All stories by Joel Benjamin on BroadwayStars

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Primary Trust by Joel Benjamin

Eboni Booth’s "Primary Trust" at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Laura Pels Theatre is a genial, gentle tale of a genial, gentle young man and his difficulty negotiating the speed bumps…

SOURCE: at 11:49PM
Sunday, May 21, 2023

Misconceptions by Joel Benjamin

Abortion, pro or con?  The Blessed Unrest theater company has taken on this thorny issue. Steven Wangh’s "Misconceptions"—an ironically perfect title—unfolds in the form of a series o…

SOURCE: at 07:19PM
Sunday, May 14, 2023

shadow/land by Joel Benjamin

"shadow/land" by Erika Dickerson-Despenza is a play about the August 2005 disaster, Hurricane Katrina. It is the first episode of a ten-part magnum opus. "shadow/land," though, is more than …

SOURCE: at 12:18AM
Thursday, May 11, 2023

Robin & Me: My Little Spark of Madness by Joel Benjamin

Under the direction of Chad Austin, Droxler uncannily becomes not only Williams (and all of Williams cinematic characters who each serve up different helpful advice), but also his father Ed;…

SOURCE: at 11:26AM
Sunday, May 7, 2023

New York City Center Encores!: Oliver! by Joel Benjamin

When Mary-Mitchell Campbell’s baton brought out the first notes of the "Oliver!" overture from the Encores! Orchestra, the memorable tunes just flowed and didn’t stop until more than two…

SOURCE: at 01:17PM
Friday, May 5, 2023

Summer, 1976 by Joel Benjamin

Auburn (Pulitzer Prize winner for Proof) has a knack for writing complex female characters.  That knack hasn’t failed him in "Summer, 1976."  Diane, the lustrous Laura Linney, is an aloo…

SOURCE: at 11:47AM
Monday, May 1, 2023

Peter Pan Goes Wrong by Joel Benjamin

The Company soon loses its way as bunk beds self-destruct, lines get mangled, Peter Pan flails about in failed attempts to fly and crocodiles and mermaids parade about on skateboards. If thi…

SOURCE: at 06:48PM
Monday, April 24, 2023

Dance Theatre of Harlem 2023 by Joel Benjamin

A short documentary film about the fabulous actress, composer, pianist and wife of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Hazel Scott, preceded the new ballet, "Sounds of Hazel," choreographed by Tiffany…

SOURCE: at 12:37PM
Thursday, April 13, 2023

Regretfully, So the Birds by Joel Benjamin

Silliness and whimsy can often be admirable qualities in a play, but not when taken to the degree playwright Julia Izumi has in her new work, "Regretfully, So the Birds Are," a co-production…

SOURCE: at 02:37PM
Thursday, April 6, 2023

Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ by Joel Benjamin

Perhaps it’s the difficulty of finding dancers who can perform the intricate, body isolation moves so emblematic of Fosse’s very individual style, but to those who know and experienced h…

SOURCE: at 12:27AM
Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Best Friends by Joel Benjamin

The Israeli Artists Project, dedicated to bringing the art and artists of Israel to American audiences, has mounted a production of Anat Gov’s "Best Friends," a zippy portrait of three bes…

SOURCE: at 11:57AM
Sunday, March 19, 2023

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch: Água by Joel Benjamin

"Água," making its American debut, created in 2001 during a residency in Brazil, is a work of great beauty, humor and creativity —and dishearteningly, an overlong dance/theater work.  Ev…

SOURCE: at 02:21PM
Friday, March 17, 2023

Dear World (New York City Center Encores!) by Joel Benjamin

"Dear World," the not terribly successful 1969 Jerry Herman musical based on Jean Giraudoux’s "The Madwoman of Chaillot" (1945), was basically a vehicle for the brilliant Angela Lansbury.�…

SOURCE: at 03:56PM
Thursday, March 16, 2023

Elyria by Joel Benjamin

What makes "Elyria" intriguing is how its American location affects the hidebound ritual social rules of its Southeast Asian characters.  That all the characters emerged from an African dia…

SOURCE: at 02:17PM
Monday, March 6, 2023

The Best We Could (a family tragedy) by Joel Benjamin

Hands down Emily Feldman’s "The Best We Could (a family tragedy)," at the Manhattan Theatre Club, wins the most ironic title of the year.  Not one character does the best he or she could …

SOURCE: at 12:45PM
Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Eleanor’s Story: An American Girl in Hitler’s Germany by Joel Benjamin

Garner is a wonderful actor, shifting easily and subtly from one character to another, her voice, posture and gestures are just right. She avoids being maudlin and thereby makes her narrativ…

