Frank Benge

Frank Benge A Kansas native, Frank Benge has been involved in the Austin area theatre scene as a Director, Designer, Writer and Performer for the past 20 years. He holds a double BA in Theatre and English from Washburn University.


MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

BWW Review: Jennifer Coy Jennings Dazzles in WILD HORSESBWW Review: Jennifer Coy Jennings Dazzles in WILD HORSES
Posted: Nov. 19, 2017


BWW Review: I HATE HAMLET is Great Escapist FunBWW Review: I HATE HAMLET is Great Escapist Fun
Posted: Nov. 12, 2017


BWW Review: Dickens Meets 'Glee' in ZACH's A CHRISTMAS CAROL: A ROCKIN' FAMILY MUSICALBWW Review: Dickens Meets 'Glee' in ZACH's A CHRISTMAS CAROL: A ROCKIN' FAMILY MUSICAL
Posted: Dec. 9, 2017


BWW Review: World Premeire THE BRUTES Looks At Lost History Of The Booth FamilyBWW Review: World Premeire THE BRUTES Looks At Lost History Of The Booth Family
Posted: Dec. 5, 2017


BWW Review: POCATELLO - Defining a Family in Shifting TimesBWW Review: POCATELLO - Defining a Family in Shifting Times
Posted: Dec. 10, 2017


BWW Review: THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING Gets Thoughtful Loving ProductionBWW Review: THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING Gets Thoughtful Loving Production
Posted: Nov. 27, 2017


BWW Review: THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND Celebrates the Songs of Kander and EbbBWW Review: THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND Celebrates the Songs of Kander and Ebb
Posted: Nov. 18, 2017


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Review: SINGIN' IN THE RAIN Tap Happy Film Classic Delightfully ReimaginedBWW Review: SINGIN' IN THE RAIN Tap Happy Film Classic Delightfully Reimagined
Posted: Oct. 4, 2017


BWW Review: THE SEAFARER First Rate Irish Tall TaleBWW Review: THE SEAFARER First Rate Irish Tall Tale
Posted: Nov. 5, 2017


BWW Review: BUTCHER HOLLER HERE WE COME is a One Of A Kind Sensory ExperienceBWW Review: BUTCHER HOLLER HERE WE COME is a One Of A Kind Sensory Experience
Posted: May. 30, 2017


BWW Interview: Devin Finn and Nick Kier of Theatre SynesthesiaBWW Interview: Devin Finn and Nick Kier of Theatre Synesthesia
Posted: Jun. 28, 2017


BWW Review: THE UNDERSTUDY Features a Trio of Stellar PerformancesBWW Review: THE UNDERSTUDY Features a Trio of Stellar Performances
Posted: Sep. 5, 2017


BWW Review: THE WIZARD OF OZ Familiar Fun For The Whole FamilyBWW Review: THE WIZARD OF OZ Familiar Fun For The Whole Family
Posted: Aug. 3, 2017


BWW Review: Jennifer Coy Jennings Dazzles in WILD HORSESBWW Review: Jennifer Coy Jennings Dazzles in WILD HORSES
Posted: Nov. 19, 2017


BWW Review: POCATELLO - Defining a Family in Shifting TimesBWW Review: POCATELLO - Defining a Family in Shifting Times
December 10, 2017

POCATELLO is a 2014 play from acclaimed playwright and MacArthur Fellow Samuel D. Hunter, that takes a darkly comedic look at the need for interaction and connection in an increasingly homogenized America. In a time when corporate stores are wiping out the uniqueness and the differences that separated one place from another, this play asks the possibly unanswerable question: 'How did I get here'? Samuel D. Hunter's Idaho is the locale for this unflinching look into the changing landscape of middle America, and the flawed, yet real, people trying desperately to define what makes a home when you're standing on shifting ground. His play is naturalistic in nature, reminding one of the domestic dramas of Kansan William Inge. If you aren't sure of what this kind of place looks like, (since Austin still has it's mantra to 'keep weird'), take a short drive up IH-35 to Temple and look around. I challenge you to find something that isn't a chain store.

BWW Review: Dickens Meets 'Glee' in ZACH's A CHRISTMAS CAROL: A ROCKIN' FAMILY MUSICALBWW Review: Dickens Meets 'Glee' in ZACH's A CHRISTMAS CAROL: A ROCKIN' FAMILY MUSICAL
December 9, 2017

Who doesn't know the story of Charles Dickens's 'A Christmas Carol'? The story is drummed into our heads every holiday season from the moment we're able to process speech. The story has been adapted a staggering number of times for film, stage, opera, and other media. 'A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas', is most commonly known simply as 'A Christmas Carol' and was first published in 1843 with that first edition selling out by Christmas Eve. Remarkably, it has never been out of print and by the end of the first year, thirteen editions had been released. It has been translated into several languages. It tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge (Harvey Guion), an old miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley (Roderick Sanford) and the Ghosts of Christmas Past (Kenny Williams), Present (Chanel), and Yet to Come (Roderick Sanford). Their visits transform Scrooge into a kinder and gentler man.

