All stories by Joel Benjamin on BroadwayStars

Monday, February 11, 2019

Betty and The Belrays by Joel Benjamin

The creator of "Betty & The Belrays," now at the Theater for the New City, pretty much dares you to compare his well-meaning, but cartoony, new musical to Hairspray, a comparison in whi…

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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Balletboyz: “Young Men” by Joel Benjamin

The two directors/founders of BalletBoyz, Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, directed and photographed the film which also included Pérez’s choreography.  Although the movie certainly ill…

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Monday, February 4, 2019

Anne of Green Gables: Part I by Joel Benjamin

Directed with touching simplicity by Henry and choreographed with a lyrical flow by Lorna Ventura, this Anne tells the well-known story utilizing a combination of voiceover readings, project…

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Saturday, February 2, 2019

Gatz by Joel Benjamin

Director John Collins made the more than seven hour running time a breeze with his attention to detail, moving his cast of office workers/Gatsby characters with such naturalness that, as eac…

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Friday, February 1, 2019

92Y’s Lyrics & Lyricists Series: “We’ll Have Manhattan: Rodgers & Hart in New York” by Joel Benjamin

"We’ll Have Manhattan: Rodgers & Hart in New York," created and narrated by the soon-to-become Broadway’s Tootsie (in the new Broadway musical), Santino Fontana found most of its em…

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

L-E-V:  Love Chapter II by Joel Benjamin

Casual strolling was suddenly punctuated by dancers bumping and grinding at each other, these full-bodied movements resonating in slightly different ways in each dancer, sometimes leading to…

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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Between the Threads by Joel Benjamin

Conceived and directed by Coral Cohen, along with musician/composer Zoë Aqua and the cast, Threads illuminates the experiences of a large swath of the Jewish population, beginning with a wa…

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Monday, January 21, 2019

Nederlands Dans Theater 2 by Joel Benjamin

All four works—particularly the first three—had a certain offhanded similarity, a lack of formal movement ideas and construction, but all four choreographers are clearly students of the …

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Aileen Passloff, Stepping Forward: One Foot (in front of the other) by Joel Benjamin

Of Passloff’s eight works, the newest, “Frolic,” (2018) to music by Erik Satlie (“Trois morceau en la forme de poire”) came closest in spirit to her classical ballet origins, utili…

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Contemporary Dance Festival: Japan + East Asia 2019 by Joel Benjamin

The four choreographers whose three works were represented at the Japan Society’s Contemporary Dance Festival: Japan + East Asia flung themselves headlong into the modern world of dance wi…

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Monday, January 7, 2019

Waiting for Godot (New Yiddish Rep) by Joel Benjamin

Translator Shane Baker has found excellent Yiddish equivalents for Beckett’s language.  He understands that Yiddish is a minor key tongue full of sadness, quicksilver tone changes, perfec…

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Monday, December 31, 2018

The Chase Brock Experience: The Girl with the Alkaline Eyes by Joel Benjamin

Brock’s work once prized effect over substance, but years of choreographing situation and character-based musicals ("Be More Chill," "Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark") have sharpened his arti…

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Friday, December 28, 2018

ZviDance: Bear’s Ears & Detour by Joel Benjamin

A five-day journey to Bear’s Ears National Monument in Utah in the company of other dancers, choreographers and Native Americans turned Gotheiner’s mind to more serious pursuits resultin…

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Saturday, December 22, 2018

Nut/Cracked by Joel Benjamin

The troupe attracted a wide-ranging audience to The Sam space at The Flea, even a few youngsters there to see their first live dance performance, and, with the exception of one section, “T…

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Baby Monitor by Joel Benjamin

That it involves the relatively new phenomenon of gay parenthood gives it an added impact.  That it is written with a thorough understanding of the complexities of gay parenthood vs. conser…

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Monday, December 17, 2018

The Cher Show by Joel Benjamin

Elice is no stranger to biographical musicals.  His "Jersey Boys" is still running off-Broadway.  Here he was inspired to divide the eponymous character into three personalities:  the Sta…

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Shadows: A Dance Musical by Joel Benjamin

The flier for "Shadows," subtitled "A Dance Musical," calls it “a Gothic ghost love story,” adding, “It’s Twyla Tharp meets Stephen King.”  If only. "Shadows," written by Randall …

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Monday, December 3, 2018

Twyla Tharp: Minamalism and Me by Joel Benjamin

Her quietly wry, gently self-deprecating autobiographical lecture demonstration, “Minimalism and Me,” was the first half of a program devoted to her early works. These works more often t…

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Life x 3 by Joel Benjamin

"Life X 3" was first seen in 2003 at the Circle in the Square.  This revival is tauter and funnier.  Perhaps this smaller venue refracts the play in a different way, but these four actors …

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Friday, November 23, 2018

Tom Pain (based on nothing) by Joel Benjamin

Hall is not helped by an over-zealous production that, for some reason, turns the Signature’s Irene Diamond Stage into a construction site, complete with drop cloths, ceiling netting and l…

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Thursday, November 22, 2018

The New York Pops – Song and Dance:  The Best of Broadway by Joel Benjamin

The New York Theatre Ballet performed the lovely, all-female, “Come to Me, Bend to Me” from that musical, a sweet look at pre-wedding preparations in the ancient village of Brigadoon.  …

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

King Kong by Joel Benjamin

Designed by Johnny Tilders, the puppet Kong is phenomenal, a 20-foot tall, 2,000 pound marionette operated by the ten-person King’s Company, members of the cast assigned to operating the a…

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Little Prince by Joel Benjamin

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s wondrous fairytale, "The Little Prince" ("Le petit prince"), has been filmed as a musical, a cartoon, and a musical cartoon and even occasionally staged live, b…

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Lured by Joel Benjamin

Frank J. Avella’s "Lured" at the Theater for the New City practices a bit of theatrical legerdemain.  Ostensibly about the perils of being gay in today’s Russia, Avella takes an unexpe…

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Monday, November 12, 2018

The Tenant by Joel Benjamin

Whiteside isn’t exactly misused, but rather underused and under coached.  No one should have laughed when he began his transformation into his female alterego.  Whiteside, used to the br…

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Monday, November 5, 2018

Prinze: The One-Man Show by Joel Benjamin

Sonera opens the show with Prinze doing one of his sets at the Improv Club in New York City, 1976, beginning with one of his famous lines, “Looking good!” and continuing with his sardoni…

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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Ferryman by Joel Benjamin

Imported from London, with a number of the original cast members, "The Ferryman" takes place in rural County Armagh, in Northern Ireland in 1981, during a rise of violence of the IRA, right …

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Monday, October 29, 2018

Love, Linda by Joel Benjamin

Elegantly inhabiting the small Triad stage, Holland’s Linda is clearly a class act, with a smooth, rich, dark voice.  Hearing her tale of their days in the twenties cruising the high poin…

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Song of the Mermaid by Joel Benjamin

The K-Arts Dance Company from Korea presented two performances of "Song of the Mermaid," an entertaining full-length ballet choreographed by its artistic director, Sunhee Kim.  Song of the …

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Monday, October 15, 2018

Salome by Joel Benjamin

This M-34 production, under Rutherford’s direction, doesn’t rise to stratospheric heights.  Quite the opposite:  Rutherford’s direction and writing turns Salome into a fascinating do…

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Evolution of Mann by Joel Benjamin

Henry’s roommate and confidante, Gwen (a solid, appealing Leslie Hiatt) has her own heartache to deal with:  Her wife, Diana, has left her, accusing Gwen of infidelity.  Gwen and Henry s…

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