Here are my Top 10 New York Theater Favorites of 2012:
1. Once -The musical adaption of the Oscar-winning independent film masterly directed by John Tiffany. Winner of eight Tony Awards, including one for Steve Kazee for his heartbreaking lead performance. He co-stars with the charming Cristin Milioti.
2. Tribes – Nina Raine’s wonderful play deals powerfully with the issues that arise from communities and the feeling of being left out of one. No doubt that we will see this fantastic play here in DC in an upcoming season soon.
3. One Man, Two Guvnors – Tony Award winner James Corden leads this hysterically funny British update of Carlo Goldoni ‘s Servant of Two Masters, complete with dancehall embellishment.
4. Peter and the Starcatcher – This wonderfully theatrical prequel to Peter Pan featured award-winning production values and strong performances all around including Tony Award winner Christian Borle’s hysterical take as Captain Hook.
5. Death of a Salesman – This stellar revival of the original 1949 production (including the original set design and music) starred a shattering Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Willy Loman while Spiderman’s Andrew Garfield soared to new heights as Biff.
6. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf – Coming from our own Arena Stage (via Chicago), this solid Steppenwolf revival, starring actor-playwright Tracy Letts and Steppenwolf regular, Amy Morton, was directed with finesse by Pam MacKinnon. Martha finally meets her match in Letts’ formidable George.
7. Newsies – Featuring amazing Tony Award-winning choreography, a charming lead performance by Jeremy Jordan and a rousing score by Alan Menkin (finally garnering him a Tony Award ), this new musical – based on the cult Disney film -delighted young and old in 2012.
8. The Mystery of Edwin Drood– A dazzling revival of the Victorian dance hall musical by Rupert Holmes based on Charles Dickens’ final and incomplete novel lets the audience decide the end of the story. And on top of that, the show brings the tireless Chita Rivera back to Broadway.
9. Cock – Don’t judge this show by the title; Mike Bartlett’s Olivier Award-winning searing bisexual love triangle, performed in the round, drew audiences deep into this heartbreaking superlatively acted drama.
10. End of the Rainbow – Tracie Bennett’s polarizing portrayal of Judy Garland in her last days had New York talking this spring. Whether you think she pulled it off or not, there is no doubt that she threw herself into the role with everything she had and was a marvel to watch. And those songs!