All stories by Ben Brantley on BroadwayStars

Friday, January 17, 2020

At Under the Radar, Avant-Garde Shows Leap Outside Reality by Ben Brantley, Jesse Green and Laura Collins-Hughes

The Public Theater’s festival has included 12 featured offerings, four cabaret acts and six pieces of developmental work. Here’s what our critics saw.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

‘Lucy Barton’ Review: Laura Linney Finds Her Perfect Match by Ben Brantley

Ideally cast as a plain-spoken woman made of quiet steel, she acts the way Elizabeth Strout writes in this compelling adaptation of the 2016 novel.

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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Drawing on the Past, Living in the Present, Dreaming of the Future by Jesse Green and Ben Brantley

A jazz memoirist, a Palestinian rocketeer and Mexican myths set to music kick off the Public Theater’s annual festival of adventurous work from across the globe.

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Friday, January 10, 2020

‘Queens Row’ Review: Richard Maxwell on Life After Doomsday by Ben Brantley

In this stark, eloquent new play, three women reflect on what remains in the aftermath of an American civil war.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Review: James McAvoy’s Rapping Cyrano Dazzles With Words by Ben Brantley

In Martin Crimp’s time-bending version of the Rostand “Cyrano de Bergerac,” directed by Jamie Lloyd, people make love and war through glorious language.

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Monday, January 6, 2020

Reimagining Old Friends at the National Theater in London by Ben Brantley

New takes on beloved works by Elena Ferrante, Anton Chekhov and Neil Gaiman testify to the pleasures and perils of adaptation.

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Thursday, January 2, 2020

Review: Arthur Miller’s Dying ‘Salesman’ Is Reborn in London by Ben Brantley

An electrifying revival, starring a heartbreaking Wendell Pierce, reimagines Willy Loman as a black man in a white man’s world.

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Friday, December 27, 2019

How a Jerry Herman Song Called a Future Critic to New York by Ben Brantley

A brassy celebration of optimism and urbanity, “Put on Your Sunday Clothes” from “Hello, Dolly!” can still stir the emotions.

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Monday, December 16, 2019

‘Sing Street’ Review: New Wave Music as Sweet Deliverance by Ben Brantley

This tuneful adaptation of John Carney’s movie, about the saving grace of pop music in 1980s Dublin, hasn’t quite found its ideal voice.

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Monday, December 9, 2019

‘Halfway Bitches’ Review: A Play as Unruly as Life Itself by Ben Brantley

Stephen Adly Guirgis’s bumpy, vibrant and expansive comic drama about a women’s homeless shelter features a cast of 18 (or 19, counting the goat).

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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Review: ‘Barber Shop Chronicles’ Offers an Exhilarating Sanctuary by Ben Brantley

Inua Ellams’s energizing, globe-traveling play considers the barber’s chair as the black man’s confessional.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Best Theater of 2019 by Ben Brantley, Jesse Green, Laura Collins-Hughes, Alexis Soloski and Elisabeth Vincentelli

Shows that defied categorization offered a stark choice: Escape an angry world, or face up to its travails. Beyond Broadway, writers explored race, inequality and addiction.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

‘A Bright Room Called Day’ Review: The Playwright Enters the Play by Ben Brantley

In retooling his first produced work, Tony Kushner himself appears as a character in this lumbering portrait of endangered artists in Nazi Berlin.

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Monday, November 25, 2019

Review: A Heartbreaker Returns in ‘The Young Man From Atlanta’ by Ben Brantley

The Signature Theater’s compassionate revival of Horton Foote’s 1995 Pulitzer Prize-winning play takes a slow route to devastation.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

‘A Christmas Carol’ Review: God Rest Ye Merry, Plutocrats by Ben Brantley

This lively reimagining of Dickens’s yuletide perennial, written by Jack Thorne, returns the story’s social conscience to center stage.

