About Face Theatre

The piece is a notable challenge for actors.  With the help of the excellent Benjamin Sprunger, who plays one of Oliver’s tricks in 2008 and Philip’s aversion-therapy shrink in 1958 (a different kind of trick, you might say), and the skilled designer William Boles, Metzgar catches the melancholy present in the writing and also the visual link between past and present, linked by the various identities we must wear, sometimes of our choosing, sometimes not at all.

– The Chicago Tribune – Chris Jones

Metzgar’s cast is equally remarkable.  Benjamin Sprunger is terrific in three smaller roles, particularly in a turn as a modern lad-mag editor who illustrates how even well-meaning straight people can still send mixed messages about gay equality.

– Time Out Chicago – Michael Brosilow

About Face Theatre has landed a big catch, superbly shaped by Bonnie Metzgar’s perfect-pitch staging and wizard casting.  In these 140 minutes, Metzgar’s quartet achieve four personal bests: Sprunger deftly ranges from a reluctant Aryan dreamboy to a straight editor with good but inept intentions to a doctor worthy of Mengele.

– Stage & Cinema – Lawrence Bommer

Under the masterful direction of Bonnie Metzgar, the acting is in one word: *excellent.* Playing multiple roles, Benjamin Sprunger is most noteworthy as a straight man expressing his disgust over homophobia.  Sprunger’s rant hilariously turns personal as he shares a surprisingly tender story about his uncle.  Metzgar’s ensemble captivates in their past and present worlds.

– Chicago Now – Katy Walsh
The four actor ensemble are experts at maneuvering between the different story lines and eras.  Benjamin Sprungeris controlled and chameleon-like as the Man, Peter and finally the Doctor.- Chicago Theatre Review – Colin Douglas

The House Theatre

Benjamin Sprunger, who plays Clara’s dad, is very solid.

– The Chicago Tribune – Chris Jones

The rats are, simply put, sensational. Played by the same actors as the parents (Brenda Barrie, Benjamin Springer).
…where they encounter a wisecracking long-lost teddy bear that had belonged to Fritz, rendered as a full-sized puppet wielded and performed with all-out fun by Benjamin Sprunger.

– Chicago Theatre Beat – Joy Campbell

The cast is uniformly excellent, with a number of actors getting to pull double duty, especially Brenda Barrie and Benjamin Sprunger who portray  Clara’s grieving parents in addition to a pair of deliciously evil (and British) rats. Their ability to leap back and forth between broad, slapstick comedy and emotionally restrained realism were impressive indeed.

– Center Stage Chicago – Alex Huntsberger

…and Minton and Klapperich’s use of cast doubling feels particularly rich in Brenda Barrie and Benjamin Sprunger’s turns both as Clara’s increasingly distant parents and the rat vanguard.

– Time Out Chicago – Kris Vire
Calling out any one performance is so difficult because this entire ensemble is brimming with chemistry in a big warm holiday hug that melds together to the point that separating any of them would be like taking a key ingredient from your mom’s cookies.  …   Barrie and Sprungerare not just the mournful parents but a dynamic duo of devilry as the scary rats (with British accents, no less, and why not?).- Chicago Critic – Clint May


TimeLine Theatre

As for the supporting players, keep an eye on Matt Holzfeing and Benjamin Sprunger, two very different and equally intriguing actors. Somehow, they both manage to be distinctively watchable without putting a wrinkle in the ensemble.

– Chicago Theater Beat – Catey Sullivan

The nine-actor ensemble zips through changes of scenery, costumes and masks with lightning agility.

– Windy City Times – Mary Shen Barnidge

The ensemble has a difficult job with Enron, weaving through a ménage of styles, characterizations, and terribly diverse movement patterns. While most perform with uniform cohesion, Christopher Allen and Benjamin Sprunger’s two headed Lehman Brother was a true lesson in listening.

– – Johnny Oleksinski

Best of all, though, is the minor tour de force carried off by Christopher Allen and Benjamin Sprunger as a two-headed Lehman Brothers exec, speaking the same oily lines in uncannily perfect sync.

– Chicago Reader – Tony Adler
The Homosexuals
About Face Theatre

Benjamin Sprunger, who plays a character named British Mark, is very effective.

