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: 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: CATCH ME IF YOU CAN Plagued By ProblemsBWW Review: CATCH ME IF YOU CAN Plagued By Problems
Posted: Sep. 29, 2017


BWW Review: CATALINA DE ERAUSO a Delightfully Wacky and Witty Feminist AdventureBWW Review: CATALINA DE ERAUSO a Delightfully Wacky and Witty Feminist Adventure
Posted: Sep. 22, 2017


BWW Review: THE WOLVES A Powerful Tale of Female CamaraderieBWW Review: THE WOLVES A Powerful Tale of Female Camaraderie
Posted: Oct. 2, 2017


BWW Review: RENT Touring Production A Near Perfect PresentationBWW Review: RENT Touring Production A Near Perfect Presentation
Posted: Oct. 15, 2017


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


BWW Review: GIBBERISH MOSTLY Has a Lot to Say at Ground Floor TheatreBWW Review: GIBBERISH MOSTLY Has a Lot to Say at Ground Floor Theatre
Posted: Sep. 28, 2017


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Review: Chanel Impresses as Billie Holiday in LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR AND GRILLBWW Review: Chanel Impresses as Billie Holiday in LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR AND GRILL
Posted: Apr. 10, 2017


All New GREATER TUNA Tour With Co-Creator Jaston Williams DirectingAll New GREATER TUNA Tour
Posted: Dec. 19, 2016


BWW Interview: Michael Rader of LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR AND GRILL at ZACH TheatreBWW Interview: Michael Rader of LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR AND GRILL at ZACH Theatre
Posted: Apr. 4, 2017


BWW Review: RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN'S CINDERELLA is Magical Family FunBWW Review: RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN'S CINDERELLA is Magical Family Fun
Posted: Dec. 7, 2016


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 Interview: Bonnie Cullum and The VortexBWW Interview: Bonnie Cullum and The Vortex
Posted: Dec. 14, 2016


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.

BWW Review: THE WOLVES A Powerful Tale of Female CamaraderieBWW Review: THE WOLVES A Powerful Tale of Female Camaraderie
October 2, 2017

THE WOLVES is a 2016 play by Sarah DeLappe that looks at the experiences of nine high school girls during their soccer warmups. All of the play takes place during these successive warmups, where they navigate big questions and wage tiny battles like a pack of adolescent warriors. This portrait of life for this group of girls who just want to be winners at soccer is wise, witty and ultimately, heartbreaking. This is DeLappe's first play and it received the American Playwriting Foundation's inaugural Relentless Award and was a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

BWW Review: CATCH ME IF YOU CAN Plagued By ProblemsBWW Review: CATCH ME IF YOU CAN Plagued By Problems
September 29, 2017

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN is a musical with a libretto by Terrence McNally and a score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. It follows the story of con artist named Frank Abagnale, Jr. The plot borrows heavily from the 2002 film of the same name, which in turn was based on Abagnale's 1980 autobiography. The musical received four 2011 Tony nominations. The current production is directed by Joshua Denning.

BWW Review: GIBBERISH MOSTLY Has a Lot to Say at Ground Floor TheatreBWW Review: GIBBERISH MOSTLY Has a Lot to Say at Ground Floor Theatre
September 28, 2017

GIBBERISH MOSTLY, a new play by Max Langert, is an examination of a family dealing with a child suffering from a neurological disorder. In this case, we are talking about severe autism, and what is being examined is how and why choices are made. In the case of severe autism, it isn't that communication has broken down, but, rather that it is almost impossible.

BWW Review: CATALINA DE ERAUSO a Delightfully Wacky and Witty Feminist AdventureBWW Review: CATALINA DE ERAUSO a Delightfully Wacky and Witty Feminist Adventure
September 22, 2017

CATALINA DE ERAUSO, a new play by Austin playwright, Elizabeth Doss (Mast, Poor Herman), is a rollicking, comic adventure tale currently receiving its world premiere production. Doss's script crackles with wit and word play, with the occasionally recognizable contemporary phrase or saying thrown in. At heart, this is a grand satiric offering that reminds one of Voltaire's Candide, with its tongue firmly planted in its globe trotting cheek.

