"Julie Benko is a powerhouse as Girl. A fine singer and pianist, she combines dramatic nuance with a knack for comedy. Girl tends to plant her feet, beam a direct gaze from her dark eyes to size things up and then tunnel right to the emotional heart of a situation. She has the kind of tenacity that's fun to root for, and, in Benko's hands, it should come with a warning label: Do Not Underestimate."
"Still, in this true ensemble piece, it was Julie Benko’s Girl that proved the center of Friday’s performance. Her simple directness, with emotions simmering underneath, made her irresistible and riveting. She sang hauntingly, and even delivered a credible version of one of Mendelssohn’s 'Songs without Words' on piano."
"Honest, awkward, sweet, surprising, funny, genuine, evolving... an astounding achievement. [Her] acting cannot be separated from [her] melodious voice or from her inspired keyboard skills.... They are spectacular.
"Benko is a delight as Girl, with plenty of sass to control the conversation and yet the tenderness to win devotion.
"In this edition they are played by Julie Benko (Girl) and Brad Standley (Guy), both of whom are so good that it is hard to imagine anyone else playing them. Benko is gruff and strong and fascinated by the man she has met... These two actors play the romance with such richness that it feels as though more time, much more time, has gone by."
Simply known only as Guy and Girl, the couple is beautifully played by Brad Standley and Julie Benko. They have a natural indefinable chemistry, and the audience enjoys discovering their insecurities and characteristic quirks.
"Julie Benko, as Luisa, has a face that can render every blushing excess of adolescence, from saucer-eyed hope to defiant daring. Resisting squeaky youthfulness, she turns an abstract ingénue into a person both decisive and awkward. And her strong singing is a window into a Luisa with a real soul."
"Francisco Gonzalez and Julie Benko play young lovers Matt and Luisa with a loopy in love freshness that, once it sours, is replaced by a sad cynicism. As handled here, this emotional turnabout allows us to watch them mature, to see their sparkle be tempered by rawness of experience. It should also be noted that their vocal work is stellar."
"Julie Benko's performance... was as delightful as it was heart-wrenching."
"Emily Gibbs [was] played beautifully with tremendous range and emotion by Julie Benko."
"Julie Benko was responsible for much of the production’s joy and heartbreak, irresistibly portraying three stages of the girl’s life. The final flashback was particularly heart wrenching."
"Julie Benko sets Emily fluttering between shyness and exhilaration. Her gaze devours everything around her, and we see Emily aching to uncover the world. In Friday's performance, as Emily grasps an elemental truth in the final act, Benko wept as she experienced it."
"...a radiant turn by Julie Benko... Benko’s [ebullient] as Bella."
"Julie Benko as Bella makes us cheer for her."
"...singing the rousing title song, "Rags"—a number Julie Benko as Bella particularly shines as she exclaims her immigrant impatience in a voice refreshing with its exuberance and energy."
"Julie Benko combines both warmth and subtle signs of incipient rebellion in Bella, and also powerfully delivers the show's bitter title song."
"Benko deftly navigates one of the most complex characters in the play."
"Julie Benko offered an extremely sympathetic portrayal of the stifled Bella..."
"High praise also goes to... Julie Benko, whose beautifully tragic Bella sees the tarnish in the promised streets of gold."
"One of many standouts is Benko as Bella, who passionately delivers the show's rousing title song."
bar mitzvah boy
"...strategically and beautifully set in motion by a scene between Eliot and his sister Lesley (a terrific Julie Benko)."
"Benko is the perfect combination of irksome and protective as the big sister."
"Benko is both bossy around her boyfriend and endearing with her useful wisdom..."
Fiddler on the Roof
The biggest... surprise was from Julie Benko, who had stepped in as Hodel, Tevye’s second daughter. Her melancholy and heartbreaking rendition of “Far from the Home I Love,” my favorite song in the show, was an unexpected treat.