All stories by Ben Brantley on BroadwayStars

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.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 10:18PM
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.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 01:48PM
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.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 10:18PM
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.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 01:48PM
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.”

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 10:04PM
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.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 10:18PM
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.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 10:06PM

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.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 08:36PM
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.)

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 10:18PM
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.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 05:18PM

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.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 02:18PM
Friday, July 13, 2018

Brantley in Britain: Review: ‘The Lehman Trilogy’ Is a Transfixing Epic of Riches and Ruin by Ben Brantley

In the National Theater’s adaptation of Stefano Massini’s play, three wondrous actors become multitudes.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 01:54PM
Monday, July 9, 2018

Brantley in Britain: Women Set London’s Stages Ablaze by Ben Brantley

Fiery performances by Lia Williams in “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” and Adrienne Warren in “Tina” newly illuminate familiar female characters.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 02:12PM
Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Critic’s Notebook: Orlando Bloom and Aidan Turner Are Drenched in Blood in London by Ben Brantley

Crowd-drawing revivals of “Killer Joe” and “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” find two movie matinee idols transformed into mindless sociopaths.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 05:24PM
Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Review: Carey Mulligan Tells a Harrowing Tale of ‘Girls & Boys’ by Ben Brantley

Dennis Kelly’s one-person drama examines the role of gender and violence through the eyes of a mother of young children.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 10:18PM

Review: Bad Girl Makes Good in a Glorious ‘Carmen Jones’ by Ben Brantley

John Doyle’s resurrection of a famously problematic show, starring Anika Noni Rose, finds the fatalism — and universality — in its music.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 10:18PM
Monday, June 25, 2018

Review: Stephen Rea Is One Really Mad Man in ‘Cyprus Avenue’ by Ben Brantley

David Ireland’s bruising drama presents a Northern Irish variation on a very topical archetype — the angry white male under siege

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 10:12PM
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Review: ‘Behind the City’ Immerses You in New York and Yourself by Ben Brantley

Third Rail Projects’ latest theater piece is an ingenious combination of walking tour and voyage into the past.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 12:48PM
Monday, June 18, 2018

Review: A Cool-Tempered ‘Othello’ for Warm Central Park Nights by Ben Brantley

Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s elegantly staged interpretation of this tale is good-looking and well-spoken, though lacking in fatal passion.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 10:04PM
Sunday, June 17, 2018

Review: Theater as Sabotage in the Dazzling ‘Fairview’ by Ben Brantley

Jackie Sibblies Drury’s ruthless comic drama about perceptions of race artfully plays the cat to an audience of white mice.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 07:42PM
Thursday, June 14, 2018

Review: Hip-Hopping With the Stars in ‘Half Time’ by Ben Brantley

This formulaic musical of uplift, about elderly dancers, provides the pleasure of reacquaintance with Donna McKechnie and Georgia Engel.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 01:04PM
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Review: George and Martha Redux in ‘Everyone’s Fine With Virginia Woolf’ by Ben Brantley

Edward Albee’s 1962 masterwork is made over with a whole new set of party games in Kate Scelsa’s punch-drunk satire for the Elevator Repair Service.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 11:18PM
Monday, June 11, 2018

The Best and Worst of the Tony Awards 2018 by Ben Brantley, Jesse Green, Scott Heller and Joshua Barone

A look at the most memorable moments from this year’s ceremony celebrating Broadway.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 12:48PM
Thursday, June 7, 2018

Review: A Species on the Brink in ‘Secret Life of Humans’ by Ben Brantley

David Byrne’s speculative play places two theories of human evolution in dialogue in a probing blend of fact and speculation.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 07:18PM
Monday, June 4, 2018

Review: Basketball Meets Tiananmen Square in ‘The Great Leap’ by Ben Brantley

Lauren Yee’s global-vision take on the classic underdog sports story features BD Wong as a Chinese basketball coach with a secret.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 10:18PM
Friday, June 1, 2018

the 25 best american plays: The Ones We Left Behind by Ben Brantley, Jesse Green, Laura Collins-Hughes, Alexis Soloski and Elisabeth Vincentelli

Majority rule (mostly). One play per playwright. How we put together the 25 Plays list, and a bid to remember notable writers and favorite works that missed the cut.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 12:48AM
Thursday, May 31, 2018

Review: Jim Parsons and Zachary Quinto Enter Sniping in ‘The Boys in the Band’ by Ben Brantley

Mart Crowley’s epochal 1968 comic drama at last makes its Broadway debut, in Joe Mantello’s entertaining but disconnected production.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 10:06PM
Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Review: Dirty Dancing to Henry James in ‘The Beast in the Jungle’ by Ben Brantley

This labored adaptation of a James short story, starring Tony Yazbeck, features a boldface creative team that includes John Kander and Susan Stroman

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 07:48PM
Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Review: ‘Tin Cat Shoes,’ a Commentary on the Silliness of the System by Ben Brantley

This initial, mind-frisking comedy from Clubbed Thumb’s Summerworks festival is a reminder of the particular pleasures of warm-weather goofiness.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 09:24PM
Sunday, May 20, 2018

Review: In the Relationships in ‘Singlet,’ One and One Make One by Ben Brantley

Erin Markey’s disciplined performance piece, a collaboration with Emily Davis, examines the dissolving boundaries of intense intimacy.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 11:48AM
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Review: In ‘Operation Crucible,’ Terror and Reassurance by Ben Brantley

Kieran Knowles’s gripping play about the Sheffield Blitz, part of the Brits Off Broadway festival, focuses on the interdependent lives of four steel workers.

Linked From The New York Times Subscription at 07:48PM