BWW Review: THE DROWSY CHAPERONE A Delightfully Near Perfect Musical TreatBWW Review: THE DROWSY CHAPERONE A Delightfully Near Perfect Musical Treat
December 8, 2017

THE DROWSY CHAPERONE is a parody of 20's musicals with a book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar and music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison. It is a show within a show told by a middle-aged, asocial Broadway musical fan, known only as Man in Chair (Scott Shipman). Seeking to cure his 'non-specific sadness', he listens to a rare recording of the fictitious 1928 musical comedy, The Drowsy Chaperone. As he listens to this cast recording, the characters appear in his crowded, tiny apartment, and it is transformed into an impressive Broadway set with footlights, period furniture, painted backdrops, shiny drapes and glitzy costumes. Man in Chair provides a running commentary throughout the show from the stage, and although he is onstage with the characters, he is invisible to the players. THE DROWSY CHAPERONE debuted in 1998 in Toronto and opened on Broadway in 2006. The show won five Tony Awards and seven Drama Desk Awards. It is a loving valentine to a time when shows had only the barest of plots serving to showcase the songs.

BWW Review: World Premeire THE BRUTES Looks At Lost History Of The Booth FamilyBWW Review: World Premeire THE BRUTES Looks At Lost History Of The Booth Family
December 5, 2017

Casey Wimpee's new play, THE BRUTES, opens in 1861 and is set in 1864. It is a look at the storied theatrical family, the Booths. It examines not only John Wilkes Booth and his plans to assassinate President Lincoln, but also the people, known as Brutes, who conspired along with him in sympathy for the South. The play looks at the reasons John Wilkes was propelled to a destiny that would wipe his families history from popular memory.

BWW Interview: Aaron Johnson and His New Play SALTY World Premiere Scheduled For Spring in New YorkBWW Interview: Aaron Johnson and His New Play SALTY World Premiere Scheduled For Spring in New York
December 5, 2017

Aaron Johnson is best known to Austin audiences for his strong body of performances, including Tribes (Daniel) at ZACH Theatre; Orphans (Phillip), Skylight (Edward) with Street Corner Arts; The Totalitarians (Ben) with Theatre en Bloc; The Real Thing (Billy), The Explorers Club (Lucius), Bloomsday (Robbie) at Austin Playhouse; and Comedy of Errors (Antipholus of Syracuse & Ephesus) with Penfold Theatre Co. Aaron was able to find a home in many of these theatre companies producing, designing, and working crew when he wasn't acting, and is still collaborating from afar with several of them. Earlier this year, Aaron's one-man show The Apple Doesn't Fall was awarded 'Best of Fest' at the 2017 FronteraFest. Aaron moved to New York City earlier this year and his new play, SALTY, will hold its world premiere with Lyra Theater next Spring .

BWW Review: THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING Gets Thoughtful Loving ProductionBWW Review: THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING Gets Thoughtful Loving Production
November 27, 2017

THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING was a 1946 novel by Southern writer Carson McCullers. It took her five years to complete, although she did interrupt the writing for a few months to write the short novel The Ballad of the Sad Caf . The novel has been adapted for the stage, motion pictures, and television. McCullers herself adapted the novel for the Broadway stage in 1950. The film version followed in 1952 and a stage musical version, F. Jasmine Addams, was produced Off-Broadway in 1971. The work examines why people exclude others and the resulting consequences. The central figures also talk about how they wish the world was more fluid and changeable in terms of race, gender and identity, all of which runs thematically through McCullers body of work.

BWW Review: Jennifer Coy Jennings Dazzles in WILD HORSESBWW Review: Jennifer Coy Jennings Dazzles in WILD HORSES
November 19, 2017

Allison Gregory's WILD HORSES is a wickedly funny examination of the heady early teenage years. It is a stunning one woman monologue about the struggle for identity, independence and authenticity. It delves deeply into youth's search to find where and how you fit in a complicated world. Set in the 70's, the play is about one summer that forever alters an adolescent girl, as related by her grown-up self. This is related as a complex bar story and yet is essentially timeless. WILD HORSES is a coming-of-age story for all genders and generations. This production is the 72nd Rolling World Premiere of the National New Play Network, an alliance of nonprofit theaters that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays. WILD HORSES has already been produced in West Virginia and New York and will finish in New Jersey after the Austin production.