SOURCE: at 01:39PM
Sunday, February 19, 2023

Pictures from Home by Joel Benjamin

"Pictures from Home," a stark, but eventually moving vision of a family, is based on the photo memoir of the same name by Larry Sultan.  Sharr White, the playwright, has taken Sultan’s ex…

SOURCE: at 01:49PM
Monday, February 13, 2023

One Night Only: An Evening with Heather Headley and The New York Pops by Joel Benjamin

Pairing The New York Pops with Broadway star Heather Headley brought out the best in each.  The energy zipping between the orchestra’s music director Steven Reinecke and Headley was palpa…

SOURCE: at 01:13PM
Friday, February 10, 2023

The Village! A Disco Daydream by Joel Benjamin

Dixon Place, a mecca for LGBTQ culture in the quickly gentrifying Lower East Side, is offering a return of the campy play, "The Village! A Disco Daydream," written by Nora Burns, a dizzy, so…

SOURCE: at 04:26PM
Monday, February 6, 2023

On Set with Theda Bara by Joel Benjamin

David Greenspan, the shape-shifting thespian, has taken on yet another multi-character play, as if his one-man "Strange Interlude" and his more recent "Four Saints in Three Acts" whet his ap…

SOURCE: at 11:58AM
Thursday, February 2, 2023

Cullberg: “Horse, the Solos” by Joel Benjamin

Though only an hour long, Deborah Hay’s Horse, the Solos (2021), set on the dancers of Cullberg (founded in 1967 as the Cullberg Ballet by the late, eminent Swedish choreographer Birgit Cu…

SOURCE: at 04:56PM
Saturday, January 28, 2023

tanzmainz: “Soul Chain” by Joel Benjamin

Three solos were stunning in their display of physical endurance.  One woman moved forward, repeatedly kicking one leg behind her nearly touching her head with her foot.  Another, tall and…

SOURCE: at 12:29PM
Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Natalia Osipova: Force of Nature by Joel Benjamin

The ballerina Natalia Osipova easily transformed herself from spectral to sensuous to eerie in just the first half of her 'Force of Nature" program at the New York City Center. The show—pr…

SOURCE: at 04:11PM
Saturday, January 21, 2023

A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical by Joel Benjamin

When the older Diamond reaches an existential breaking point, he finally stands up, stage center and takes command of his memories, experiences and his life with an intensely concentrated re…

SOURCE: at 09:26PM
Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Hong Kong Ballet: “Romeo + Juliet” by Joel Benjamin

Webre went for acrobatics and precision rather than passion.  Perhaps, the Chinese Communist regime frowns upon openly sexual expression in dance.  Perhaps Webre can’t summon anything bu…

SOURCE: at 02:35PM
Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Darkness After Night: Ukraine by Joel Benjamin

"Darkness: unfolds in many very short scenes with some confusing transitions.  Dubashin, the traitor to Russia, finally gets to confront Number One in a knock-down personal battle.  The on…

SOURCE: at 01:18PM
Monday, December 19, 2022

Some Like It Hot by Joel Benjamin

Matthew López & Amber Ruffin (book) and Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman (music and lyrics) have transformed the written-for-laughs film into a joyous musical, keeping much of the sharp…

SOURCE: at 12:51PM
Wednesday, December 7, 2022

A Tomato Can’t Grow in the Bronx by Joel Benjamin

Under the permissive direction of Garfield-Szita—who also designed the costumes—the cast comes across more as members of a sitcom than a serious drama, not helped by Morgenstein’s depe…

SOURCE: at 02:46PM
Monday, November 28, 2022

Eleanor and Alice: Conversations Between Two Remarkable Roosevelts by Joel Benjamin

Ellen Abrams’ new play "Eleanor and Alice – Conversations Between Two Remarkable Roosevelts" explores their superficial courtesies in a series of conversations spanning 1904 until 1962, …

SOURCE: at 11:57AM
Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Kimberly Akimbo by Joel Benjamin

"Kimberly Akimbo," David Lindsay-Abaire’s oddball take on the title character’s dishearteningly sad disease, began life as a play back in 2001, reaching New York via the Manhattan Theatr…

SOURCE: at 01:35PM
Saturday, November 19, 2022

Where the Mountain Meets the Sea by Joel Benjamin

A touching portrait of a father and his alienated son unfolds in the Manhattan Theatre Club’s "Where the Mountain Meets the Sea" by Jeff Augustin, directed by Joshua Kahan Brody. ... "When…

SOURCE: at 09:20PM

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