All stories by Joel Benjamin on BroadwayStars

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Zoetrope by Joel Benjamin

Clearly, "Zoetrope" often becomes difficult to follow for non-Spanish speakers.  The dearth of realistic sets makes knowing which location is which confusing, despite the occasional descrip…

SOURCE: at 02:26PM
Monday, September 18, 2023

Tripping on Life by Joel Benjamin

Shaye tells of a pot and drug-addicted couple who are totally disgusting parents to a two year old.  That’s just not acceptable even though it is told as a funny hippy-dippy anecdote. Eve…

SOURCE: at 11:51PM
Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Anne Being Frank by Joel Benjamin

Elisha has written a refreshing new take on Anne Frank’s life.  Called "Anne Being Frank" (a title that should, perhaps, be reconsidered), the one-person, multi-character show posits a su…

SOURCE: at 04:35PM
Friday, September 8, 2023

Relapse: A New Musical by Joel Benjamin

In "Relapse" ’s most original conceit, a quartet called The Intrusive (Vinny Celerio, Audree Hedequist, Nicole Lamb and Zummy Mohammed) becomes a Greek Chorus, insinuating themselves into …

SOURCE: at 01:17PM
Monday, September 4, 2023

2023 Fini Dance Festival and Italian International Dance Awards by Joel Benjamin

Antonio Fini in Ted Shawn’s “The Cosmic Dance of Siva,” performed as part of 2023 Fini Dance Festival at the Ailey Citicorp Theater (Photo credit: Wendy Wild) Joel Benjamin, Critic The…

SOURCE: at 02:27PM
Wednesday, August 23, 2023

A Séance with Mom by Joel Benjamin

Redman’s "A Séance with Mom" at the Chain Studio Theatre veers dizzyingly from one character to another, characters that include middle-aged Nadine who searches for her Mom; her mom, Guss…

SOURCE: at 03:36PM
Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Here Lies Love by Joel Benjamin

"Here Lies Love" unreels like an MTV music video with the emotional content lost in the technique.  The real issue of this musical is that it’s impossible to feel anything for the lead ch…

SOURCE: at 11:57PM
Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Seoul Metropolitan Dance Theatre: One Dance by Joel Benjamin

Korean Arts Week celebrated the theatrical and fine arts of South Korea, a culture under-represented in New York City compared to, say, those of Japan, China and India. At the David H. Koch …

SOURCE: at 01:08AM
Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Ballet Hispánico: Buscando a Juan by Joel Benjamin

There is an elegiac formality to Buscando.  However, other than Juan de Pareja’s name in the title there is little in the choreography that evokes either period or personality.  The chor…

SOURCE: at 05:33PM
Sunday, July 16, 2023

Chanteuse by Joel Benjamin

The Nazis persecuted not only Jews, political opponents and its own, but also homosexuals.  Jews were forced to wear the infamous yellow stars; gays, the pink triangle. Alan Palmer, in his …

SOURCE: at 07:51PM
Thursday, July 6, 2023

Good Vibrations: A Punk Rock Musical by Joel Benjamin

Terri Hooley (a game, genial Glen Wallace) is both the main character and the narrator of "Good Vibrations: A Punk Rock Musical" at the sparkling Irish Arts Center.  How he morphed from Ter…

SOURCE: at 01:58PM
Thursday, June 29, 2023

Rock & Roll Man by Joel Benjamin

"Rock & Roll Man," the new jukebox/biographical musical at the New World Stages has a great deal going for it. The story of legendary Rock & Roll impresario Alan Freed is told in a s…

SOURCE: at 04:26PM
Friday, June 23, 2023

The Light in the Piazza by Joel Benjamin

New York City Center Encores!’s new production of the musical, directed by Chay Yew, stars another Tony Award winner, the sensational Ruthie Ann Miles, as the determined Margaret Johnson w…

SOURCE: at 01:48PM
Monday, June 19, 2023

Wake Up by Joel Benjamin

Spencer Aste in a scene from his one-man show “Wake Up” at the Axis Theatre (Photo credit: Regina Betancourt) Joel Benjamin, Critic Is Spencer Aste a hardworking actor who sold and used…

SOURCE: at 12:42PM
Sunday, June 11, 2023

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Spring 2023 Season by Joel Benjamin

"Dancing Spirit" was a gentle ballet choreographed by Ronald K. Brown to a suite of music by Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis, Radiohead and War. First one dancer, then two and then the entir…

