All stories by Joel Benjamin on BroadwayStars

Monday, November 27, 2023

Amid Falling Walls (Tsvishn Falndike Vent) by Joel Benjamin

Director Matthew “Motl” Didner manages to make what might have been just a well-staged concert of moving songs into a dramatic whole with a deep feeling for the ebb and flow of emotions …

SOURCE: at 06:24PM
Sunday, November 19, 2023

Scene Partners by Joel Benjamin

It takes an artist of the stature and extraordinary talent of Wiest to keep Caswell’s fragmented play from flying off in all directions as it veers from reality to fantasy and from flashba…

SOURCE: at 11:33AM
Friday, November 17, 2023

Harmony by Joel Benjamin

The musical "Harmony," the lovechild of pop music greats Barry Manilow (music) and Bruce Sussman (lyrics and book), has opened at a time when anti-Semitism has peaked once again and lessons …

SOURCE: at 05:08PM
Thursday, November 2, 2023

Boris Charmatz: Somnole by Joel Benjamin

Far less mystical that he would have us believe, "Somnole" nevertheless is Charmatz’s honest exploration of his stated theme, although self-indulgence reared its ugly head too often.  The…

SOURCE: at 01:41PM
Tuesday, October 31, 2023

King of the Jews by Joel Benjamin

How does a Holocaust-themed play land with such emotional impact as Leslie Epstein’s "King of the Jews" at the HERE Theatre?  Based on his novel of the same name, "King of the Jews" is a …

SOURCE: at 09:01PM
Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Room with a View by Joel Benjamin

The dancers performed their dystopian tasks with great dedication and the occasional display of actual technique.  They were all good-looking and clearly into what they believed was an icon…

SOURCE: at 09:44PM
Tuesday, October 24, 2023

HopeBoykinDance: States of Hope by Joel Benjamin

The spine of the work wasn’t the choreography or dancing, but the lines spoken by the dancers as they walked about the stage; however, since the lighting by Crawford was shadowy and the da…

SOURCE: at 07:03PM
Sunday, October 22, 2023

Scrambled Eggs by Joel Benjamin

Sometimes good intentions do not have the best results—at least in theater. Such is the case with "Scrambled Eggs" at the Gene Frankel Theatre.  Presented to bring immediacy to the issue …

SOURCE: at 03:35PM
Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Melissa Etheridge: My Window by Joel Benjamin

Melissa Etheridge is a bona-fide superstar.  So, why is this artist, used to appearing in huge venues, “slumming” in a Broadway theater with a capacity of less than 800? Let’s not loo…

SOURCE: at 10:30AM
Saturday, October 14, 2023

The Great Divide by Joel Benjamin

Does it matter how autobiographical Amy Crossman’s "The Great Divide" at the HERE Arts Center is?  A production of the Boomerang Theatre Company, "Divide" is Crossman’s one-person play …

SOURCE: at 10:40PM
Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Fall for Dance 2023: Program 5 by Joel Benjamin

The immediate impression of "Gira" was of the semi-circle of lights designed by Gabriel Pederneiras and Paulo Pederneiras (the Grupo Corpo artistic director) and their somber illumination of…

SOURCE: at 10:40AM
Friday, October 6, 2023

Fall for Dance: Program 3 by Joel Benjamin

The Houston Ballet, Julie Kent and Stanton Welch, directors, opened the program with Welch’s genteel "Clear" to music by J.S. Bach.  Originally staged on American Ballet Theatre, the Hous…

SOURCE: at 07:24PM
Monday, October 2, 2023

Fall for Dance Festival 2023: Program 1 by Joel Benjamin

Ballet BC, the Canadian-based modern ballet company, began the program with 'The Statement," Crystal Pite’s witty take on a boardroom meeting, a corporate boardroom meeting full of intrigu…

SOURCE: at 03:13PM
Thursday, September 28, 2023

Bettinger’s Luggage by Joel Benjamin

An alternate title for Albert M. Tapper’s Clifford Odets-esque "Bettinger’s Luggage" might be "The Flood." In Tapper’s period piece, a flood destroyed the eponymous shop, an event arou…

SOURCE: at 12:38AM
Saturday, September 23, 2023

Zoetrope by Joel Benjamin

Clearly, "Zoetrope" often becomes difficult to follow for non-Spanish speakers.  The dearth of realistic sets makes knowing which location is which confusing, despite the occasional descrip…

SOURCE: at 02:26PM
Monday, September 18, 2023

Tripping on Life by Joel Benjamin

Shaye tells of a pot and drug-addicted couple who are totally disgusting parents to a two year old.  That’s just not acceptable even though it is told as a funny hippy-dippy anecdote. Eve…

SOURCE: at 11:51PM
Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Anne Being Frank by Joel Benjamin

