All stories by Joel Benjamin on BroadwayStars

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Glass Menagerie by Joel Benjamin

It is Ginger Grace as Amanda that is the crowning glory of this production.  Though slender and frail looking, she is still a powerful, if bothersome figure, memories of a golden southern b…

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Thursday, October 3, 2019

BalletX: The Little Prince by Joel Benjamin

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s "The Little Prince" (1943) has been studied, analyzed, and staged as any number of plays, ballets, musicals and an unsuccessful film.  So, it was with great in…

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The Green Room by Joel Benjamin

These four characters are, unfortunately, not interesting enough to fill a 90-minute musical, especially one that covers territory better served by other shows like "A Chorus Line," "Fame" a…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Rubberband: “Ever So Slightly” by Joel Benjamin

Quite simply, Rubberband, the Montreal-based dance troupe’s season at The Joyce Theater was a spectacular success.  Directed by Victor Quijada, Rubberband performed his "Ever So Slightly,…

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

I Never Sang for My Father by Joel Benjamin

The trouble is Lee’s almost catatonic approach to Gene.  He speaks in a toneless monotone and adapts a monolithic physical approach, his hands constantly held stiffly at his sides.  When…

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Ringdove by Joel Benjamin

What raised "The Ringdove" above mere creative story-time theater was the exquisite artwork and detailed performances.  The perfect, colorful costumes (by Casey Compton) that evoked everyth…

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Friday, August 23, 2019

Guangzhou Ballet of China: “Carmina Burana” & “Goddess of the Luo River” by Joel Benjamin

Presented at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater by the China Arts and Entertainment Group Ltd., the company used its impressive resource of dancers in two large-scale ballets:  "Godde…

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Sunday, August 11, 2019

Under Siege (Yang Liping Contemporary Dance Company of China) by Joel Benjamin

Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival 2019 presented the lavish, yet somehow intimate, "Under Siege," a stunning production of the Yang Liping Contemporary Dance Company of China.Its chi…

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Saturday, August 10, 2019

Ballet Festival 2019: Program A by Joel Benjamin

The Joyce Theater is presenting a two-week Ballet Festival, four programs under the artistic direction of Kevin O’Hare, director of The Royal Ballet.  Each program is curated by a differe…

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Ballet Festival: Program A by Joel Benjamin

Joseph Sissens in Sir Frederick Ashton’s “Dance of the Blessed Spirits,” in The Joyce Theater’s Ballet Festival (Program A) (Photo credit: Maria Baranova)The Joyce Theater is present…

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Monday, August 5, 2019

Blak Whyte Gray (Boy Blue) by Joel Benjamin

Co-conceived by Asante and Kenrik “H2O” Sandy who choreographed and directed the production, "Blak Whyte Gray" was constructed in two parts and three sections.  Part I began with “Why…

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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Monica: This Play is Not About Monica Lewinsky by Joel Benjamin

The title of playwright Dianne Nora’s fascinating new work, "Monica: This Play is Not About Monica Lewinsky," is disingenuous.  Is it about you-know-who?  Well, yes and no.  There were …

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Friday, July 26, 2019

Freddie Falls in Love by Joel Benjamin

How Freddie resolves his amorous adventures is cleverly handled by Blackstone using an imaginative combination of ballet, modern dance, mime and popular dance forms.  The score is made up o…

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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Maria Kochetkova: Catch Her If You Can by Joel Benjamin

Russian-born Maria Kochetkova, the petite ballerina who spent the major portion of her career with the San Francisco Ballet, has turned herself into a small-scale Diaghilev.  Her Maria Koch…

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Six Years Old by Joel Benjamin

"Six Years Old" is a gem of a play, its facets polished by the director Helen Handelman.  Every emotional revelation, no matter how subtle is illuminated by the acting of its four-member ca…

