Tapeworthy

Monday, January 05, 2009

Best of Stage 2008

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com:

So I went to the theatre 96 times last year, though that includes plays, musicals, ballet, dance and the opera (and also includes repeat viewings). From Broadway to fringe and everything in between. In New York, London, Toronto, L.A., Washington D.C., Boston, Connecticut and Hong Kong! It also explains why it took this long to compile this end-of-year-round-up and why it's only finally up now.

I went a little nuts didn't I? I finally saw a lot of classic musicals that I had never seen on stage, some which blew me away (you'll see on the list) and some that didn't quite live up to expectations (My Fair Lady, Wonderful Town). While no new musicals really had the impact that Spring Awakening had on me, there were some fresh ones that still helped broaden the definition of musical theatre in a good way (including the much maligned Glory Days which I actually really liked (in its smaller pre-Broadway incarnation at the small Signature Theatre in D.C.)). I saw a lot more plays this year as I promised myself I would do last year (though only a few really made a huge impact on me). I continued with my new love for the ballet and dance, while I continued to try opera and just could not get myself into it.

Here are my picks for the Best of Stage for 2008. Only shows I've seen for the first time are eligible (even if they opened before 2008), so that means I don't count repeat viewings of Spring Awakening, Billy Elliot, Xanadu, Jersey Boys, Avenue Q, A Chorus Line and High School Musical that I've seen in previous years (unless it's a brand new version like the new revival of Les Mis at the Signature, which does count). If you noticed, I sort of cheated a bit too but it's my list so I can do whatever I want with it!

At the end after the jump is the list of all 85 individual productions I saw this year in alphabetical order and my grading. Most shows (even the classic plays and musicals) were the first time I had ever seen them live on stage.

The Best of Stage for 2008:

1. Black Watch (Play) - Varsity Arena, Toronto, ON and Off-Broadway at St. Ann's Warehouse, Brooklyn, NY - (Review) *****

Theatricality at its best. Melding dance and choreography, song and music, special visual and sound effects and videos and projections, straight forward storytelling and abstract physical movements. All to tell the tale of the Scottish Black Watch soldiers in their ordeal in Iraq. It was visceral and eviscerating without ever becoming condescending or preachy. All the play does is to let the soldiers stories speak for themselves and in that simple premise, using an amazingly imaginative storytelling technique, was the most powerful theatre of the year.


2. Hair (Musical Revival) - Delacorte Theatre Central Park, New York, NY - (Review) *****

There was a peace in the warm air in Central Park last summer and director Diane Paulus re-invigorated what has now been thought of as an old dated musical into something that was relevant, shining, vibrant, powerfully hopeful and very much needed in our current political times. Did I mention the show is simply sensational and entertaining to watch too? And it's (hopefully) coming to Broadway (Previews begin Mar. 6 2009, Opens Mar. 31 2009!)


3. Kiss of the Spider Woman (Musical Revival) - Signature Max Theatre - Arlington, VA (Greater Washington DC) - (Review) *****

A gigantic and epic show fills the small Max Theatre at the Signature in D.C. (a new discovery for me this year that is seemingly having quite an epic (if slightly turbulent) year themselves) but at the core of this big song and dance musical is a very gritty and disturbing story of two men being jailed, one for being gay and the other for being a revolutionary and their unlikely bond in the face of being tortured. Hunter Foster and Will Chase were both revelatory in their roles and director Eric Schaeffer stages the show with a perfect mix of dream-like sequence and brutal grittiness.


4. Passing Strange (Musical) - Belasco Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - (Review) ****1/2

It all sounded very pretentious and worthy of a groan. A black middle-class suburban kid (feigning to be from the 'hood) tries to find himself and explore his music and artistic sides and moves to Amsterdam and Berlin. Oh, and it's a musical. Oh, and it's a rock musical. Oh, and the set consists of a few chairs, the band sitting centrally on stage, and a huge fluorescent light wall (by Kevin Adams (Spring Awakening), who really needs to do my house one of these days).

But the show by real rock musicians Stew and Heidi Rodewall and the direction by Annie Dorsen, along with a breakout cast including Daniel Breaker (Shrek the Musical), De'Adre Aziza and Colman Domingo, is nothing but boring, pretentious or will elicit any groans. Instead, the brilliant cast and band emanate an energy that feels transcending and moves the surprisingly emotional and funny story of, essentially, growing up into a realm that moves musical theatre into a new wave that will elicit moans of joyous ecstasy and strangely satisfyingly theatrical fulfillment.

Spike Lee filmed the final performance and it will debut at the Sundance Film Festival and hopefully will make its way to cinemas across the country.


5. Gypsy/On The Town/West Side Story

Gypsy - (Musical Revival) - St. James Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - (Review) ****1/2


On The Town - (Musical Revival in Concert) - New York City Center - Off-Broadway, New York, NY - (Review) ****1/2


West Side Story - (Musical Revival) - National Theatre - Washington, D.C. - (Review) ****1/2

3 Revivals. 2 currently being directed by Arthur Laurents (G and WWS). 2 originating from the Encores City Center Series (G and OTT). 2 with beautiful original choreography from Jerome Robbins (OTT and WWS). 2 with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim (G and WWS). 2 have the music of Leonard Bernstein (OTT and WWS). 2 with books by Arthur Laurents (G and WSS). 2 starred Tony Yazbeck (G and OTT). All 3 were simply mesmerizing.