– Chris Jones – Chicago Tribune

Director Bonnie Metzgar has cast the show ideally – The actors are all exceptionally fine.

– Hedy Weiss – Chicago Sun Times

Dawkins’ characters are fully formed and the impeccable cast imbues them all with intricate and relatable personalities.

– Zach Freeman – New City

Under the direction of Bonnie Metzgar, the About Face actors likewise dispense with shopworn mannerisms to deliver smart, sensitive performances

– Mary Shen Barnidge – Windy City Times

Sprunger nails the manner of the sexy yet buttoned-down British professional, as well as his accent, in a comfortably natural and understated performance.  It’s a funny, sexy and wise little scene.

– John Olson – Talkin Broadway

About Face Theatre knocks one out of the park, not only for Gay Pride month but more so for theatre in general.  Regardless of the subject matter, compelling storytelling, engaging characters, GENEROUS laugh-out-loud humor, impeccable acting and razor sharp direction make for terrific theatre.  THE HOMOSEXUALS is About Face at the top of their game and on the top of the list for MUST SEE plays.

– Venus Zarris – Chicago Stage Review


Griffin Theatre

Jeff Nomination – Best Lead Actor in a Musical

Benjamin Sprunger is a very handsome fellow who nails one of Bobby’s key functions: to act as a cipher that allows Sondheim’s lyrics and George Furth’s book to probe the relationships of other people.

– Chris Jones – Chicago Tribune

Benjamin Sprunger makes an ideal lonely charmer.

– Kris Vire – Time Out Chicago

Led by Benjamin Sprunger as Robert, the cast bring insight to their characters’ conflicting desires for independence and commitment.

– Albert Williams – Chicago Reader

Benjamin Sprunger as the ambivalent Bobby and a –uniformly attractive, ensemble overcome the quaint sentimentality of their material with a conviction capable of coaxing heaps of weeps from all but the most stubborn loners.

– Mary Shen Barnidge – Windy City Times

Sprunger’s Bobby is charming with his friends, but shows his lonliness and pain in Bobby’s musical soliloquies.

– John Olson – Talkin’ Broadway

Company rests on the shoulders of Bobby and I must state that Benjamin Sprunger played him with a proper detached and enigmatic turn just as the script necessitated.  Sprunger has the good looks and reserved smile that women find alluring.  His fine performance included charm, comic aplomb and a controlled distance from his married counterparts.  I thought Sprunger delivered the resolving ballad “Being Alive” with a strong emotional core.

– Tom Williams – Chicago Critic
2000 feet away
Steep Theatre

Both Brenan Melanson and Benjamin Sprunger offer very arresting performances.

– Chris Jones – Chicago Tribune

As played by actor Benjamin Sprunger, A.G. is an attractive, mild-mannered and soft-spoken man – think of actor Campbell Scott and his mysterious sexiness and understated line deliveries and you get the idea.

– Fabrizio O. Almeida – New City
The Flowers
About Face Theatre

The cruelties of aging, the search for community, the oh-so-human tendency to deal with pain by denying its very existence—all are matters plumbed with engrossing humanity and effortless ease by a seamless ensemble. — the cast peels things down to their essence with a truly wonderful collective chemistry.

– Windy City Times – Catey Sullivan
wedding play
About Face Theatre

A superb cast – Cooper and Sprunger are excellent, with Sprunger especially effective as an angry out-of-work actor.

– Beverly Friend – Pioneer Local

The ensemble’s performances are uniformly strong and sharp; standout performances include – Benjamin Sprunger as [the] disgruntled ex.

– Lisa Buscani – NewCity Chicago

The cast – exhibits the traction of rock-climbers, retaining knife-edged precision – and fearlessly charging over the fourth wall.  A pleasure to watch.

– Mary Shen Barnidge – Windy City Times

Deftly acted – spot on in both the writing and acting.

– Hedy Weiss – Chicago Sun-Times

Benjamin Sprunger as Tom [is] excellent.

– Albert Williams – Chicago Reader


SAY you love satan
About Face Theatre

Benjamin Sprunger’s ultra decent, sweet-faced Jerrod is every deserving boyfriend times ten.

