All stories by Joel Benjamin on BroadwayStars

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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Sunday, April 28, 2019

Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain by Joel Benjamin

Likability is in short supply nowadays and the three playwright/performers who created this comedy, based on an actual pamphlet handed to Americans during World War II, have spun the dry, in…

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

17 Border Crossings by Joel Benjamin

"17 Border Crossings" is one of the most technically adroit Off-Broadway shows to be seen thanks to the split second cooperation between Phillips’ spare scenery design, David Todaro’s br…

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Martin Vidnovic: Broadway & Beyond by Joel Benjamin

With the medley of “My Romance” and “My Funny Valentine,” he warmed up and came to a gentle boil with the two songs from "Baby": “At Night She Comes Home to Me” and “With You,…

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Twelfth Night (Duende Productions) by Joel Benjamin

By stripping down the show and performing it in a white box theater space with minimal scenery and costumes, the eight actors, doubling up on parts, have fun interpreting Shakespeare’s lus…

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Charlie’s Waiting by Joel Benjamin

Ludovica Villar-Hauser, the play’s keen eyed and eared director (and artistic director of Parity Productions the company responsible for this presentation), paces the fine actors for the u…

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Lori Belilove and The Isadora Duncan Dance Company: “March Madness” by Joel Benjamin

Belilove, who has taught Sara Mearns of the New York City Ballet to perform some of these works, divided the concert into dances to Schubert, Chopin, Brahms and Scriabin, all original Duncan…

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Tilt by Joel Benjamin

The Experimental Theater Space at the Abrons, a not particularly large black box, was turned into a complex construction site by the "Tilt" creative staff, a truly unique interactive set. …

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Sunday, March 31, 2019

Smart Blonde by Joel Benjamin

Using the premise of a 1964 recording session that stimulates her many memories, good and bad, the play serves as a moving tribute to Holliday even though it doesn’t shy away from the dark…

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Thursday, March 28, 2019

I Married an Angel by Joel Benjamin

A lot has been made of the parallels between the original 1938 production of "I Married an Angel" for which George Balanchine choreographed the dances for his soon-to-be wife, the glamorous …

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Princess Zhaojun by Joel Benjamin

Produced in New York City by the China Arts and Entertainment Group Ltd., "Princess Zhaojun" was performed by the members of the China National Opera & Dance Drama Theater.  It was dire…

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Friday, March 22, 2019

Vilna by Joel Benjamin

"Vilna," written by Ira Fuchs, is one of the more successful stage dramas to deal with the Holocaust, a notoriously difficult subject to portray on stage.  That this play succeeds as well a…

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Ballet Contemporáneo de Camagűey by Joel Benjamin

The Camagűey troupe danced Ruiz’s work as if born to his vigorously eclectic style.  His choreography is an amalgam of ballet, modern dance, break-dancing, folk dancing and Latin ballroo…

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

A Jewish Joke by Joel Benjamin

"A Jewish Joke" brings immediacy to not only the personal and professional effects of the Hollywood blacklist, but to the current onslaught of internet finger-pointing and fear-mongering tha…

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Boesman and Lena by Joel Benjamin

The production of "Boesman and Lena" at The Pershing Square Signature Center directed with attention to every detail by Yaël Farber is stark and unforgiving in a way that would have been sh…

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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Rameau, Maître à Danser (Les Arts Florissants) by Joel Benjamin

Unlike the company’s 2016 luxuriously staged "Les Fêtes Vénitiennes," also at the Gilman, "Rameau" was purposely staged by Sophie Daneman as if in a village square, simply but effectivel…

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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Complexions Contemporary Ballet: Program A by Joel Benjamin

In “Star Dust,” a 2016 ballet tribute to David Bowie, Rhoden displayed his mordantly campy side in a series of scenes, each devoted to a famous Bowie number, beginning with Brandon Gray …

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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Rocha Dance Theater: “Half-Heard” by Joel Benjamin

This wasn’t just a political statement about gender stereotypes, but a sensitive work of art that made its points through fine choreography, costuming, lighting (smartly designed by Jennif…

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Monday, February 11, 2019

Betty and The Belrays by Joel Benjamin

The creator of "Betty & The Belrays," now at the Theater for the New City, pretty much dares you to compare his well-meaning, but cartoony, new musical to Hairspray, a comparison in whi…

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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Balletboyz: “Young Men” by Joel Benjamin

The two directors/founders of BalletBoyz, Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, directed and photographed the film which also included Pérez’s choreography.  Although the movie certainly ill…

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Monday, February 4, 2019

Anne of Green Gables: Part I by Joel Benjamin

Directed with touching simplicity by Henry and choreographed with a lyrical flow by Lorna Ventura, this Anne tells the well-known story utilizing a combination of voiceover readings, project…

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Saturday, February 2, 2019

Gatz by Joel Benjamin

Director John Collins made the more than seven hour running time a breeze with his attention to detail, moving his cast of office workers/Gatsby characters with such naturalness that, as eac…

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Friday, February 1, 2019

92Y’s Lyrics & Lyricists Series: “We’ll Have Manhattan: Rodgers & Hart in New York” by Joel Benjamin

"We’ll Have Manhattan: Rodgers & Hart in New York," created and narrated by the soon-to-become Broadway’s Tootsie (in the new Broadway musical), Santino Fontana found most of its em…

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

L-E-V:  Love Chapter II by Joel Benjamin

Casual strolling was suddenly punctuated by dancers bumping and grinding at each other, these full-bodied movements resonating in slightly different ways in each dancer, sometimes leading to…

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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Between the Threads by Joel Benjamin

Conceived and directed by Coral Cohen, along with musician/composer Zoë Aqua and the cast, Threads illuminates the experiences of a large swath of the Jewish population, beginning with a wa…

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Monday, January 21, 2019

Nederlands Dans Theater 2 by Joel Benjamin

All four works—particularly the first three—had a certain offhanded similarity, a lack of formal movement ideas and construction, but all four choreographers are clearly students of the …

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