SOURCE: at 06:52PM
Thursday, June 8, 2023

Ballet Hispánico: Spring 2023 Season by Joel Benjamin

The major work of the evening was “Sor Juana,” choreographed by Michelle Manzanales (“in collaboration with the Company”) and performed to a selection of period music including a com…

SOURCE: at 10:18PM
Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Grey House by Joel Benjamin

Eerie and irritating in equal measure, Levi Holloway’s "Grey House" at the Lyceum Theatre dredges up the classic plot device of many horror films:  strangers stumbling into a den of oddba…

SOURCE: at 08:58AM
Thursday, May 25, 2023

Primary Trust by Joel Benjamin

Eboni Booth’s "Primary Trust" at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Laura Pels Theatre is a genial, gentle tale of a genial, gentle young man and his difficulty negotiating the speed bumps…

SOURCE: at 11:49PM
Sunday, May 21, 2023

Misconceptions by Joel Benjamin

Abortion, pro or con?  The Blessed Unrest theater company has taken on this thorny issue. Steven Wangh’s "Misconceptions"—an ironically perfect title—unfolds in the form of a series o…

SOURCE: at 07:19PM
Sunday, May 14, 2023

shadow/land by Joel Benjamin

"shadow/land" by Erika Dickerson-Despenza is a play about the August 2005 disaster, Hurricane Katrina. It is the first episode of a ten-part magnum opus. "shadow/land," though, is more than …

SOURCE: at 12:18AM
Thursday, May 11, 2023

Robin & Me: My Little Spark of Madness by Joel Benjamin

Under the direction of Chad Austin, Droxler uncannily becomes not only Williams (and all of Williams cinematic characters who each serve up different helpful advice), but also his father Ed;…

SOURCE: at 11:26AM
Sunday, May 7, 2023

New York City Center Encores!: Oliver! by Joel Benjamin

When Mary-Mitchell Campbell’s baton brought out the first notes of the "Oliver!" overture from the Encores! Orchestra, the memorable tunes just flowed and didn’t stop until more than two…

SOURCE: at 01:17PM
Friday, May 5, 2023

Summer, 1976 by Joel Benjamin

Auburn (Pulitzer Prize winner for Proof) has a knack for writing complex female characters.  That knack hasn’t failed him in "Summer, 1976."  Diane, the lustrous Laura Linney, is an aloo…

SOURCE: at 11:47AM
Monday, May 1, 2023

Peter Pan Goes Wrong by Joel Benjamin

The Company soon loses its way as bunk beds self-destruct, lines get mangled, Peter Pan flails about in failed attempts to fly and crocodiles and mermaids parade about on skateboards. If thi…

SOURCE: at 06:48PM
Monday, April 24, 2023

Dance Theatre of Harlem 2023 by Joel Benjamin

A short documentary film about the fabulous actress, composer, pianist and wife of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Hazel Scott, preceded the new ballet, "Sounds of Hazel," choreographed by Tiffany…

SOURCE: at 12:37PM
Thursday, April 13, 2023

Regretfully, So the Birds by Joel Benjamin

Silliness and whimsy can often be admirable qualities in a play, but not when taken to the degree playwright Julia Izumi has in her new work, "Regretfully, So the Birds Are," a co-production…

SOURCE: at 02:37PM
Thursday, April 6, 2023

Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ by Joel Benjamin

Perhaps it’s the difficulty of finding dancers who can perform the intricate, body isolation moves so emblematic of Fosse’s very individual style, but to those who know and experienced h…

SOURCE: at 12:27AM
Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Best Friends by Joel Benjamin

The Israeli Artists Project, dedicated to bringing the art and artists of Israel to American audiences, has mounted a production of Anat Gov’s "Best Friends," a zippy portrait of three bes…

SOURCE: at 11:57AM
Sunday, March 19, 2023

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch: Água by Joel Benjamin

"Água," making its American debut, created in 2001 during a residency in Brazil, is a work of great beauty, humor and creativity —and dishearteningly, an overlong dance/theater work.  Ev…

SOURCE: at 02:21PM
Friday, March 17, 2023

Dear World (New York City Center Encores!) by Joel Benjamin

"Dear World," the not terribly successful 1969 Jerry Herman musical based on Jean Giraudoux’s "The Madwoman of Chaillot" (1945), was basically a vehicle for the brilliant Angela Lansbury.�…

SOURCE: at 03:56PM
Thursday, March 16, 2023

Elyria by Joel Benjamin

What makes "Elyria" intriguing is how its American location affects the hidebound ritual social rules of its Southeast Asian characters.  That all the characters emerged from an African dia…

SOURCE: at 02:17PM

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