All stories by Ben Brantley on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Review: Glenn Close Raises a Saint in ‘Mother of the Maid’ by Ben Brantley

In Jane Anderson’s satisfyingly old-fashioned play about Joan of Arc’s mom, Ms. Close shows the stuff of which great stage stars are made.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Review: Stockard Channing Is a Mother to Remember in ‘Apologia’ by Ben Brantley

Portraying a celebrated art historian with two resentful sons, Ms. Channing finds the anguished heart in a didactic comic drama.

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Review: Remembering the Way It Was (Not) in ‘The Things That Were There’ by Ben Brantley

David Greenspan’s tone poem of a play, at the Bushwick Starr, considers time, death, family and the ways in which we recall our dead.

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Review: A Put-Upon Nanny Erupts in Todd Solondz’s ‘Emma and Max’ by Ben Brantley

This strident satire from the filmmaker behind “Happiness” and “Wiener-Dog” is perfectly staged — and all too obvious.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Review: The Ages of A.R. Gurney in the Wistful ‘Final Follies’ by Ben Brantley

This bill of short comedies, early and late, allows fans of Gurney to chart the evolution of theater’s foremost chronicler of a waning caste.

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Sunday, October 7, 2018

Review: There’s a Dark, Golden Haze in This Reclaimed ‘Oklahoma!’ by Jesse Green and Ben Brantley

A stripped-down, communal version of the 1943 musical reveals a great complex work of theater, with chili and cornbread included.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Review: Wrestling With a Master in ‘On Beckett’ by Ben Brantley

Bill Irwin blurs the lines between clown and dramatic actor in an insightful anatomy of the works of Samuel Beckett.

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Review: A Captive Emily Dickinson in ‘Because I Could Not Stop’ by Ben Brantley

In this multimedia performance piece, Angelica Page delivers a portrait of a poet for whom being “nobody” was anything but a pleasure.

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Monday, October 1, 2018

Review: ‘Girl From the North Country’ Sets the Darkness Aglow by Ben Brantley

Conor McPherson’s bleak tale of a Minnesota boardinghouse in the Great Depression finds a luminous transcendence in the Dylan song book.

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Review: She’s Still Debating ‘What the Constitution Means to Me’ by Ben Brantley

In the baggy, emotionally fraught play, Heidi Schreck considers her ever-changing relationship with a seminal document.

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Review: Great Pretenders Pocket Laughs in ‘The Nap’ by Ben Brantley

Richard Bean’s comedy about a wayward attempt to fix a snooker match tickles its audiences into contentment.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Review: Clashing Lives in Tennessee Williams’s ‘Creve Coeur’ by Ben Brantley

This congested revival, directed by Austin Pendleton, features a mismatched cast of four and some classic Williams dialogue.

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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Review: A Slain Journalist’s Voice Resounds in ‘Intractable Woman’ by Ben Brantley

Stefano Massini’s poetically cadenced portrait of the life and death of the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya lets facts speak for themselves.

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Review: An Autumnal Patti Smith Remembers Summer in ‘Words and Music’ by Ben Brantley

In a piece she describes as “sort of a play,” the poet and singer journeys through her past, with a little help from her children.

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Review: A One-Man Funeral With Many Lives in ‘I Hear You and Rejoice’ by Ben Brantley

Mikel Murfi’s virtuoso performance about the life and death of a redoubtable woman is a many-tongued wonder of Irish storytelling.

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Review: Listening to ‘Uncle Vanya’ With Virgin Ears by Ben Brantley

Richard Nelson’s emotionally transparent interpretation of a Chekhov masterwork, starring a brilliant Jay O. Sanders, makes us hear a classic anew.

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Friday, September 14, 2018

Critic’s Notebook: A Chorus Remembers Michael Brown in ‘Antigone in Ferguson’ by Ben Brantley

This combination of a classical tragedy and a contemporary discussion group finds a mirror for Ferguson, Mo., in ancient Thebes.

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Friday, September 7, 2018

It May Be Home, but It’s No Sanctuary by Ben Brantley

In the most promising plays opening this fall, the family drama opens its living room to an invasion of political anxieties.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Can Critics Learn to Love the Jukebox Musical? by Jesse Green, Ben Brantley, Elisabeth Vincentelli and Scott Heller

They are often Broadway sensations, but jukebox musicals rarely get good reviews. We invited our critics to stop snarking and tell us what they want.

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Brantley in Britain: What’s in a List? Two Critics on Theater’s Special Relationship by Ben Brantley

Ben Brantley and his London counterpart Michael Billington find much that’s enthralling about the state of playwriting in their countries.

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Review: Chasing Shopworn Dreams in ‘Pretty Woman: The Musical’ by Ben Brantley

This wan resuscitation of the 1990 movie about a Cinderella prostitute is likely to make you nostalgic for Julia Roberts’s original performance.

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Review: A Housekeeper Claims Center Stage in ‘Member of the Wedding’ by Ben Brantley

Roslyn Ruff gives a wondrous performance in the Williamstown Theater Festival revival of the Carson McCullers play.

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Review: A High School Meltdown Heats Up ‘Be More Chill’ by Ben Brantley

This high-energy, high-anxiety musical, a hit on social media even before it opened, reflects the metabolism of its teenage audience.

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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Review: Hit Songs to Sin By in a Smashing ‘Moulin Rouge!’ by Ben Brantley

The movie that heralded the jukebox musical has been reinvented as a jukebox musical on its very own terms at the Emerson Colonial Theater in Boston.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Review: In a Blissful Musical ‘Twelfth Night’ in Central Park, Song Is Empathy by Ben Brantley

This radiant Public Works production of Shakespeare’s comedy of identity asks us “to see through the eyes of another.”

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Monday, July 30, 2018

Review: In a New Orleans ‘House,’ Wealthy Women Are Haunted by Slavery’s Ghosts by Ben Brantley

Marcus Gardley’s loquacious and freewheeling answer to a Lorca classic is set in a fascinating moment for race relations.

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Review: Ye Olde Go-Go’s Songs Hit the Renaissance in ‘Head Over Heels’ by Ben Brantley

This confused musical combines 1980s pop hits with a Renaissance romance, while considering the importance of being nonbinary.

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Review: In ‘Lempicka,’ Blond Ambition Is Set in a New Key by Ben Brantley

Carson Kreitzer and Matt Gould’s exciting new musical dares to dream big as it follows the making of the artist Tamara de Lempicka in Jazz-Age Paris.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Review: A Dirge for Wilting Salad Days in ‘This Ain’t No Disco’ by Ben Brantley

This tone-deaf rock-opera remembrance of the twilight of Studio 54 features characters named Steve Rubell and The Artist. (Psst! That’s Andy Warhol.)

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Brantley in Britain: Review: Song Trumps Senility in the Angry ‘Allelujah!’ by Ben Brantley

This comedy of dismay by Alan Bennett, author of “The History Boys,” portrays a geriatric ward (of singing, dancing patients!) in an uncaring Britain.

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Review: In ‘The Damned,’ Ivo van Hove Finds the Mortal Chill in a Nazi Fire by Ben Brantley

The Comédie-Française’s mesmerizing adaptation of Luchino Visconti’s film charts the fall of a family steel dynasty during Hitler’s rise to power.

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