BWW REVIEW: BUILDING THE WALL Just Offers More QuestionsBWW REVIEW: BUILDING THE WALL Just Offers More Questions
September 9, 2017

Robert Schenkkan, who has created a name for himself as a chronicler of American politics with his plays All The Way and The Great Society, is currently having a Regional Premiere of his new play BUILDING THE WALL at UT in the Oscar G. Brockett theatre. However, unlike his historical plays, this new offering ventures into the realm of Political Fiction, and while it asks all the right questions, it doesn't offer any answers, or, really, even any insights into why we, as a nation, are where we are right now.

BWW Review: Jason Phelps Charms in TITLE AND DEEDBWW Review: Jason Phelps Charms in TITLE AND DEED
September 5, 2017

TITLE AND DEED has much the same structure as playwright Will Eno's brilliant Thom Pain, but what it doesn't have, is the same degree of anger. Instead, this solo performance piece is a sharply funny meditation on life in all of its absurd glory. In ways, it seems the sole character, Man (brilliantly essayed by Jason Phelps), is a visitor, perhaps not just to this locale but maybe even to this planet.

BWW Review: THE UNDERSTUDY Features a Trio of Stellar PerformancesBWW Review: THE UNDERSTUDY Features a Trio of Stellar Performances
September 5, 2017

When you choose a three-person show it doesn't leave you much room for error or less than stellar acting. The current Southwest Theatre Productions company of Nicholas Kier, Devin Finn and Kristin Chiles under the direction of Joni Lorraine delivers nothing short of perfection, each character has been crafted to show without artifice or contrivance their specific needs and emotional depth. These performers show us abrasive tempers buffeted by discoveries, in Theresa Rebeck's unusual modern theatrical hybrid of drama and comedy.

BWW Review: TWENTYEIGHT a Fascinating Look at Dystopian Racist SpaceBWW Review: TWENTYEIGHT a Fascinating Look at Dystopian Racist Space
August 26, 2017

TWENTYEIGHT, a 2014 play by Tyler English-Beckwith, is a look at eight laborers who are trying to finish the shuttle that will carry them to the Liberian Space Station. This Space Station (also known as the L.S.S.) is a refuge for people of color. It seems that in this very Dystopian future, things, for people of color, are even more violent and oppressive than things are now. This, as an audience member, isn't very comforting. Indeed, this is a short oppressive theatrical experience you aren't likely to forget easily. The world we know is long gone. A rubble of ruins. People of Color have been crammed into settlements, where they work on projects just like this shuttle. What keeps them at work are the faceless Enforcers and a distant dream of liberation. There is the pull and allure of that promised place where what is wrong magically becomes a place of blessings, joys and riches. Isn't that, after all, the promise of all regions? Your heaven in amongst the various heavens.

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

Who doesn't know THE WIZARD OF OZ? And even if by some strange coincidence the multiple books of L. Frank Baum have managed to escape you, the classic MGM film (on which this production is based) has been a television staple and family viewing tradition for decades.

BWW Review: THE MOORS Darkly Delightful Gothic TwistBWW Review: THE MOORS Darkly Delightful Gothic Twist
July 10, 2017

Jen Silverman's black comedy THE MOORS is an interesting concoction; a black comedy about love, desperation and visibility. Set in the thick of the English literary landscape, Silverman spoofs the Bronte sisters with a bit of a queer twist. She uses all the expected elements of the Gothic (diaries, governesses, hidden lust) yet employs them for a different set of romantic fantasies, where boys are more on the outskirts of the action. Two sisters, Agatha (Catherine Grady) and Huldey (Jess Hughes) and their Mastiff (David Yakubik) live out their lives on the English moors, dreaming of a life different from their current existence. When a hapless governess, Emilie (Katie Kohler) and a moor-hen (Lindsay Hearn Brustein) arrive on the scene, it sets all three on a strange and dangerous path.