– Larry Bommer – Chicago Free Press

The adroit acting and rich script are beautifully staged.

– Kate Rockwood – Centerstage Chicago

Director Scott Ferguson compiles a terrific cast.  The ensemble and production are flawless.

– Venus Zarris – Gay Chicago
tight quarters
Whitefire Theatre

The thieves provide true comic relief ­ with Ali Spuck’s Inez, Benjamin Sprunger’s Freddie, and Gregory Franklin’s Rochfort all being endearingly inept.

– David Mermelstein – LA Weekly

As the fumbling jewel thieves chasing a valuable necklace, Ali Spuck, Benjamin Sprunger and Rick Stockwell are just too nutty for words.

– Pat Taylor – Tolucan Times

Sprunger and Stockwell excel in buffoonery.

– Wenzel Jones – Back Stage West
take me out
About Face Theatre

One of the most provocative and polished productions of the season. Director Rosen has assembled an amazing ensemble.

– Rick Reed – Windy City Times

Critic’s Choice. The ensemble makes a fireworks display out of Greenberg’s smart, fiery language while managing to keep all the characters – sympathetic.

– Jennifer Vanasco – Chicago Reader

The rest of the team is a collection of ethnic stereotypes with broadly comic profiles [including] the boyish, not-too-bright, probably gay Jason (Benjamin Sprunger). A rip-roaring Chicago premiere.”

– Hedy Weiss – Chicago Sun Times

The entire cast is excellent. And the actors handle the multiple locker room nude scenes as comfortably as if they were performing Our Town.

– Christopher Piatt – Time Out Chicago
Jesus’ kid brother
Hudson Mainstage

Download “Crucifixion” from this production by clicking here.
(Plays on winamp, windows media player and quicktime.)

Ambitious, amazingly energetic rock tuner. A powerhouse performance juggernaut. Also impressive [is] Benjamin Sprunger’s straight-arrow rendering of cruel-to-the-max Roman centurion, Stu.

– Julio Martinez – Variety

Critic’s Pick. Beautifully crafted. Uproariously funny. Scarcely a second to come up for air between laughs. Benjamin Sprunger is hunky and hilarious.

– Les Spindle – Back Stage West

Critic’s Choice. Exceptional assemblage of talent. An ineluctable cult hit. Standouts include Benjamin Sprunger’s posturing centurion.

– David C. Nichols – Los Angeles Times

A rollicking, rhythmical ride that is fresh, frisky and flavorful. The score simply rocks. Benjamin Sprunger defines Roman god. On the fun scale of one to ten a twenty!

– Don Grigware – NoHoLA News Magazine

An exciting new rock musical comedy destined to be a big hit. The performances are all excellent, the singers powerful and the visuals and gags are non-stop!

– Pat Taylor – TolucanTimes

Leaves you breathless with laughter and a sense of amazement at this talented group of theatre up-and-comers. Fun, upbeat and delicious. Tomorrow’s big Broadway hit. A special mention goes to Benjamin Sprunger who play[s] Stu, a bad guy with great appeal whose ability to make us laugh and dislike him at the same time is admirable.

– Norma Zager – Beverly Hills Courier

The best musical in LA. An energetic ensemble [of] 18 terrific singers and dancers.

– Cynthia Citron – Beverly Hills Outlook

The cast is uniformly excellent. A winning piece of comedy. A damn funny night at the theatre.

– Sharon Perlmutter – Talkin’ Broadway
a clockwork orange
Greenway Court Theatre

Sparks and company head in new directions as they combine Hong Kong action movies, the English music hall and the circus into surreal eye candy. – A lot of good work.

– Daryl H. Miller – Los Angeles Times

Recommended. Pick of the week. The leads are as thrilling as John Grantham’s fight choreography and the unmitigated beauty of Burgess’ passion, here furiously unleashed.

– Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly

[Dever] is aided by a talented ensemble of 17 performers who play multiple roles. – Also impressive is the flawless fight choreography.

– Jenelle Riley – Back Stage West

Sparks’ efforts are more than complemented by a capable ensemble. – Alex’s gang is depicted with appropriate menace by Erik Liberman, Conrad Cimarra and Benjamin Sprunger.

