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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Best of Stage 2007

(Sorry, I'm a little late with my last few best of lists for 2007 and I know its passé to publish them in 2008 when I should be posting about the new year but I've been a bit sick and busy so just deal with it... aren't I off to a nice start in the new year? (I'm not a good patient))

I went a little theatre crazy in 2007 and saw more shows on stage than I did movies, which usually NEVER happens. So for once, I've actually seen enough stage shows to actually pick out a Best of List! So here's what I thought were the best of stage this year. I have made it a rule though that it's based on everything I've seen this year, including older shows that opened in previous years, but excluding productions that I've already seen in previous years (which would thus exclude my top 3 current shows Spring Awakening, Company and A Chorus Line as well as Wicked). I've also listed all the shows I've seen in 2007 after the jump, from my favorite Spring Awakening, to the so bad it's craptacular We Will Rock You).

So here are my picks for the Best of Stage for 2007:

1. Parade - (Musical) Donmar Warehouse - London (My Review) - By presenting the epic musical on the tiny stage at the Donmar, the terribly personal and tragic tale of Leo Frank is enhanced into mesmerizing and unforgetable proportions with Jason Scott Brown's haunting music playing crystal clear in my memory.


2. Fuerzabruta - (Performance Event) Daryl Roth Theatre, Off-Broadway New York (My Review) - De La Guarda is back with another experience you cannot miss, with bigger toys creating images you won't forget. Just don't forget, you will get wet on this ride!


3. West Side Story Suite & Glass Pieces & In The Night - (Ballet) National Ballet of Canada - Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto (My Review) - Apparently, I DO love the ballet. I came for West Side Story but I fell in love with the first act Glass Pieces in a modern ballet set, with dancers set in a random chaotic yet orderly motion in a subway station until there are moments of connections, moments of unity, moments when all human souls act and react the same way. Simplicity at its best! Totally beautiful!


4. Traces - les 7 doights de la main/ the 7 fingers' - (Circus) Panasonic Theatre - Toronto (My Review) - Wow, the 5 young hot circus performers take circus to the streets in this edgier version of the circus.


5. Jersey Boys - (Musical) August Wilson Theater - Broadway, New York (My Review) - I admit defeat. It's actually really good and a lot of fun, jukebox be damnit, and the talented cast made the songs of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons into a surprisingly entertaining and moving evening.


6. August: Osage County - (Play) Imperial Theatre - Broadway, New York (My Review) - A happy family this ain't, but a happy viewer you will be, in a surprisingly fast paced evening that slowly grips you into the despair and dysfunctional Weston family of Osage County.


7. High School Musical: On Tour - (Musical) National Tour - The Princess of Wales Theatre - Toronto (My Review, Second Review) - Mock me as you may but this was a by-the-books well-put-together-gosh-darnit good and fun musical that had me smiling at every corny pun and humming with every simple tune and I loved every minute of it. Twice!


8. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - (Musical) National Tour - The Princess of Wales Theatre - Toronto (My Review) - Creepy and haunting as Sondheim intended (and unfortunately if we had a better lead, which apparently came from Broadway a week later to replace the one I saw, it would have ranked higher on the list).


9. White Christmas The Musical - (Musical) Sony Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto (My Review) - I do love Christmas and maybe it was the free gingerbread cookies or the eggnog talking but I enjoyed every white flaky moment of this old fashioned musical.


10. Cirque du Soleil's Koozå (KOOZA) - (Circus) Le Grande Chapiteau at the Port Lands - Toronto (My Review) - Cirque du Soleil brings it back to the circus basics and it may not be as flashy as some of their other shows, it was still just as thrilling and drop-your-mouth stunning.


11. Little Shop of Horrors - (Musical) The Canadian Stage Company - Bluma Appel Theatre - St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts - Toronto (My Review) - It was a by-the-books (or movie) revival but it made me love this musical again (after a Broadway version that failed to impress) in a light and brainless fun musical way!


12. Xanadu - (Musical) Helen Hayes Theatre - Broadway, New York (My Review) - Silly and stupid, campy and cornball, but while Xanadu, a new stage musical based on the horrific movie of the same name isn't perfect, I seem to want to see it again a lot, with amazing performances from almost everyone in the cast on songs that are better than you remember them from the times your mom played them on the LP. Plus free Glo Stix! Cheyenne Jackson in hot pants! Mirrorballs galore! And free Glo Stix!