BWW Interview: Devin Finn and Nick Kier of Theatre SynesthesiaBWW Interview: Devin Finn and Nick Kier of Theatre Synesthesia
June 28, 2017

One of Austin's most innovative theatre companies is Theatre Synesthesia, which has been recently recognized with awards from both BroadwayWorld and the Austin Critic's Table. We had an opportunity to sit down with two of the company founders, Devin Finn and Nick Kier to find out more about this company that, of late, has been creating so much buzz in the Austin theatre community.

BWW Review: THE EFFECT Delivers A Powerful Message Powerfully PerformedBWW Review: THE EFFECT Delivers A Powerful Message Powerfully Performed
June 5, 2017

Set in a drug study lab at Rauschen Pharmaceuticals, where volunteers are taking the experimental antidepressant RLU37; THE EFFECT, a new play by Lucy Prebble, examines two couples and the effects this new drug has on them. The play is not only a powerful and darkly funny indictment of Big Pharma, this ultimately deeply moving play examines such topics as sanity and neurology while also looking into such ideas as fate, and touching on the inevitability of physical attraction in a closed environment. The final question you are left with is who is really in charge of your destiny. Is it you or is it your brain? Prebble has written a very intelligent play that manages quite successfully to walk the thin line between comic and tragic. She is looking squarely at the question of what makes us who we are. This is black comedy of the highest order which requires skilled performers and a skilled director to pull off successfully. Happily, this production has those necessities in spades.

BWW Review: SOMETHING ROTTEN! Is Great Witty Tuneful FunBWW Review: SOMETHING ROTTEN! Is Great Witty Tuneful Fun
June 1, 2017

SOMETHING ROTTEN! is a musical comedy with a book by John O'Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick and music and lyrics by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick. Set in 1595, it tells the story of the Bottom brothers, Nick (Rob McClure) and Nigel (Pierce Cassedy), and their struggle to produce a show that isn't overshadowed by their contemporary William Shakespeare (Adam Pascal). The show opened on Broadway in 2015 and was nominated for multiple Tony Awards and ran for 745 performances. This touring production launched earlier this year.

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
May 30, 2017

NYC theatre company Aztec Economy teams with Austin theatre company Theatre Synesthesia to present Casey Wimpee's play BUTCHER HOLLER HERE WE COME in this Austin premiere production. Directed by Leah Bonvissuto, who directed the original NY production, the play is a seventy five minute sensory experience about five coal miners who are trapped in a cave in. Set in 1973, West Virginia, BUTCHER HOLLER HERE WE COME, is a startling look at the male psyche-in-crisis. As these five coal miners struggle to overcome a dwindling supply of oxygen and the lack of food and water, it becomes clear that the biggest obstacles they face are their own competing natures. Director Bonvissuto has done a masterful job here of creating an immersive event.

BWW Review: Chanel Impresses as Billie Holiday in LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR AND GRILLBWW Review: Chanel Impresses as Billie Holiday in LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR AND GRILL
April 10, 2017

LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR AND GRILL is a play with music by Lanie Robertson, recounting key events in the life of Billie Holiday. The play originally premiered in 1986 at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, and soon played Off-Broadway. The play opened on Broadway in 2014. The play covers the same legendary Holiday stories that were in Lady Sings the Blues as anecdotal memories related by the singer during her act.

BWW Review: PERFECT MENDACITY a Dark DelightBWW Review: PERFECT MENDACITY a Dark Delight
April 10, 2017

It's the rare person who has never told a lie. Who hasn't pondered whether you could train yourself to beat a lie detector? What situation would bring you to lie? Would you lie if saving yourself or your loved one was at stake? Is it possible to craft a perfect lie? In Jason Wells' PERFECT MENDACITY the playwright investigates the realities surrounding deception when a corporate scientist tries to avoid implication after a sensitive memo has been leaked. He has engaged a professional to help him escape implication during his lie detector investigation. Wells' tale of corporate espionage, lies and cover ups, where the past comes back to haunt you as your personal and professional lives collide is darkly funny in all the best ways.



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