All stories by Ben Brantley on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

This Is Theater in 2020. Will It Last? Should It? by Ben Brantley, Jesse Green and Maya Phillips

Our critics discuss the last four months, which thanks to Zoom (and Meryl Streep) have been full of experimentation and playfulness.

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Sunday, June 28, 2020

‘Lungs’ Review: Claire Foy and Matt Smith Chase Love in the Dark by Ben Brantley

In Duncan Macmillan’s play, streaming live from the Old Vic, the stars of “The Crown” play a contradictory couple in an age of isolation.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 03:03PM
Monday, June 22, 2020

‘The Whole Audience Was Vibrating’: Your Memorable Performances by Ben Brantley

They’re never gone: Star turns from Ralph Fiennes, Meryl Streep, Gregory Hines and Christopher Plummer still live in the mind’s eye of readers.

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Friday, June 12, 2020

12 Streamable Plays That Depict Black Lives Pierced by Racism by Ben Brantley, Jesse Green and Maya Phillips

From the documentary works of Anna Deavere Smith to brief monologues written in this moment of unrest, dramatists are sounding an alarm.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 07:03PM
Thursday, June 4, 2020

No Tony Awards Show? Make Your Own With These Great Moments. by Ben Brantley, Jesse Green, Michael Paulson, Alexis Soloski, Elisabeth Vincentelli, Laura Collins-Hughes, Scott Heller and Eric Grode

Miranda’s rap. Rylance’s poems. Jackman’s pelvis. And a brassy reunion for Bea Arthur and Angela Lansbury. Now set your clock for “Turkey Lurkey Time.”

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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Review: Streaming Consciousness Floods ‘A School for Fools’ by Ben Brantley

The Belarus Free Theater’s livestreaming, mind-bending adaptation of Sasha Sokolov’s poetic novel assumes the bifocal eye-view of a divided self.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 03:54PM
Sunday, May 31, 2020

Finding the Sweet, Stinging Salt in Plays of Confinement by Ben Brantley

For stuck-at-homes feeling like submerging into the existential depths of no-exit theater, here’s a list of works to read and to watch.

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Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Mythic Performances That Are Keeping Me Company by Ben Brantley

Unforgettable moments lost to time, from Christopher Plummer to Jennifer Holliday, now more than ever remind us of theater’s special resonance.

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Sunday, May 24, 2020

College Students Colonize the Divided Romania of ‘Mad Forest’ by Ben Brantley

In a livestream production of Caryl Churchill’s 1990 tale of riot-torn Bucharest, quarantined Bard acting students grapple with revolution.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Race, Schooling and Inequality: Let’s Watch ‘Pipeline’ by Ben Brantley

Then ask questions of its playwright, Dominique Morisseau, and The New York Times critic who reviewed the first production.

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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Review: Same Apple Family, New Kind of Theater by Ben Brantley

In Richard Nelson’s “What Do We Need to Talk About?,” a familiar clan poses resonant questions about how we connect in the age of social distancing.

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Monday, April 27, 2020

Bruce Myers, Actor With Voice of a ‘Stradivarius,’ Dies at 78 by Ben Brantley

He was a stalwart member of the group of actors who worked with the director Peter Brook. Mr. Myers died of the novel coronavirus.

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Review: For Sondheim’s 90th Birthday, a Collage of Aching Voices by Ben Brantley

The streaming concert “Take Me to the World,” featuring a gallery of musical stars, honors the probing ambivalence of a master songwriter.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Falling in Love Again With ‘All About Eve’ by Ben Brantley

The magical kingdom of Broadway is shuttered, but our critic returned to it — or rather a version of it that opened his eyes, Bette Davis wide, to New York theater.

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Thursday, April 16, 2020

Brian Dennehy Found the Tragic Grandeur in Ordinary Lives by Ben Brantley

Remembering an actor of uncommon power who gave heroic stature to a character crippled by depression in “Death of a Salesman.”

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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

20 Broadway Musical Albums to Listen To by Jesse Green and Ben Brantley

What we plan to listen to in perpetuity (or right now) in our Spotify-enabled isolation.

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Six Tips for Listening to Original Cast Recordings by Jesse Green and Ben Brantley

To begin with, don’t call them soundtracks!

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The 2019-2020 Broadway Cast Albums: A Listening Guide by Ben Brantley and Jesse Green

A listening guide to the cast albums, playlists and video footprints left behind by 18 Broadway and Off Broadway musicals.

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Monday, April 6, 2020

Off Broadway’s Season Shook Up Norms of Life and Theater by Ben Brantley and Jesse Green

Our co-chief theater critics discuss the plays and musicals that reflected and predicted an unstable world.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Who Says You Can’t Give Tony Awards in an Abbreviated Season? by Jesse Green and Ben Brantley

Our chief theater critics have no nickel-plated medallions to hand out, but they find plenty to celebrate among shut-down Broadway offerings.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 05:42PM
Friday, March 27, 2020

Turn the Living Room into a Stage: Read Plays Out Loud by Ben Brantley

It’s a tradition this drama critic would highly recommend to those looking for ways to find magic in empty hours.

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Friday, March 20, 2020

In ‘Viral Monologues,’ Theater Mutates Into Online Deliverance by Ben Brantley

Funny, scary and necessary, this series of taped soliloquies contemplate the way we live now, in isolation.

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Thursday, March 12, 2020

Now You Know: A Critic’s Guide to Sondheim by Ben Brantley and Jesse Green

An opinionated take on the songwriter’s major works, from a delayed debut to a Pulitzer Prize- winning classic.

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Stephen Sondheim, the Man Who Felt Too Much by Ben Brantley

Why did it take so long for the composer to be unambivalently embraced? Maybe because ambivalence is what he’s embraced most of all.

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Monday, March 9, 2020

Review: Lies of Love and Memory Swirl Through ‘Unknown Soldier’ by Ben Brantley

This thoughtful, history-spanning portrait of elusive identities testifies to the versatility of its composer, Michael Friedman.

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Friday, March 6, 2020

‘Girl From the North Country’ Review: Bob Dylan’s Amazing Grace by Ben Brantley

This ravishing and singular musical, written and directed by Conor McPherson, hears America singing — Dylan — during the Great Depression.

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Monday, March 2, 2020

Review: In ‘The Hot Wing King,’ a New Recipe for a Family by Ben Brantley

Katori Hall’s genial play, built around a cooking contest in Memphis, uses a sitcom structure to explore black masculinity.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Review: ‘Dana H.’ Maps a Harrowing Journey Into Hell by Ben Brantley

Lucas Hnath’s brilliant, boundary-melting play, starring a marvelous Deirdre O’Connell, is a first-person account of the violent kidnapping of his mother.

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Monday, February 24, 2020

Review: Partying With the Khmer Rouge in ‘Cambodian Rock Band’ by Ben Brantley

Lauren Yee’s ambitious, tonally mixed play uses bait-and-switch tactics to approach the dark heart of a genocidal regime.

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How Laurie Metcalf Became the Sarah Bernhardt of Broadway by Ben Brantley

She may seem self-effacing, but it takes skill and smarts to be Nora and Hillary and, next, Martha in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

‘West Side Story’ Review: Sharks vs. Jets vs. Video by Ben Brantley

Ivo van Hove’s attention-splintering revival of the immortal 1957 musical features new choreography, a ravishing orchestra and smothering visual effects.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 08:36PM

All that Chat

2019-2020 BROADWAY SEASON
Oct 06: Slave Play
Feb 01: The Minutes
TBA: Blue