Content posted by Joel Benjamin

The Barrington Stage Company production of On the Town has made it to Broadway, brilliantly expanded to fill the large Lyric Theater, losing none of its summer theater charm. What is the magic ingredient that makes this revival of On the Town so wonderful? 


Tom Stoppard’s Indian Ink is a sweet, melancholic reverie on family, art, England and India, an elegy for lost cultures, friends and family. Set in both India and England in 1930 and 1980 the play shows the how time ravages countries, customs and memory. In a first rate production, directed with an eye for nuance and detail by Carey Perloff and starring the luminous Rosemary Harris and Romola Garai, the Roundabout does itself proud.


 If we can’t have Eliot Feld’s Ballet Tech back at the Joyce Theater, its former home, I guess we’ll have to settle for his Kids Dance, a program featuring forty or so ebullient students from Ballet Tech’s Public School for Dance.   Settling, it turns out, was actually hardly needed.  This was a thoroughly professional, vibrant show full of promise.


A two-character exploration of disappointments, addiction, reconciliation and the healing power of art.


Alone in Triptych, by Renee Philippi, presented by the Concrete Temple Theatre at HERE is an odd attraction for this temple of the avant-garde. Alone is a straightforward, beautifully acted trilogy of intertwining solos. The title is a bit misleading since each of the three characters is at all times addressing an unseen person, the object of their obsessive attention.


Clear as a bell I remember being taken to the Rivoli, a first-run movie palace on Broadway, to see the film Oklahoma! starring Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones. Her freshness and lovely soprano was transporting. Seeing her so many years later onstage at the intimate, elegant Café Carlyle conjures the same thrill, her warmth and elegance filling the room. She began her show with a short video of her career, from musical theater ingénue to Academy Award winning prostitute to beloved sitcom mom.


Forget about life being like a box of chocolates! It’s the indefatigable Scott Siegel’s Broadway by the Year franchise that is full of tasty bonbons: classic Broadway numbers performed by extraordinary singers and dancers. Rather than focusing on just one year as usual, Siegel is presenting four programs covering 100 years of musical theater history, a marathon of songs given amazing interpretations by leading ladies and men. The first program took us from 1915 to 1939, heady years in the history of musical theater.


Although Bronx Bombers, about a particularly stressful period in the team’s history, isn’t an impeccably constructed comedy/drama, the show unapologetically hits the sentimental underpinnings that preoccupy macho sports guys and yet still shows that unalloyed machismo that is their public face.


The cliché of stiff-upper-lip Britons who rarely show emotion is beautifully discredited in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s new production of Terence Rattigan’s The Winslow Boy in association with The Old Vic, directed by Lindsay Posner. Rattigan, a pillar of British theatre in the mid-twentieth century, managed to find the heartbeat under the calm continence of his characters. Rattigan’s case is helped by the stellar cast of this revival who give life to the Winslow family’s problems and feelings, sustained by Peter McKintosh’s sumptuously upper middle class set and costumes that tell as much about the characters as the writing and the acting.


Jon Fosse’s "A Summer Day" is an enigmatic play, weighty, with repetitive dialogue and portentous glances. It is like a live Bergman film, a grim Scandinavian drama with mysterious overtones written to be purposely vague. Fortunately, Mr. Fosse, a Norwegian, has been translated and directed by Sarah Cameron Sunde and acted by six talented actors, led by Karen Allen making a remarkable return to the New York stage.