convenient categories or genres.
His four books (Ogling Anchor, Pain, A Coward's Libretto, and I Want Nothing But You In The World) walk a fine line between poetry and prose.
Rae Armantrout, recipient of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize in poetry, has written: “Christopher Reiner's stories or prose poems—I'm not sure how to classify them—are subtle and psychologically astute, fascinating. They draw you in with their apparent simplicity, but it is into a conundrum, a riddle just beyond your understanding. They leave you wanting more—not more from them, but more like them."
As a songwriter and performer, he has been called “a relaxed and charming singer, with a good feeling for musical irony and a knack for pop construction” (Stage Raw) with “a strong pop sensibility and an ear for the soaring melody” (L.A. Weekly).
His recent solo show, "End Up Here," has been called “perfectly delightful” by Broadway World: “Reiner's unassuming persona and lack of self-indulgence allows the audience to connect with his witty pop songs in a much more personal way . . . . He transitions through sixteen musical and two literary compositions that made me smile, wonder, nod, and sigh in recognition. It is true what they say, the more specific a story the more universal its appeal.”
In the manner of other Los Angeles-born writers and performers (i.e., Randy Newman, Brian Wilson and John Cage), Reiner’s work does not follow a straight line. “The lyrics can weave a gentle love song, or run you into bumps and sudden turns. His best stuff is part Cole Porter and part Kafka. You go from tapping your toes to dropping your jaw, or laughing out loud, or bursting a sudden sigh at recognizing an unfortunate truth” (Theatre Ghost).
As a composer, he has written over twenty-five shows, ranging from the bizarre Urban Death (“Sheer, vital stagecraft,” New York Times) to children’s theatre, to award-winning adaptations of Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe ("invaluable composer," Los Angeles Times).