All stories by Ben Brantley on BroadwayStars

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

‘Clueless: The Musical’ Review: The Film’s Charm Is Replaced by Sparkle by Ben Brantley

Amy Heckerling’s amiable but limp adaptation of her classic 1995 film suggests a peppy fan club putting on its own makeshift show.

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Monday, December 10, 2018

Review: In ‘The Prisoner,’ Peter Brook Ponders Crime and Punishment by Ben Brantley

This gnomic tale from the fabled director portrays a man expiating a patricide outside a prison’s walls.

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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Critic’s Pick: ‘The Jungle’ Review: Migrants’ Heartbreaking Search for Home in Calais by Ben Brantley

This extraordinary, London-born work of immersive theater places its audience at the fraught and energetic center of a migrant camp in France.

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Critic’s Pick: Review: An Electrifying Bryan Cranston Is All the Rage in ‘Network’ by Ben Brantley

Ivo van Hove’s stage adaptation of the 1976 film presents a pricelessly demented affair between a has-been anchorman and the cameras that love him.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Best Theater of 2018 by Ben Brantley and Jesse Green

It was a year when classics were reincarnated in deceptively modest interpretations, conventional story forms were tossed aside and strong voices roared.

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Sunday, December 2, 2018

Critic’s Pick: Review: Reliving a Childhood Interrupted in ‘The Tricky Part’ by Ben Brantley

Martin Moran’s radiant memoir of a play recalls an experience of sexual abuse with a sense of luminous mystery.

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Monday, November 19, 2018

Review: Tom Stoppard’s ‘The Hard Problem’ Is a Mind-Body Gabfest by Ben Brantley

In this garrulous play of ideas, the author of “The Real Thing” and “The Coast of Utopia” takes on the essence — and ethics — of being human.

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Critic’s Pick: Review: Rage and Ritual in ‘What to Send Up When It Goes Down’ by Ben Brantley

Aleshea Harris’s remarkable new play brims with an expressly theatrical eloquence and anger.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Review: Reaching Across Korean Borders in ‘Wild Goose Dreams’ by Ben Brantley

Hansol Jung’s industriously imaginative play uses visions of winged flight to explore the loneliness of two ambivalent lovers in Seoul.

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Review: Raúl Esparza Becomes a Very Familiar Fascist in ‘Arturo Ui’ by Ben Brantley

John Doyle’s inventive revival of Brecht’s 1941 satire about Adolf Hitler is more impressive for theatrical ingenuity than topicality.

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Critic’s Pick: Review: Mike Birbiglia Is a Very Nervous Dad in ‘The New One’ by Ben Brantley

This one-man show, about the anxieties of impending fatherhood, makes a seductive case for seeing a comedian live in the age of Netflix.

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Review: Michael C. Hall Probes the Despair of ‘Thom Pain’ by Ben Brantley

In Oliver Butler’s revival, Will Eno’s reputation-making monologue of masochistic bleakness suddenly feels a lot less shocking.

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Jay O. Sanders on How an ‘Oak Tree’ Became Uncle Vanya by Ben Brantley

Mr. Sanders, a veteran of four decades of stage and screen work, is giving the performance of his career in his first appearance in Chekhov.

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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Review: ‘King Kong’ Is the Mess That Roared by Jesse Green and Ben Brantley

The one-ton, 20-foot marionette is impressive, but the $35 million musical he stars in doesn’t even succeed as camp.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Review: In ‘Eve’s Song,’ the Ghosts Are Not the Scariest Part by Ben Brantley

Patricia Ione Lloyd’s macabre domestic comedy suggests that for African-Americans, every day is a potential horror movie in the making.

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Sunday, November 4, 2018

Review: A ‘Waiting for Godot’ as Comically Futile as a Looney Tune by Ben Brantley

Garry Hines’s very funny interpretation of Samuel Beckett’s best-known work finds the kinetic cartoon humor in existential futility.

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Thursday, November 1, 2018

Critic’s Pick: Review: Lessons in Love From a Drama Queen in ‘Torch Song’ by Ben Brantley

In this brisk and entertaining revival of Harvey Fierstein’s Tony-winning play, Michael Urie and Mercedes Ruehl are mesmerizingly larger than life.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Critic’s Pick: Review: Remembering What Was and Wasn’t in ‘Good Grief’ by Ben Brantley

Ngozi Anyanwu’s tender new play, directed by Awoye Timpo at the Vineyard Theater, considers the nature of memory in the aftermath of a tragedy.

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Critic’s Pick: Review: Elaine May Might Break Your Heart in ‘Waverly Gallery’ by Ben Brantley

This impeccably acted revival presents Kenneth Lonergan’s poignant comic drama about dementia as a memory play in more ways than one.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Review: A Voyage of Teachable Moments in ‘India Pale Ale’ by Ben Brantley

Jaclyn Backhaus’s cheerfully instructive play follows a young Punjabi-American woman, a descendant of a notorious pirate, who opens a bar in Wisconsin.

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Sunday, October 21, 2018

Critic’s Pick: Review: A Thrilling ‘Ferryman’ Serves Up a Glorious Harvest Feast by Ben Brantley

Jez Butterworth’s great, sprawling drama of rural Northern Ireland during the Troubles bares a culture’s contradictions through riveting storytelling.

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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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