Here, below, is every show I saw in 2007 in alphabetical order (with my new ratings system based on 5 stars *****):

A Chorus Line - (Musical Revival) Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, Broadway, New York (My 3rd Review, My 4th Review *****)

All About My Mother - (Play) The Old Vic - London (My Review ***)

Altar Boyz - (Musical) New World Stages - Off-Broadway, New York (My Review ***1/2)

August: Osage County - (Play) Imperial Theatre - Broadway, New York (My Review ****)

The Boy Friend - (Musical Revival) Regent's Park Open Air Theatre - London (My Review ***)

Caroline, Or Change - (Musical Revival) National Theatre - London (My Review **)

Cirque du Soleil's Wintuk - (Circus) Madison Square Gardens Wamu Theatre - New York (My Review ***)

Cirque du Soleil's Koozå (KOOZA) - (Circus) Le Grande Chapiteau at the Port Lands - Toronto (My Review ****)

Company - (Musical Review) Barrymore Theatre - Broadway, New York (My 2nd Review, My 3rd Review *****)

Curtains - (Musical) Al Hirschfeld Theatre - Broadway, New York (My Review **1/2)

Die Mommie Die - (Play) New World Stages - Off-Broadway New York (My Review **1/2)

Dr Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical - (Musical) St. James Theatre - Broadway, New York (My Review *1/2)

Evil Dead: The Musical - (Musical) Diesel Playhouse - Toronto (My Re-Review ***1/2)

Fuerzabruta - (Performance Event) Daryl Roth Theatre - Off-Broadway, New York (My Review ****1/2)

Funny Business The Musical - (Musical) Diesel Playhouse Cabaret - Toronto (My Review **)

Grey Gardens - (Musical) Walter Kerr Theater - Broadway, New York (My Review ***)

Half Life - (Play) Canadian Stage Company - Bluma Appel Theatre - Toronto (**)

High School Musical: On Tour - (Musical) National Tour - The Princess of Wales Theatre - Toronto (My Review, Second Review ****)

Is He Dead? - (Play) Lyceum Theatre - Broadway, New York (My Review ***)

Jersey Boys - (Musical) August Wilson Theater - Broadway, New York (My Review ****)

Jewtopia - (Play) Diesel Playhouse - Toronto (My Review 1/2*)

Legally Blonde - (Musical) Palace Theatre - Broadway, New York (My Review ***)

Little Shop of Horrors - (Musical) The Canadian Stage Company - Bluma Appel Theatre - St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts - Toronto (My Review ****)

The Merry Widow - (Ballet) The National Ballet of Canada - Four Seasons For The Performing Arts Centre - Toronto (My Review ****)

Monty Pythons' Spamalot - (Musical) Shubert Theatre - Broadway, New York (My Review **)

My One and Only - (Musical Review) Avon Theatre - Stratford Festival - Stratford, ON (My Review **1/2)

Oklahoma! - (Musical Revival) Festival Theatre - Stratford Festival - Stratford, ON (My Review ***)

Parade - (Musical) Donmar Warehouse - London (My Review *****)

Radio City Christmas Spectacular - (Event) Radio City Music Hall - New York (My Review *)

Rent - (Musical) Nederlander Theatre - Broadway, New York (My Re-review ***1/2)

Seussical - (Musical Revival) Lucille Lortel Theater - Off-Broadway, New York (My Review ***1/2)

So You Think You Can Dance 2007 Live Tour - (Dance) Air Canada Centre Theatre - Toronto (My Review ***1/2)

Spring Awakening - (Musical) Eugene O'Neill Theatre - Broadway, New York (My 2nd Review, My 3rd Review, My 4th Review, My 5th Review *****)

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - (Musical) National Tour - The Princess of Wales Theatre - Toronto (My Review ****)

Take Flight - (Musical) The Menier Chocolate Factory - London (My Review **1/2)

The Threepenny Opera - (Musical) Soulpepper's Young Center For the Performing Arts - Toronto (My Review *1/2)

Traces - les 7 doights de la main/ the 7 fingers' - (Circus) Panasonic Theatre - Toronto (My Review ****1/2)

West Side Story Suite & Glass Pieces & In The Night - (Ballet) National Ballet of Canada - Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto (My Review ****1/2)

We Will Rock You - (Musical) Canon Theatre - Toronto (My Review *1/2)

Wicked - (Musical) Gershwin Theatre - Broadway, New York (***1/2)

White Christmas The Musical - (Musical) Sony Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto (My Review ****)

Xanadu - (Musical) Helen Hayes Theatre - Broadway, New York (My Review ****)

Young Frankenstein - (Musical) Hilton Theatre - Broadway, New York (**)

So that's Spring Awakening x 5 in 2007 (haven't written review # 6 yet)
Company x 2
A Chorus Line x 2
High School Musical: On Tour x 2

Musicals x 35 - Individual Musicals x 29
Plays x 6
Circus x 3
Ballet x 2
Fuerzabruta's x 1
So You Think You Can Dance's x 1
Radio City Christmas Spectacular x 1

Well, usually I see a lot of plays but apparently this year it hurt my brain too much, I'll have to add more into 2008.


Best of 2007 Lists:
Best of Music 2007
Best of Television 2007
Best of Movies 2007
Best of Stage 2007
Best of 2007 (The Final Wrap Up)

Previous Best-of Lists:
Best of Music 2006
Best of Television Fall '06 - Winter '07 List
Best of Television 2006
Best of Movies 2006
Best of 2006

Best of Television Fall '05 - Winter '06 List
Best of Television 2005
Best of Movies 2005

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