Elisha has written a refreshing new take on Anne Frank’s life.  Called "Anne Being Frank" (a title that should, perhaps, be reconsidered), the one-person, multi-character show posits a su…

SOURCE: at 04:35PM
Friday, September 8, 2023

Relapse: A New Musical by Joel Benjamin

In "Relapse" ’s most original conceit, a quartet called The Intrusive (Vinny Celerio, Audree Hedequist, Nicole Lamb and Zummy Mohammed) becomes a Greek Chorus, insinuating themselves into …

SOURCE: at 01:17PM
Monday, September 4, 2023

2023 Fini Dance Festival and Italian International Dance Awards by Joel Benjamin

Antonio Fini in Ted Shawn’s “The Cosmic Dance of Siva,” performed as part of 2023 Fini Dance Festival at the Ailey Citicorp Theater (Photo credit: Wendy Wild) Joel Benjamin, Critic The…

SOURCE: at 02:27PM
Wednesday, August 23, 2023

A Séance with Mom by Joel Benjamin

Redman’s "A Séance with Mom" at the Chain Studio Theatre veers dizzyingly from one character to another, characters that include middle-aged Nadine who searches for her Mom; her mom, Guss…

SOURCE: at 03:36PM
Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Here Lies Love by Joel Benjamin

"Here Lies Love" unreels like an MTV music video with the emotional content lost in the technique.  The real issue of this musical is that it’s impossible to feel anything for the lead ch…

SOURCE: at 11:57PM
Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Seoul Metropolitan Dance Theatre: One Dance by Joel Benjamin

Korean Arts Week celebrated the theatrical and fine arts of South Korea, a culture under-represented in New York City compared to, say, those of Japan, China and India. At the David H. Koch …

SOURCE: at 01:08AM
Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Ballet Hispánico: Buscando a Juan by Joel Benjamin

There is an elegiac formality to Buscando.  However, other than Juan de Pareja’s name in the title there is little in the choreography that evokes either period or personality.  The chor…

SOURCE: at 05:33PM
Sunday, July 16, 2023

Chanteuse by Joel Benjamin

The Nazis persecuted not only Jews, political opponents and its own, but also homosexuals.  Jews were forced to wear the infamous yellow stars; gays, the pink triangle. Alan Palmer, in his …

SOURCE: at 07:51PM
Thursday, July 6, 2023

Good Vibrations: A Punk Rock Musical by Joel Benjamin

Terri Hooley (a game, genial Glen Wallace) is both the main character and the narrator of "Good Vibrations: A Punk Rock Musical" at the sparkling Irish Arts Center.  How he morphed from Ter…

SOURCE: at 01:58PM
Thursday, June 29, 2023

Rock & Roll Man by Joel Benjamin

"Rock & Roll Man," the new jukebox/biographical musical at the New World Stages has a great deal going for it. The story of legendary Rock & Roll impresario Alan Freed is told in a s…

SOURCE: at 04:26PM
Friday, June 23, 2023

The Light in the Piazza by Joel Benjamin

New York City Center Encores!’s new production of the musical, directed by Chay Yew, stars another Tony Award winner, the sensational Ruthie Ann Miles, as the determined Margaret Johnson w…

SOURCE: at 01:48PM
Monday, June 19, 2023

Wake Up by Joel Benjamin

Spencer Aste in a scene from his one-man show “Wake Up” at the Axis Theatre (Photo credit: Regina Betancourt) Joel Benjamin, Critic Is Spencer Aste a hardworking actor who sold and used…

SOURCE: at 12:42PM
Sunday, June 11, 2023

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Spring 2023 Season by Joel Benjamin

"Dancing Spirit" was a gentle ballet choreographed by Ronald K. Brown to a suite of music by Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis, Radiohead and War. First one dancer, then two and then the entir…

SOURCE: at 06:52PM
Thursday, June 8, 2023

Ballet Hispánico: Spring 2023 Season by Joel Benjamin

The major work of the evening was “Sor Juana,” choreographed by Michelle Manzanales (“in collaboration with the Company”) and performed to a selection of period music including a com…

SOURCE: at 10:18PM
Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Grey House by Joel Benjamin

Eerie and irritating in equal measure, Levi Holloway’s "Grey House" at the Lyceum Theatre dredges up the classic plot device of many horror films:  strangers stumbling into a den of oddba…

SOURCE: at 08:58AM

All that Chat

May 30, 2023: Grey House - Lyceum Theatre
Jun 26, 2023: Just For Us - Hudson Theatre
Jul 24, 2023: The Cottage - Hayes Theater
Nov 16, 2023: Spamalot - St. James Theatre
Dec 18, 2023: Appropriate - Hayes Theater
Apr 14, 2024: Lempicka - Longacre Theatre
Apr 17, 2024: The Wiz - Marquis Theatre
Apr 18, 2024: Suffs - Music Box Theatre
Apr 25, 2024: Mother Play - Hayes Theater