ON THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT
"A fascinating rococo experiment in power...Viertel is adding a new fifth act, with songs drawn from cast interviews and essays. So it’s more than appropriate that it’s being put on by Third Space, a young company in a city that has always struggled to support its young companies. One wonders now what the theatrical landscape will look like in a world—taking the Fassbinder view—where art might be the first thing to go, along with love.
-Hilton Als [The New Yorker]
"Exuberant staging...blurs the line between the reality of the play and the reality we live in...Third Space has surely created something that will stir up conversation and force the audience to leave with lingering questions. It’s a disturbing story that encourages discussion on gender roles and reflects a lot of our society’s dormant issues.”
-Ran Xia [Theatre Is Easy]
“Gorgeous production...high-octane physical comedy and caterwauling abounds...Scenic Designer Bryce Cutler and Costume Designer Emily Chalmers do some dazzling work here, creating a shimmering and gaudy atmosphere befitting Petra’s flamboyant personality. Her living room and clothes are an orgiastic disco nightmare that make the tiny New Ohio Theatre look sprawling...Transformative design”
-Eric J Grimm [Theater Pizzazz]
“This is a difficult play, but the director Benjamin Viertel, and his frequently nude cast seem more or less undaunted. Mr. Viertel has a lot of ideas - about lighting, music and performance space...Many of his choices are inventive and sophisticated...His enthusiasm and ingenuity are very much in evidence, and it will be exciting to see what he and his designers accomplish next."
-Alexis Soloski [The New York Times]
"The staging was very innovative, though it did feel deeply uncomfortable in a way, like the audience was a crowd of witnesses watching a mass murder or civil war, almost as if it was in a petri dish...the most disturbing thing I have ever seen in my entire life...the acting was very good too...truly stunning cast that put on a piece, while disturbing, is so impressive in its ability to go beyond any sort of traditional or passive experience."
-Lisa Markuson [Medium]
"The production itself, directed intelligently by Benjamin Viertel...the staging is precise, jumping from moment to moment without pause, and the performances remain engaging throughout. The moments that are designed to shock are generally successful, if slightly pre-ordained by the stage action that precedes them...the largest gasp was elicited when Olga actually lit her cigarette and took a drag...the real thing seemed somehow transgressive."
-Dan O'Neil [CultureBot]
ON KRAGTAR: AN AMERICAN MONSTER MUSICAL
"Watching Kragtar: An American Monster Musical gives you the feeling that you are watching a show that is about to enjoy all of the success of Rent. Witty, sharp, and relevant, with a Broadway-caliber cast and crew, this original musical by Sam French and Kyle Wilson, as directed by Benjamin Viertel, has all the potential to be a new cultural icon. It is an excellent production that impressively took a major risk and reaped the rewards."
-Saima Huq [StageBuddy]
"This fictional account is highly compelling as directed by Benjamin Viertel. Woven into this storyline is the dance of death shown by several different dance steps of the time."
-Suzanna Bowling [Times Square Chronicles]
"Superbly directed...The cast members’ exquisite talents along with the director’s acute skill in shepherding them toward the inevitability of horror, keep us enthralled, throughout, even though we know the outcome to be mortality and destruction...The artful design team’s symbolic and evocative conflagration, coupled with the director’s staging and the acting ensemble’s believable responses are heart-breaking and suggestive of what happened...Every element of this production shines unified coherence. And combined with the acting and direction, this memorable production will touch the hearts of those who see it, one that native New Yorkers should never forget."
- Carole Di Tosti [Theater Pizzazz]
ON GRINDR! THE MUSICAL
Read our BroadwayWorld.com interview here!
See our BroadwayWorld.com video here!
“Never have I been more impressed by the thoughfulness, professionalism, and enthusiasm ... knowledgeable not only about [his] craft but also about the world around [him]. Benjamin Viertel whose innovative thoughts on how to bring a parrot to life onstage (and then transform him into a ne'er-do-well father) floored us.”
-Victoria Chatfield [Breaking:Character]
ON INEXPERIENCED LOVE
“The show serves as an impressive showcase…I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear a great deal more about all of them once they graduate. Additionally, the story is told with so much enthusiasm, joy, and talent that it’s hard to leave the theater without the warm and fuzzies.”
-Naomi McDougall Graham [NYTheatre.com]
“I love this show! How do I love this show? Let me count the ways!”“The fact that these static objects are eventually employed as weapons in a lover's tiff is brilliant staging…You may see a future Broadway actor or composer or producer on stage at the Players' Theatre in the East Village. I do not make that prediction lightly.”
-Al Chase [White Rhino Report]
“CMU’s production will mark the first time FIREFACE has been presented in the United States. A native of Europe, Viertel seeks to bridge the gap between American and German theatre by ensuring that the play’s German form and context are accessible for an American audience. He chose the show for its challenging content and provocative themes. “BFA Directors are urged to take risks, speak boldly, offer intellectually stimulating theater and I hope FIREFACE will be no different,” he says.”
-Laci Corridor [Carnegie Mellon School of Drama News]