All stories by Joel Benjamin on BroadwayStars

Thursday, May 5, 2022

A Strange Loop by Joel Benjamin

Deliriously and explicitly profane, Michael R. Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize winning musical, "A Strange Loop" has—unbelievably—made it to Broadway, produced by Playwrights Horizons, Page 7…

SOURCE: at 10:36PM
Saturday, April 30, 2022

for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf by Joel Benjamin

This Broadway production, a godchild of a recent 2019 production at The Public Theater (directed by Leah C. Gardiner), is directed and choreographed by modern dance luminary Camille A. Brown…

SOURCE: at 03:03PM
Monday, April 25, 2022

The Limón Dance Company (Spring 2022) by Joel Benjamin

The final work was the world premiere of “Only One Will Rise,” a work by a new choreographer Olivier Tarpaga to a colorful score he co-wrote with Tim Motzer who was one of the three on s…

SOURCE: at 11:46AM
Tuesday, April 12, 2022

The Life by Joel Benjamin

The ubiquitous Billy Porter was given command of the most recent New York City Center Encores! presentation, the 1997 musical "The Life."  His direction and re-interpretation of this tawdry…

SOURCE: at 04:14PM

Confederates by Joel Benjamin

Dominique Morisseau’s "Confederates," her second play of her Signature Theatre Residency 5, is a clever, but overly talky dissertation on race, power and family.  She offers the audience …

SOURCE: at 02:02PM
Tuesday, March 22, 2022

The Medium by Joel Benjamin

Who knew that Marshall McLuhan was such a nut?  "The Medium," a dance-theater work conceived and directed by Anne Bogart puts McLuhan through her particular way of combining dance and words…

SOURCE: at 12:04PM
Friday, March 18, 2022

Coal Country by Joel Benjamin

Songwriter Steve Earle, a three-time Grammy Award winner, returns providing homey, twangy music and acting as an understanding host/narrator.  With charm that belies the depth of Coal Count…

SOURCE: at 11:57PM
Sunday, March 13, 2022

Hart Island by Joel Benjamin

Whether or not Tracy Weller’s "Hart Island" directly harkens back to Masters, it certainly has similarities, most particularly in its poetically rendered revelations of the underbelly of l…

SOURCE: at 11:48PM
Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Artists at the Center: Tiler Peck by Joel Benjamin

By far, the audience favorite was the world premiere “Time Spell,” an entertaining attempt at a hybrid of tap dancing (choreographed by Michelle Dorrance and Jillian Meyers) and ballet (…

SOURCE: at 05:22PM
Sunday, February 27, 2022

First Down by Joel Benjamin

A plea for understanding the pain of being Muslin-American, Sevan’s First Down at the 59E59 Theaters focuses on the plight of an adored football player who decides to kneel and pray during…

SOURCE: at 02:27PM
Monday, February 14, 2022

Four Quartets by Joel Benjamin

In her selection of the movements and structure of "Four Quartets," Tamowitz chose to ignore the depth and imagery of the poems, producing a cool Merce Cunningham-like ballet that glided alo…

SOURCE: at 10:27AM
Thursday, February 10, 2022

MJ by Joel Benjamin

Wheeldon and Pulitzer Award-winning playwright Lynn Nottage make every effort to hide the fact that MJ is a jukebox musical, despite the fact that the first notes of every song elicited loud…

SOURCE: at 03:59PM
Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Specially Processed American Me by Joel Benjamin

Who knew that SPAM has figured so importantly in Korean and Korean-American cuisines?  Jaime Sunwoo’s "Specially Processed American Me" tells that story and much more. "Specially Processe…

SOURCE: at 12:55AM
Friday, February 4, 2022

The Tap Dance Kid by Joel Benjamin

Let’s start with the best:  The great Joshua Henry’s 11 o’clock number, “William’s Song,” a gut-wrenching revelatory song sung by the title character’s emotionally distant fat…

SOURCE: at 04:31PM
Monday, January 24, 2022

Di Froyen (The Women) by Joel Benjamin

The New Yiddish Rep’s (David Mandelbaum, artistic director) production of the Yiddish language "Di Froyen (The Women)" is a bittersweet, anger-inducing portrait of modern day Chasid women …

SOURCE: at 08:23PM
Friday, January 21, 2022

Addressless: A Walk in Our Shoes by Joel Benjamin

Turning the plight of New York City’s homeless into a game is an iffy proposition to say the least.  At best, the audience for the theatrical effort, "Addressless: A Walk in Our Shoes," l…

SOURCE: at 10:18AM
Tuesday, January 11, 2022

I Just Want to Tell Somebody by Joel Benjamin

He used the gimmick of preparing to perform the very show he was performing for his audience in the Cabaret Theater of the Theater for the New City; but by the end of his fascinating and gru…