– Julio Martinez – Los Angeles Daily News

A thrilling theatrical adventure. – Sparks helms a generally exemplary ensemble – with Stephen Reynolds, Kent Minault, Benjamin Sprunger, Bryan Thompson and Alice Vaughn among the standouts.

– Les Spindle – Frontiers

The theatrical thrill of the year. – Sparks’ limitless skill, vision, and artistic flair, catapults his actors and audiences to heights unknown! Excellent too, as the other “droogs” are Erik Liberman, Conrad Cimarra and Benjamin Sprunger. The fast and physical agilty of the [trio] is unforgettable! A captivating, riveting evening of theatre!

– Pat Taylor – Tolucan Times

[The] choreography alone of the Greenway Arts Alliance’s eighteen actors playing almost a hundred roles, is worth the price of a ticket. – It comes off brilliantly because of a fantastic cast.

– Hank Rosenfeld – NoHoLA News Magazine

The extraordinary cast is magnificent with impeccable performances. This is our critic’s pick of the week… and of the year!

– Gerri Garner – American Radio Network

Packed with some of the best actors assembled on one stage.

– Charlene S. Fowler – Burbank Times
one neck
Spotlight Theatre

Things go from bad to worse when the uninvited yet charming Lucian (well acted by Benjamin Sprunger) shows up. – Engrossing and gross, One Neck is well acted and worth seeing – it’s about the most graphic, gory and bloody theatre production out there!”

– Harrison Held – NoHoLA News Magazine

Very macabre – not for the feeble! – A great cast – A good, gripping production. Just bring a strong stomach!

– Accessibly Live Off-Line
do i hear a waltz?
Pasadena Playhouse

Download “We’re Gonna Be All Right” from this production by clicking here.
(Plays on winamp, windows media player and quicktime.)

Director David Lee elicits flawless performances from a stellar cast. – As a young American couple, Benjamin Sprunger and Annie Wersching delight.

– Les Spindle – Back Stage West

Magical, mystical and miraculous – a beauty. Benjamin Sprunger and Annie Wersching are the American couple who, like Leona, are caught up in a threatening culture clash. They also get to sing the funny, biting We’re Gonna Be Alright.

– Jay Reiner – The Hollywood Reporter

enjamin Sprunger and Annie Wersching all but stop the show, early in the second act, with Sondheim’s most typically biting We’re Gonna Be Alright.

– KNX Newsradio LA

(M)uch of the show’s success can be laid at the feet of a remarkable ensemble of performers. Benjamin Sprunger and Annie Wersching create the attractive younger couple, testing the limits of tolerance in each other and finding their own definition.

– Frances Baum Nicholson – Pasadena Star News

This impressive cast provides plenty of moments that transcend the show’s limitations. – Benjamin Sprunger and Annie Wersching are the picture of early 60’s angst as Eddie and Jennifer, a young couple who can already hear the faint rumblings of the impending sexual and social revolution.

– Paul Hodgins – The Orange County Register
About Face Theatre

Download my “Vigil Strange” solo from this production by clicking here.
(Plays on winamp, windows media player and quicktime.)

Highly Recommended. – This – production is an act of artistic transubstantiation – intense and arresting – the result is a stunning tapestry.

– Hedy Weiss – Chicago Sun Times

What’s on stage is appealing indeed, and well presented by an attractive ensemble.

– Jonathan Abarbanel – Windy City Times

About Face Theatre should be commended for its valiant effort in staging a new musical that not only spiritually pays homage to one of America’s most notable writers but also experiments with the genre of musical theatre. — The material is placed on eight highly skilled performers.

– Tim Sauers – Gay Chicago Magazine 
schoolgirl figure
Goodman Studio

[MacLeod’s] writing hilariously meets the subject head on, and the sensational cast under David Petrarca’s full tilt direction does the rest. – Benjamin Sprungeris delightful as The Bradley. – Four stars.

– Dan Zeff – Copley News Service

This is all meant to be funny; and, thanks to some razor-sharp performances – there are some big laughs along the way.

– Richard Christiansen – Chicago Tribune

David Petrarca’s cast – are exceptional.

– Nick Green – Chicago Reader

Benjamin Sprunger (The Bradley and all male roles) shows a great deal of range. His grieving boyfriend is comically perplexed, while his designer store manager has a funny sense of business aplomb.

