All posts by Gretchen Van Benthuysen

When I was 11, I knew I wanted to be a journalist and I grew up to become the Entertainment Editor of the Asbury Park Press when I was 25. Fifteen years later I finally was able to write about theater in NJ and in NYC full-time for another 10 years, plus contribute articles and reviews to Variety, Back Stage and The Drama League. Now I run this website TheaterCues.com for fun. Before I left The Press I was the Web Producer for the Friday and Sunday Entertainment sections of The Press, Home News Tribune, Daily Record and Courier News. I learned a lot about Search Engine Optimization, key words and phrases and other ways to attract Google’s attention. If you have a business — or show business — these days you need a website that shows up on the first page of Google that your customers — or audience — check often to see what’s new on your blog, in your photo galleries, on your video accounts, etc. You want them to be a part of your community, your family, so when it’s time for your service — or opening night — they are there to support you.

‘Be More Chill’ event just one way to introduce students to theater

The oriiginal Broadway cast of "Be More Chill." (PHOTO: Maria Baranova)
The oriiginal Broadway cast of “Be More Chill.” (PHOTO: Maria Baranova)

More than 2,000 NY City public school students will be the envy of students around the world (and maybe some adults, too) when they attend a behind-the-scenes look at the new Broadway musical “Be More Chill” on May 30.

Creating the Magic, a NYC arts education nonprofit, partners with Broadway productions offering students

from across the city an opportunity to experience a show’s inner workings. Continue reading ‘Be More Chill’ event just one way to introduce students to theater

Last chance to catch delightful staging of ‘The Belle of Amherst’

“The Belle of Amherst” featuring Maureen Silliman as Emily Dickenson. (PHOTO:  T Charles Erickson)

The Two River Theater Company launched  two shows that landed on NYC stages so far this year. It’s a great way for the Red Bank-based regional theater to celebrate its 25 anniversary season.

TRT playwright-in-residence Madeleine George’s “Hurricane Diane” was staged at the New York Theatre Workshop earlier this season and “Be More Chill” opened last month at  the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway.

You might think TRT specializes in new work.

Wrong. The company also produces classic works, and this is the last week to check out “The Belle of Amherst,” based on Emily Dickinson’s life. It’s a loving revival of the one-woman show written by William Luce (he specialized in them, and wrote this one for Julie Harris, who premiered it on Broadway in 1976). Continue reading Last chance to catch delightful staging of ‘The Belle of Amherst’

Nominations for 2019 Tony Awards announced

 “Be More Chill” has been characterized as a “Cinderella” story. A world premiere at New Jersey’s Two River Theater (2015), cast album drops Oct. 31 earning more than 250 million streams. That caught producers’ interest.  It opened off-Broadway in the summer of 2018 and opened on Broadway March 10 (2019).  It’s about teens who take a “pill” to be cool.

“Hadestown” is a musical a 2016 adaptation of a 2010 folk opera based on the Greek myth of Orpheus descending to the underworld to rescue his fiancée Eurydice.

You’ve gotta admit, not your parents’ kind of musicals. Unless, of course, your parents are adventurous theater-goers looking for innovative, new work and a good time.. Continue reading Nominations for 2019 Tony Awards announced

2019 Tony Award nominations to be announced today

"Be More Chill" poster for Broadway.
“Be More Chill” poster for Broadway.

The 2019 Tony Award nominations are scheduled to be  announced at 8:30 a.m. today (April 30).