SOURCE: at 01:45PM
Friday, December 10, 2021

Parsons Dance: Fall 2021 Season by Joel Benjamin

Parsons’ first work on the program was the tour de force solo “Balance of Power” performed by the phenomenal Zoey Anderson.  Clad in Barbara Erin Delo’s brilliantly colored tight co…

SOURCE: at 02:40PM
Monday, November 22, 2021

Diana, The Musical by Joel Benjamin

If you are a Princess Diana completist, "Diana: The Musical" will satisfy your needs along with the deeper Spencer and The Queen and all the innumerable documentaries about this ill-fated fa…

SOURCE: at 07:50PM
Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Bronx Babe by Joel Benjamin

When Sonny Marie Lee stepped onto the stage of the Actors Temple Theatre as the eponymous "The Bronx Babe" I thought she was putting the audience on, acting the stereotypical, Noo Yawk accen…

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Tuesday, November 16, 2021

A Turtle on a Fence Post by Joel Benjamin

Unfolding from a stand-up comedy routine—“A prisoner walks into a bar…!”—and set in a comedy venue designed with ingenuity and style by Walt Spangler, Turtle veers from hokey to ho…

SOURCE: at 12:07PM
Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Caroline, or Change by Joel Benjamin

"Caroline, or Change" is an important musical, more now than in 2004.  It should be seen.  The Roundabout production, though somewhat flawed, still communicates the complicated relationshi…

SOURCE: at 11:41AM
Friday, November 5, 2021

Swan Lake Rock Opera by Joel Benjamin

Now there’s "Swan Lake Rock Opera" created by Mirit Shem-Ur (book and lyrics), Tsedi Sarfati (director and dramaturge) and Sharona Pick (music production and additional music).  The show …

SOURCE: at 08:59AM
Thursday, October 21, 2021

Lucinda Childs’ “Dance” at The Joyce Theater by Joel Benjamin

Before the dancers appeared live, "Dance" commenced with a burst of Glass’ iconic, pulsating music—here pre-recorded, originally performed live—and a still from LeWitt’s original vid…

SOURCE: at 03:26PM
Tuesday, October 19, 2021

New York City Center’s 2021 Fall for Dance Festival: Programs 1 and 2 by Joel Benjamin

The final work on Program 1 was its finest.  A.I.M. By Kyle Abraham presented its director’s “Our Indigo: If We Were a Love Song,” a deeply moving paean to the darker meanings of love…

SOURCE: at 12:23PM
Monday, October 11, 2021

1-2-3 Manhunt by Joel Benjamin

DiMurro writes with an acute sense of the rhythm of New York speech and its old-school jargon, helped by director William Roudebush’s complementary sense of timing, not to mention four exp…

SOURCE: at 12:54AM
Sunday, October 3, 2021

Denishawn: Dances by Ruth St. Denis & Ted Shawn by Joel Benjamin

The dances on this program are perfect examples of the Denishawn aesthetic which combined what was then exoticism with impeccable theatricality.  The Denishawn troupe was very much of its t…

SOURCE: at 12:43PM
Friday, October 1, 2021

Between the Bars by Joel Benjamin

Benjamin Viertel directs "Between the Bars" brilliantly finding the balance between theatricality and reality.  Each character emerges as distinct and multidimensional, even the guards who …

SOURCE: at 12:41AM
Monday, September 27, 2021

The Wayward Daughter of Judah the Prince by Joel Benjamin

It is to the credit of the entire cast—dressed in Anthony Paul-Cavaretta’s period tunics and flowing robes—that Lackey’s sometimes over-the-top dialogue lands credibly. Two other ele…

SOURCE: at 08:24PM
Saturday, September 25, 2021

Ragamala Dance Company: Fires of Varanasi: Dance of the Eternal Pilgrim by Joel Benjamin

As the opaquely complicated plot played out on the stage, the three lead dancers (Ranee, Aparna and Ashwini Ramaswamy) took turns displaying impeccable Bharatanatyam technique:  feet adorne…

SOURCE: at 07:54PM
Thursday, September 16, 2021

My Mother’s Severed Head by Joel Benjamin

Sadly, these promises aren’t kept in this mishmash of plots and characters that never quite meshes into a viable whole; it remains an unsteady comedy/fantasy never morphing into a smooth-r…

SOURCE: at 12:08PM

All that Chat

Sep 14, 2021: Chicago - Ambassador Theatre
Oct 17, 2021: Dana H. - Lyceum Theatre
Mar 28, 2022: Plaza Suite - Hudson Theatre
Apr 17, 2022: The Minutes - Studio 54
Apr 28, 2022: Macbeth - Lyceum Theatre