All stories by Joel Benjamin on BroadwayStars

Monday, February 6, 2023

On Set with Theda Bara by Joel Benjamin

David Greenspan, the shape-shifting thespian, has taken on yet another multi-character play, as if his one-man "Strange Interlude" and his more recent "Four Saints in Three Acts" whet his ap…

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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Cullberg: “Horse, the Solos” by Joel Benjamin

Though only an hour long, Deborah Hay’s Horse, the Solos (2021), set on the dancers of Cullberg (founded in 1967 as the Cullberg Ballet by the late, eminent Swedish choreographer Birgit Cu…

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Saturday, January 28, 2023

tanzmainz: “Soul Chain” by Joel Benjamin

Three solos were stunning in their display of physical endurance.  One woman moved forward, repeatedly kicking one leg behind her nearly touching her head with her foot.  Another, tall and…

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Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Natalia Osipova: Force of Nature by Joel Benjamin

The ballerina Natalia Osipova easily transformed herself from spectral to sensuous to eerie in just the first half of her 'Force of Nature" program at the New York City Center. The show—pr…

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Saturday, January 21, 2023

A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical by Joel Benjamin

When the older Diamond reaches an existential breaking point, he finally stands up, stage center and takes command of his memories, experiences and his life with an intensely concentrated re…

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Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Hong Kong Ballet: “Romeo + Juliet” by Joel Benjamin

Webre went for acrobatics and precision rather than passion.  Perhaps, the Chinese Communist regime frowns upon openly sexual expression in dance.  Perhaps Webre can’t summon anything bu…

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Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Darkness After Night: Ukraine by Joel Benjamin

"Darkness: unfolds in many very short scenes with some confusing transitions.  Dubashin, the traitor to Russia, finally gets to confront Number One in a knock-down personal battle.  The on…

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Monday, December 19, 2022

Some Like It Hot by Joel Benjamin

Matthew López & Amber Ruffin (book) and Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman (music and lyrics) have transformed the written-for-laughs film into a joyous musical, keeping much of the sharp…

SOURCE: at 12:51PM
Wednesday, December 7, 2022

A Tomato Can’t Grow in the Bronx by Joel Benjamin

Under the permissive direction of Garfield-Szita—who also designed the costumes—the cast comes across more as members of a sitcom than a serious drama, not helped by Morgenstein’s depe…

SOURCE: at 02:46PM
Monday, November 28, 2022

Eleanor and Alice: Conversations Between Two Remarkable Roosevelts by Joel Benjamin

Ellen Abrams’ new play "Eleanor and Alice – Conversations Between Two Remarkable Roosevelts" explores their superficial courtesies in a series of conversations spanning 1904 until 1962, …

SOURCE: at 11:57AM
Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Kimberly Akimbo by Joel Benjamin

"Kimberly Akimbo," David Lindsay-Abaire’s oddball take on the title character’s dishearteningly sad disease, began life as a play back in 2001, reaching New York via the Manhattan Theatr…

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Saturday, November 19, 2022

Where the Mountain Meets the Sea by Joel Benjamin

A touching portrait of a father and his alienated son unfolds in the Manhattan Theatre Club’s "Where the Mountain Meets the Sea" by Jeff Augustin, directed by Joshua Kahan Brody. ... "When…

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Monday, November 14, 2022

The Piano Lesson by Joel Benjamin

LaTanya Richardson Jackson (Samuel L. Jackson’s wife) has directed in a desultory fashion.  Long, revealing monologues, the backbone of this particular play, are delivered directly to the…

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Thursday, November 10, 2022

Catch as Catch Can by Joel Benjamin

Chung has the six characters played by three actors, each playing a parent/child duo switching from one to the other in confusing frequency. In addition, each actor plays a parent of the opp…

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Monday, November 7, 2022

Parade by Joel Benjamin

World events have inadvertently raised the significance of the New York City Center’s Annual Gala presentation of the brilliant new staging of the Jason Robert Brown/Alfred Uhry musical Pa…

SOURCE: at 03:53PM
Sunday, November 6, 2022

Vatican Falls by Joel Benjamin

You won’t find Vatican Falls on any map about picturesque raging waters.  No, Frank J. Avella’s new play, "Vatican Falls," is, instead, a passionate, sometimes humorous, indictment of t…