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Sunday, November 17, 2019

‘The Inheritance’ Review: So Many Men, So Much Time by Ben Brantley

Breadth doesn’t always equal depth in Matthew Lopez’s supersize, vividly painted portrait of gay life in the 21st century, featuring E.M. Forster as a spirit guide.

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Monday, November 11, 2019

Review: Reflections That Sear in a Reborn ‘Fires in the Mirror’ by Ben Brantley

The Signature Theater revival of Anna Deavere Smith’s drama about the Crown Heights race riots confirms this play’s status as an enduring work of art.

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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Review: All the World’s a Grave in the Druid ‘Richard III’ by Ben Brantley

Garry Hynes’s visually hypnotic interpretation of the tale of the crookback who would be king sees medieval England as a cold slaughterhouse.

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When Home Is a Big Broadway Stage by Ben Brantley

Kristin Chenoweth and Ian McKellen demonstrate the increasingly popular art of turning theater palaces into cozy parlors for confabs with fans.

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Thursday, November 7, 2019

Review: Peter Dinklage Tackles ‘Cyrano’ Without the Nose by Ben Brantley

The Emmy-winning “Game of Thrones” star shows off his abundant charisma in a lachrymose musical adaptation of Rostand’s classic.

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Monday, October 28, 2019

‘The Michaels’ Review: Dance as Life in Upstate New York by Ben Brantley

In this delicately wrought portrait of a dying choreographer and her family, Richard Nelson’s play considers the redemptive powers of art in fractious times.

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Sunday, October 27, 2019

Review: In Zawe Ashton’s ‘for all the women,’ the Price of Uprooting a Life by Ben Brantley

This convoluted play chronicles the breakdown of a conflicted, displaced East African woman in the cosmopolitan West.

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Thursday, October 24, 2019

‘Is This a Room’ Review: Why’d She Blow the Whistle? by Ben Brantley

Tina Satter’s remarkable docudrama recreates the bizarrely banal interrogation that led to the arrest of the intelligence contractor Reality Winner.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

‘For Colored Girls’ Review: Ntozake Shange’s Women Endure by Ben Brantley

The director Leah C. Gardiner delivers a warm and inspiriting revival of the landmark poetic drama, with a gloriously interdependent cast.

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Monday, October 21, 2019

Review: ‘Forbidden Broadway’ Sticks It to the Great Woke Way by Ben Brantley and Jesse Green

Gerard Alessandrini’s franchise was looking as long in the tooth as the shows it aimed to skewer. A new edition brings it back to hilarious life.

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Sunday, October 20, 2019

Review: ‘American Utopia’ Is David Byrne’s Neighborhood by Ben Brantley

This jubilant production, choreographed by Annie-B Parson, transforms an icon of alienation into a cosmically cozy senior statesman.

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

‘Little Shop of Horrors’ Review: Jonathan Groff Feeds the Beast by Ben Brantley

Michael Mayer’s revitalizing revival of this genially gruesome classic becomes a sly morality tale for the age of universal celebrity.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Review: Marisa Tomei Braves a Typhoon in ‘The Rose Tattoo’ by Ben Brantley

Trip Cullman’s unmoored production of this atypical comedy from Tennessee Williams presents sexual attraction as a raging force of nature.

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Review: Partying to End the Patriarchy in a Dionysian ‘Girls’ by Ben Brantley

This head-tripping play from Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, inspired by Euripides’ “The Bacchae,” allows women past and present to find catharsis in one truly wild bash.

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

‘Linda Vista’ Review: A Womanizer Who Devastates as He Charms by Ben Brantley

Tracy Letts, the author of “August: Osage County,” reinvents the midlife crisis play with a hilarity that scalds in this Steppenwolf production.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Review: ‘The Wrong Man’ Sets a Universal Nightmare to Music by Ben Brantley

Ross Golan’s dark chamber musical, based on a concept album, stars the excellent Joshua Henry as an innocent man on the lam.

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All that Chat

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