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Friday, July 12, 2019

Mark Morris Dance Group 2019: “Sport” by Joel Benjamin

The world premiere “Sport,” choreographed to more than twenty bits and pieces by Erik Satie, appropriately named “Sports et divertissements” (played by the brilliant pianist Colin Fo…

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Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Bourneville Legacy by Joel Benjamin

The second part of the program was a bonanza of Bournonville excerpts, danced to not particularly memorable scores, that worked well even without colorful scenery.  The beautiful, colorful …

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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Masquerade by Joel Benjamin

Ukrainian director Rimas Tuminas has led the Vakhtangov State Academic Theatre of Russia in a massacre of Mikhail Lermontov’s 1845 play "Masquerade."  Presented by the Cherry Orchard Fest…

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Three Musketeers: 1941 by Joel Benjamin

Megan Monaghan Rivas’ gender-bending take on the popular, much-adapted Alexandre Dumas 1844 novel, "The Three Musketeers," moves the action from the 17th century to Paris during World War …

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Friday, June 14, 2019

The Pygmalion Effect by Joel Benjamin

By placing his ballet in the realm of the high-strung ballroom world, Eifman supplied himself plenty of excuses to make dances that bounced about the stage to his score of a parade of waltze…

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Monday, June 10, 2019

Midnight Street by Joel Benjamin

Cohen is clearly an intelligent, well-read man, familiar with the twists and turns of different periods and styles.  "Midnight Street" is chock full of ideas, poetic meanderings and some wo…

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Friday, May 31, 2019

Michael Mao Dance 2019 by Joel Benjamin

Michael Mao Dance is celebrating 26 years of presenting Mao’s work and if his recent program at the Ailey Citigroup Theater is any evidence, there is reason to believe he will continue for…

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Octet by Joel Benjamin

Malloy, who wrote the book, music and lyrics, has taken a novel approach, staging Octet as if it were a 12-step program in which all the members of the group express their inner thoughts thr…

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Monday, May 27, 2019

Broadway by the Year: The Broadway Musicals of 1965 & 1978 by Joel Benjamin

Several songs were from flop shows and given new life by Streisand:  “He Touched Me” from "Drat! The Cat!" sung with infectious flirtatiousness by Lianne Marie Dobbs; “Why Did I Choos…

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Curse of the Starving Class by Joel Benjamin

The original production of "Curse of the Starving Class" in 1977 was a shocker even for a time when permissiveness prevailed.  Kinney seems to have decided that the play Shepard wrote isn…

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Monday, May 20, 2019

High Button Shoes by Joel Benjamin

But, fear not!  The Encores! creative team—director John Rando, music director, Rob Berman and choreographer Sarah O’Gleby—found a terrific cast led by Michael Urie in the Phil Silver…

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Mark Morris Dance Group: Pepperland by Joel Benjamin

"Pepperland," however, will not do anything for Morris’ reputation as a choreographer.  His dearth of choreographic invention—including constant repetition of a few steps, gestures and …

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Monday, May 13, 2019

92Y Lyrics & Lyricists Series: “A Beautiful Dawning: ‘Oklahoma!’ at 75” by Joel Benjamin

Ted Chapin, the writer and host of the 92Y Lyrics & Lyricists Series’ "A Beautiful Dawning: Oklahoma! at 75," did an impeccable job creating one of the best editions of this important …

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Tootsie by Joel Benjamin

Michael Dorsey/Dorothy Michaels still has most of his/her friends and professional acquaintances from the movie version with some new twists:  Jeff Slater, his playwright roommate (a wonder…

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Friday, May 3, 2019

The Battles of Richmond Hill by Joel Benjamin

It is a well crafted story of a feisty seventy-something Sheila O’Connor (Nora Chester who does feisty beautifully) whose grandson, physician Brian O’Connor (an earnest Jordan Ahnquist),…

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Socrates by Joel Benjamin

For all you philosophy junkies out there—and you know who you are—Tim Blake Nelson’s world premiere "Socrates" at The Public Theater, the shining light of The Public’s Onassis Festiv…

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