BWW Review: THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND Celebrates the Songs of Kander and EbbBWW Review: THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND Celebrates the Songs of Kander and Ebb
November 18, 2017

THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND is an award winning musical revue showcasing the songs of John Kander and Fred Ebb. It won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical Revue. The revue takes its title from a tune the songwriting team wrote for Liza Minnelli to sing in the film New York, New York. The revue features a combination of upbeat, unfamiliar songs from the team's lesser known musicals: The Happy Time, The Rink, The Act, Flora the Red Menace, Kiss of the Spider Woman, 70 Girls 70, and others as well as their two blockbuster hits Cabaret and Chicago. The show is an eclectic collection of love songs, ballads, and witty comedic numbers.

BWW Review: I HATE HAMLET is Great Escapist FunBWW Review: I HATE HAMLET is Great Escapist Fun
November 12, 2017

I HATE HAMLET is a 1991 comedy by Paul Rudnick, who is best known as the author of Jeffrey and The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. It is a supernatural fantasy inspired by the time when the playwright was living in an apartment in New York that was John Barrymore's old apartment. The play is a throwback to those classic fantasy comedies like Arsenic and Old Lace, Goodbye Charlie and Bell, Book and Candle. There's no real deep message here, just witty and fun escapist entertainment.

BWW Review: ACT ONE An Epic Theatre Tale Beautifully ToldBWW Review: ACT ONE An Epic Theatre Tale Beautifully Told
November 10, 2017

ACT ONE is the story of famed playwright-director Moss Hart, from his poor Bronx beginnings to his first Broadway hit Once in a Lifetime. Hart's autobiography, considered by many to be the best book ever written about show business, has been stylishly adapted for the stage by James Lapine, Tony Award winning writer and director of Sondheim on Sondheim, Into The Woods and Falsettos, among others. Lapine has done a beautiful job translating Hart's sprawling book into a taut and entertaining evening of theatre...that is all about the theatre. This stage work has a great big heart and is ultimately funny, informative and touching. ACT ONE premiered on Broadway in 2014.

BWW Interview: Robert King, Jr.  and THE VOICES OF DONNY HATHAWAYBWW Interview: Robert King, Jr. and THE VOICES OF DONNY HATHAWAY
November 6, 2017

On January 13th, 1979, the world lost singer Donny Hathaway. Austinite Robert King Jr. has written a new, thought provoking musical, in which he introduces the audience to a side of Donny Hathaway that has never been explored before. Most people are unaware Hathaway battled with voices that haunted and tormented him, all caused by his paranoid schizophrenia. King's new musical suggests that the night prior to Donny jumping off of the 15th story of the Essex hotel that he had a conversation at the bar with a non-fictional charter by the name of Pamela Robinson (Samone Murray). Pamela asks him if he knew that he had one last time to perform in a one night only concert, what songs would he perform? This new show takes the audience inside the hallucination that is that last concert. This new show, THE VOICES OF DONNY HATHAWAY will play at Ground Floor Theatre, Friday & Saturday , January 12th &13th ,2018 at 7:30 pm. The show is written and directed by King, who will be playing Donny Hathaway. The show is produced by Ground Floor Theatre. Broadway World had a chance to talk to King about the new show.

BWW Review: A TUNA CHRISTMAS Proves Sometimes Less is MoreBWW Review: A TUNA CHRISTMAS Proves Sometimes Less is More
November 5, 2017

It's Christmas in Tuna, the third smallest town in Texas where the Lion's Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies! Between the holiday yard display contest and the Little Theatre's 'A Christmas Carol' on the brink of cancellation, it's a miracle anyone gets tinsel on a tree. Three actors play all 25 colorful citizens of Tuna, including OKKK Radio hosts Thurston Wheelis (Will Mercer) and Arles Struvie (Ryan H. Bailey) who report on the small-town festivities. A TUNA CHRISTMAS is a satirical ode to the season spiked with sass and shenanigans.

BWW Review: THE SEAFARER First Rate Irish Tall TaleBWW Review: THE SEAFARER First Rate Irish Tall Tale
November 5, 2017

THE SEAFARER is a 2006 play by Irish playwright Conor McPherson. Set on Christmas Eve in Baldoyle, a coastal suburb north of Dublin city, the play centers on James 'Sharky' Harkin (Steve Wright), an alcoholic who has recently returned to live with his blind, aging brother, Richard Harkin (Rick Felkins). Sharky's attempts to stay off the bottle are sorely tested by the hard-drinking, irascible Richard. Tension between them is evident from the start and exists mostly from Richard's constant sniping and excessive demands on his younger brother. A source of early conflict stems from Richard's inviting Nicky Gilbin (Scot Friedman) to join the men, along with Ivan (Rick Smith), for a game of poker. Nicky, as romantic rival of Sharky's, unexpectedly arrives for the card game with the mysterious Mr. Lockhart (Garry Peters). The play was nominated for multiple Tony Awards as well as the Olivier Award and Evening Standard Award for Best Play.