SOURCE: at 11:44AM
Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Our Voices, Our Time: One-Act Play Festival by Joel Benjamin

The venerable, historic Negro Ensemble Company is presenting an intriguing program at the equally venerable, historic Cherry Lane Theatre: "Our Voices, Our Time: One-Act Play Festival." The …

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Saturday, October 29, 2022

Twlya Tharp: “In the Upper Room” & “Nine Sinatra Songs” by Joel Benjamin

A scene from Twyla Tharp’s “In the Upper Room” at New York City Center (Photo credit: Benjamin Miller) Joel Benjamin, Critic When Twyla Tharp’s ballets are good, they are great: wor…

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Monday, October 24, 2022

Chushingura – 47 Ronin by Joel Benjamin

It’s not clear what Amaterasu Za’s mission is.  If, as Dachs’ program comments indicate, it is to bring Japanese culture to modern audiences, the company needs to be less stodgy and m…

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Tuesday, October 18, 2022

1776 by Joel Benjamin

Directed by Jeffrey L. Page (who also did the simplistic choreography) and Diane Paulus, this production’s well-meaning gimmick is to have all the historic characters played by a “cast t…

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Monday, October 10, 2022

Our Town…but Wilder by Joel Benjamin

Krevolin is a clever writer, turning Wilder’s American folk tale into a modern comedy/drama with relevance to today’s audiences.  Although he often makes his points a bit too obviously …

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Monday, October 3, 2022

New York City Center Fall for Dance 2022: Program 4 by Joel Benjamin

"Men of Kyiv," choreographed to high-spirited traditional folk music by Pavlo Virsky, pitted two groups of men—one wearing blue T-shirts, the other yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian nati…

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Monday, September 26, 2022

Fall for Dance Festival 2022: Program 1 by Joel Benjamin

Perhaps the supreme dance festival in New York City, maybe even in the world, New York City Center’s Fall for Dance 2022 is celebrating its 19th year of presenting a panoply of domestic an…

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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Four Saints in Three Acts by Joel Benjamin

Greenspan isn’t always totally clear when switching points of view, but made up for this by turning the entire, long script into a wonderland of gestures, vocalizations, postures and movem…

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Sunday, September 18, 2022

Love, Sex and Real Estate by Joel Benjamin

"Love, Sex & Real Estate" moves swiftly, thanks to John D. McNally’s direction.  He skillfully manages the quick shifts between romantic liaisons, real estate discussions, Ugo’s you…

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Monday, September 12, 2022

Strings Attached by Joel Benjamin

From the clever double entendre title to its fantastical involvement of three famous long dead physicists, Carole Buggé’s "Strings Attached" tries very hard to rise out of the morass what…

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Monday, August 29, 2022

Two Jews, Talking by Joel Benjamin

If Samuel Beckett had been a Jew, his "Waiting for Godot"’s Estragon and Vladimir could have emerged as the equally quirky "Two Jews, Talking," in the appealing new two-hander by Ed. Weinb…

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Friday, August 26, 2022

Randy’s Dandy Coaster Castle by Joel Benjamin

Part of Ramón’s game plan to increase attendance is to create a Randy’s Dandy Coaster Castle mascot.  In a move that changes his life, Arlo is drafted to don a hilarious, smelly rat co…

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Friday, August 19, 2022

The Sarasota Ballet 2022 by Joel Benjamin

The second Ashton ballet was "Varii Capricci," his clever take on Bronislava Nijinska’s "Les Biches" from 1924.  Her ballet was a tongue-in-cheek comment on the sexually liberated, chic y…

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Friday, August 12, 2022

BAAND Together Dance Festival 2022 at Lincoln Center by Joel Benjamin

The dancers were attired in puffy white tutus and black tights, the men bare-chested—chic costumes by the choreographer.  They pranced, undulated their torsos, tossed each other around an…

SOURCE: at 11:56PM
Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Adventures in Vegas by Joel Benjamin

A tiny dynamo, Bell Wolff, early in her career, found the perfect role as Ermengarde in several productions of "Hello, Dolly!". She yearned to perform the bigger part of Minnie Faye and near…

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