– Al Boswell – Post-Tribune

Schoolgirl is still a fun, wicked little play; the harsh satire is tempered by intelligence, and it’s all carried along by some terrific performances.

– Ben Winters – New City

Deliciously dark and mouth-wateringly witty satire. The sitcom-like plot of these girls competing for The Bradley – their equivalent of the Oscar – delivers like a comedy sketch similar to one of those developed by Second City or Saturday Night Live, with its purpose to spark many belly aching cackles. – Petrarca has assembled a lively cast – you laugh. You laugh hard. You wish that you could push the rewind button and play it again and again. Delightful performances.

– Tim Sauers – Gay Chicago Magazine

MacLeod’s play is expertly realized by David Petrarca, who fills his cast with bright young talents.

– Jack Helbig – Daily Herold

I laughed until I winced.

– Richard Roeper – Chicago Sun Times
to live as variously as possible
TimeLine Theatre

1999 After Dark Award

I don’t know about you, but I walk into the theatre with the hope of experiencing something I never have before. – Maybe – an exciting or enticing new work; the debut of an actor who gives me faith in the theatre of tomorrow; a collection of actors working so intricately together that there’s no doubt [they’ve] been together all their lives. And sometimes I walk into a theatre as one man and come out feeling changed. I’ve grown. I know something I didn’t in the morning. I’ve seen life through different eyes, and my personal world has been broadened. These moments have been few and far between, but it happened with ‘To Live…’ — Then director [Jay] Skelton assembles an impeccable quintet of actors – and the combination of words and performances left me breathless. The flawless and fascinating work – captivates from the first word and holds on to the very last. Certainly one of the year’s best, ‘To Live…’ is also one of the finest works I’ve ever seen. 4 stars

– Jeff Rossen – Gay Chicago Magazine

To Live… is a poetic homage that succeeds on the strengths of the superb cast and the fascinating material.

– Gregg Shapiro – Outlines

If you’ve ever been caught up by a play or movie or TV show that you couldn’t get out of your mind and that you just had to tell your friends about, then you have some idea of the enthusiasm that has gone into TimeLine Theatre Company’s production of ‘To Live.’ — Buoyed by the overriding zest of Skelton’s script, [the cast] fondly [does] justice to O’Hara.

– Richard Christiansen – Chicago Tribune

Highly Recommended. – ‘To Live…’ is a piece that bristles with all the joy, energy, wit and pain that marked this ever-fresh poet. – TimeLine Theatre Company animate this beautiful 80-minute whirlwind – with astonishing clairvoyance. – A splendid accomplishment.

– Andrew Patner – Chicago Sun Times
just say no
Bailiwick Repertory

High energy, generally amusing performances by actors who play their roles to the hilt and beyond. – Amy Farrington and Benjamin Sprungerare attractive and likable as Trudi and Gilbert – comic ingénues in the classic mold.

– Albert Williams – Chicago Reader
Bloodline: The Oedipus/Antigone Story
Division 13

winner of two 1998 After Dark Awards

The cavernous performance area allows for very complex and dimensional stage pictures and chorus movement that is often thrilling in its scale and dexterity. — The main reason to see this show is the ensemble-driven directorial conception.

– Chris Jones – Chicago Tribune

Highly Recommended. Settle uses the Viaduct space to stunning effect — deploying her fine 10-person chorus as a threatening army or a frightened citizenry.

– Hedy Weiss – Chicago Sun Times

Moving with quicksilver efficiency, the disciplined 22-member ensemble turn the theater’s vast, pebble-strewn arena into a killing field — The cast delivers Sophocles’ philosophical choruses with frenetic urgency.

– Lawrence Bommer – MSN Sidewalk Chicago
edward ii
The Journeymen

1998 Joseph Jefferson Award

Performed in the sanctuary of the Holy Covenant Church, the production is often as highly stylized as religious ritual, from the frequent and symbolic use of candles to the often beautiful musical interludes, extending even to the thrilling, well-choreographed sword fights. The king is frequently accompanied by a pair of fawning young men, strongly played by David Baca and Benjamin Sprunger.

– Bryon Upton – Windy City Times