BBW Review: STEEL MAGNOLIAS Familiar But FreshBBW Review: STEEL MAGNOLIAS Familiar But Fresh
October 31, 2017

Robert Harling's STEEL MAGNOLIAS is a 1987 comedy drama about the bond amongst a group of Southern women in northwest Louisiana and is based on his experience with his sister's death. The title suggests that while women may be as delicate as magnolias they are also as tough as steel. The magnolia also specifically refers to a magnolia tree they are arguing about as the play begins.

BWW Review: ZOMBIE PROM A Camp CharmerBWW Review: ZOMBIE PROM A Camp Charmer
October 27, 2017

ZOMBIE PROM is an Off-Broadway musical that was later adapted into a short film. It was first produced at the Red Barn Theatre, Key West, Florida in 1993. It opened off-Broadway in 1996.

BWW Review: WAIT UNTIL DARK Toothless ThrillerBWW Review: WAIT UNTIL DARK Toothless Thriller
October 26, 2017

WAIT UNTIL DARK is a 1966 play by Frederick Knott that was revised in 2013 by Jeffrey Hatcher. Hatcher's revisions backdate the story to 1944, making Sam and Mike Marine buddies who served together in Italy, and the doll that is the object of search now contains diamonds instead of heroin. It also slightly tightens the text, most noticeably at the end of the first act.

BWW Review: RENT Touring Production A Near Perfect PresentationBWW Review: RENT Touring Production A Near Perfect Presentation
October 15, 2017

RENT is a rock musical with music, lyrics and book by Jonathan Larson. It won the 1996 Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize. The Broadway production closed on September 7, 2008 after a 12-year run of 5,123 performances, making it one of the longest running musicals of all time. The success of the show led to several national tours and numerous foreign productions and in 2005, it was adapted into a motion picture featuring most of the original cast members. This current touring production is the 20th anniversary production of Larson's re-imagining of Puccini's La Boh me. RENT follows an remarkable year in the lives of seven impoverished young artists struggling to survive and create a life in New York City's East Village during the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, while under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, RENT is a timeless celebration of friendship and creativity, and a reminder to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters love.

BWW Review: RHINOCEROS St. Edwards Stages Smartly Stylish SatireBWW Review: RHINOCEROS St. Edwards Stages Smartly Stylish Satire
October 9, 2017

RHINOCEROS was written by Eug ne Ionesco in 1959 and staged for the first time in 1960. Considered by many scholars as one of the best examples of The Theatre of the Absurd, this label was, in later years, rejected as too interpretatively narrow. Over the course of three acts, the inhabitants of a small town in France turn into rhinoceroses. Only one human resists this mass metamorphosis and that is the central character, B renger, portrayed in this production by Blake Browning. He is an everyman figure who is criticized first for his drinking, lateness, and unkempt appearance and later for his paranoid obsession with the rhinoceroses. The play is widely considered a criticism of the spread of Fascism and Nazism in Europe preceding World War II. It examines such themes as conformity, mass political movements, mob mentality, logic and morality.

BWW Interview: Bernadette Nason and TEA IN TRIPOLI Stage Work Becomes Book MemoirBWW Interview: Bernadette Nason and TEA IN TRIPOLI Stage Work Becomes Book Memoir
October 4, 2017

In 2011, Bernadette Nason wrote and performed her one-woman show, TEA IN TRIPOLI, which was about the fifteen months she spent in Libya in 1984-85. The overwhelmingly positive reaction led to four award nominations: Best Actress, Best Original Script, and two for Best Production. This encouraged Nason to turn the show into a book. The end result is 'Tea in Tripoli: A Memoir' which is now available in paperback and electronic form from Amazon.

BWW Review: SINGIN' IN THE RAIN Tap Happy Film Classic Delightfully ReimaginedBWW Review: SINGIN' IN THE RAIN Tap Happy Film Classic Delightfully Reimagined
October 4, 2017

Who isn't familiar with SINGIN' IN THE RAIN? The classic MGM film musical is arguably a perfect film musical, full of great songs, amazing dancing and memorable characters. Setting out to put this film on stage is a monumental task that requires a faithful enough recreation that it doesn't disappoint a legion of fans, yet has to be it's own original stage creation. Now playing on ZACH Theatre's Topfer Stage is a delightful version that manages to pay just the right amount of tribute while being thrillingly entertaining in its own right.



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