"David Merino, fresh from playing Angel in a national tour of “Rent,” remains angelic as the directionless but passionate Will, a picked-upon loner looking for friendship. He’s a bundle of adorable grins and self-conscious internal anxieties, eager to fall into these wonderful feelings he’s experiencing but afraid of being hurt."
- Hartford Courant
"David Merino...and CJ Palikowski...are perfection as Will and Mike, balancing the tentative bravado of high school teens with strong vocal skills and superb onstage chemistry."
- Westfield News
"GIRLFRIEND requires a lot from its two actors, and David Merino and CJ Pawlikowski do an excellent job. Mr. Merino gives us a Will who is unsure in where the relationship with Mike is going and as to his next step in life, but with the confidence that he will see where it takes him. He captures the awkwardness that so many of us felt at that age and the energy and enthusiasm of a life ahead (even if that life is not quite clear yet.)...Both actors have very strong voices with many opportunities to deliver tight harmonies and hauntingly beautiful melodies. They bring a fresh and raw energy to the piece, building intensity and anticipation over the course of the 80 minutes of the show and are thrilling to watch."
"The two leads are wonderful, especially Merino, who has an eternal well of charm and sweetness that is endearing beyond reason."
- Journal Inquirer
RENT 20th Anniversary Tour
"But it's David Merino's Angel who virtually stops the show with 'Today for You, Tomorrow for Me' that is as electrifying as any knockout musical theater number you are ever likely to see. With charm and charisma to spare and an almost unparalleled stage presence that is sure to make anyone sit up and take notice, and to reward him with the applause and the affection of an audience well-served. Merino's Angel provides the show with its heart and the deference paid to the character, while a plot vehicle to be certain, seems more relatable now than in the past - thanks, perhaps in large part, to Merino's exquisitely drawn portrayal."
- Broadway World Nashville
"Merino packs some serious extra voltage and can leap, strut, twirl, and twerk around the stage while winning us all over with his joyous delivery of 'Today 4 U.' He’s got the smile and winsomeness of a young Judy Garland and the take-no-prisoners attitude, bling and dynamism of Prince."
- DC Theatre Scene
"The standout for me specifically was Angel - played by David Merino…he instilled so much charisma and sheer happiness that I found myself smiling each and every time I saw him on stage. That endless joy that Angel has is what makes her special, and Merino played this trait beautifully."
- Broadway World Baltimore
"'Today for You' by David Merino’s Angel is everything you could hope for. Spinning, dancing, kicking, drumming… It is just a ton of fun to see and experience. It left me wanting to shout 'yaaaaasssss qwweeeeeeeennnnnn!!!!!' This being Merino’s professional debut, sometimes it’s a crap shoot. Consider the bet as a major pay off. His energy and charisma made him a PERFECT fit for Angel. The show is worth seeing if no other reason than to be able to say you saw him 'when.' I will be shocked if we don’t see him accepting a Tony someday in the very near future."
- Out & About Nashville
"Merino is an ideal Angel, both looking and acting the part. Young, sassy, and confident with drag queen dance chops and delicately handsome features, the newcomer to professional theater brings the necessary pep to his role—a clear crowd favorite, as evidenced by the whistles that echo through the theater in the show stopping 'Today 4 U.' He also has a voice that turns either sweet or feisty when necessary."
- The DCist