Broadway Bible Variety says Best Musical nominations are sure bets for the lush “Hadestown,” big-laughs crowd pleaser “Tootsie” and sentimental-fave underdog “The Prom

But with 11 new musicals this season will the fifth and final slot go to “The Cher Show” with experienced Broadway regulars, or the Cinderella-like, teen angst oriented “Be More Chill” that was born at the Two River Theater in Red Bank, N.J.? Continue reading 2019 Tony Award nominations to be announced today

‘Be More Chill’ has a sister in Joe Iconis’ new musical ‘Love In Hate Nation’

Two River Theater Company announced its 2019-2020 season, which includes a world premiere musical from Joe Iconis. (PHOTO: Gretchen Van Benthuysen)

”Be More Chill” fans rejoice!! Joe Iconis has a new show. It’s about teenagers. Bad girls, really bad girls, in fact, it takes place in a juvie hall in the 1960s. It’s called “Love In  Hate Nation.” Continue reading ‘Be More Chill’ has a sister in Joe Iconis’ new musical ‘Love In Hate Nation’

Classic ‘Belle of Amherst’ at Two River Theater opens tonite, closes May 5

Two River Theater tonight opens the  classic one-woman play “The Belle of Amherst, “a biographical drama (with plenty of laughs) starring Maureen Silliman as poet Emily Dickinson.

It’s directed by the theater’s founder and Executive Producer Robert Rechnitz, a former Professor of American Literature at Monmouth University in West Long Branch. Continue reading Classic ‘Belle of Amherst’ at Two River Theater opens tonite, closes May 5

It’s ‘Game of Thrones’ vs. ‘Les Misérables’ starts tonite, lasts 6 weeks

It seems fitting that “Game of Thrones” which many people believe to be the best TV series ever and “Les Misérables,” considered to be the greatest novel of the 19th century, both are airing — or should I say fighting and scheming at 9 tonight and for the next five Sundays.

Who will win the time slot? Continue reading It’s ‘Game of Thrones’ vs. ‘Les Misérables’ starts tonite, lasts 6 weeks

‘Fosse/Verdon’ debuts tonite on FX TV with Rockwell/ Williams

If you love musical theater, the man who reinvented  the Broadway musical and his muse, star in the new limited series  “Fosse/Verdon starring Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams beginning tonight at 10 p.m. on FX TV.

Developed by Lin-Manuel Miranda and his “Hamilton ” collaborators, plus a bunch of theater favorites and  Broadway stars. Continue reading ‘Fosse/Verdon’ debuts tonite on FX TV with Rockwell/ Williams

Bette Midler hosts PBS tribute to Hal David

Image of Hal David. (PBS)“Alfie”, “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head”, “This Guy’s in Love with You”, “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.”

Sound familiar?

“Do You Know the Way to San Jose”, “Walk On By”, “What the World Needs Now Is Love”, “I Say a Little Prayer.”

Your brain now is accessing memory files from the ’60s and ’70s.

“(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me”, “One Less Bell to Answer” and “Anyone Who Had a Heart”

Admit it. You’re singing to yourself now wondering why they don’t write songs like that anymore. If you remember the lyrics from these major American hits, tune in tonight to “If What The World Needs Now: Words by Hal David” airing on Channel 13 in the NYC metropolitan area (Saturday, April 6 at 10 p.m.)

Continue reading Bette Midler hosts PBS tribute to Hal David

Twists, turns, betrayal help make ‘The Source’ a must-see theater event

From left, Conan McCarty, Eleanor Handley and Andrew Rein in a scene from the world premiere of Jack Canfora's "The Source." (PHOTO: SuzAnne
From left, Conan McCarty, Eleanor Handley and Andrew Rein in a scene from the world premiere of Jack Canfora’s “The Source.”
(PHOTO: SuzAnne Barabas)

In the New Jersey Repertory Company’s excellent, nicely staged, absorbing world premiere “The Source,” a newspaper mogul calls a late-night meeting with two of his top executives to plan a strategy to deal with a serious and potentially illegal issue.

Allegations soon will be leveled that his company hacked into the cell phone of a murdered 14-year-old girl to obtain her voice mail messages. 

Illegal or not says Roland (Conan McCarty), the mogul, the company is  not going to look good to the public whose sympathies will be with the dead girl’s family.

 And that’s not all. Continue reading Twists, turns, betrayal help make ‘The Source’ a must-see theater event