Gypsy gives Patti LuPone the tour de force role her BIG BIG presence needs but it's the magic of Laura Benanti and Boyd Gaines that truly won me over and brought the heart of the show into full view. On The Town was simply just a fun fun FUN show with incredibly choreography and a truly fantastic cast in fantastic roles with a lovable Tony Yazbeck leading the way. Jessica Lee Goldyn, Leslie Kritzer, Christian Borle, Jennifer Laura Thompson and Andrea Martin simply knocked the show out of ... town in what is supposed to JUST be a concert version of the show but felt full and satisfying. The new West Side Story revival (arriving on Broadway in Feb. 2009) is grittier and more foreign, with whole scenes and songs retranslated back into Spanish and it works without feeling gimmicky. The show feels more authentic and dark, or at least as dark as a show can get when male gang members are dancing in beautiful unison to Jerome Robbins' ballet choreography.

All three revivals turned old shows into something that felt fresh and brand new but also kept the entertainment value high while turning up the emotions. Oh, and the music in all three are marvelous.


6. An Italian Straw Hat/Rooster/Cinderella/The Fiddle and The Drum - (Ballet) - The National Ballet of Canada (with guests The Alberta Ballet for The Fiddle and The Drum) - The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON

An Italian Straw Hat - (Review) ****1/2


Rooster & Soldiers' Mass & 24 Preludes by Chopin - (Review) ****


Cinderella - (Review) ****


The Fiddle and The Drum & Etudes & the second detail & Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan - (Review) ****

I never thought ballet could be hilarious, moving, dark and soul-wrenching, silly, and satirical but the National Ballet of Canada's Artistic Director Karen Kain programmed a second half of '07-'08 season that was all that and breathtakingly more. From the silly satirical spectacle of An Italian Straw Hat that bounced its way around a stage, to the energetic rock impounding movements of the Rolling Stones' Rooster, to the delicate and lovely classic of Cinderella to the throbbing and dishearteningly soul-wrenching war-piece The Fiddle and The Drum, the Canadian ballet company took its audience in every emotional direction possible. Who knew pointed toes and tutu's could be that powerful and entertaining?


7. The Sound Of Music (Musical Revival) - The Princess of Wales Theatre - Toronto, ON - ****1/2

It was the first time I've ever seen The Sound of Music live on stage and it has the benefit and detriment of trying to live up to my favorite movie of all time. Luckily, the new grand production currently playing in Toronto (and copied from the version that played in London) knew exactly how to play the extremely cheesy and hokey musical, milking all the sentimental moments to perfection. Elicia McKenzie, the lead who was cast through a reality TV show, proves that reality TV can actually get it right sometimes and is simply darling as Maria and manages not only to stay afloat but take charge of the stage (and the 7 adorable Von Trapp children) in a large and luscious revival that finally gets these things right. Director Jeremy Sams (who also directed 13, see below) manages to keep a steady balance between the sentimentality, the grand scale of the show, the darker tones (with a fabulous transformation of the entire theatre into the Nazi stadium that is incredibly eerie) and all those famous songs we already have ingrained in our heads, and still manages to keep it fresh and fun. While Burke Moses is the surprising weak link (I loved him in the original cast of Beauty and the Beast on Broadway), the rest of the gigantic cast is great.


8. Chapel/Chapter (Dance) - Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company on Tour - Harbourfront Centre Enwave Theatre - Toronto, ON (Review) ****1/2

With a stage floor that looks like part hopscotch and part church nave, Bill T. Jones and company use dance to tell the morbid tales of 3 murders. Using technology and audio visuals and powerful music, the dancers also speak to become actors in a truly disturbing and powerful essay on life and death.


9. 6 Characters In Search of an Author (Play Revival) - Gielgud Theatre - London UK - (Review) ****

I'm still not EXACTLY sure what went on, but this newly interpreted and updated revival of Pirandello's Italian mobius strip play was thought provoking and haunting with layers and layers being piled on (or is it revealed?) through the course of the "show". Or is that the show within the show? Or is that the DVD of the show being filmed on the stage in the theatre we are sitting in viewing it while the actors leave the theatre we are sitting in to interact with THEIR world which has now expanded beyond the stage into our world? Man, it was F#$KED UP and I loved it!


10. Streamers (Play Revival) - Roundabout at the Laura Pels Theatre - Off-Broadway New York, NY - (Review) ****

The play starts off as a pretty smart and insightful look at the typical barracks of soldiers awaiting to be sent off to war (this case, Vietnam), but turns into a disturbing glance into social collisions of the different classes living in America. This revival production is clean and uncluttered with a superb star-making turn by Hale Appleman as the good but gay soldier who sets off a train of events and discussions that eventually lead to an unexpected but emotionally heart-wrenching ending.


11. 13 (Musical) - Goodspeed's Norma Terris Theatre - Chester, CT & Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - (Review from Goodspeed, Review from Broadway) ****

You can look down and dismiss this teenage musical as much as you ignore teenagers in real life but it would be a shame not to check out the wit and joy of exuberant youth behind this fresh new musical with a great energetic score by Jason Robert Brown. The awe inspiring young cast and band of teenagers impressively pull off singing and playing to JRB's intricate music while dancing to Christopher Gatelli's aerobic choreography and while the story may be pretty plain and simple, the emotions and lessons of growing up are not.


12. A Catered Affair (Musical) - Walter Kerr Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - (Review) ****

I'll be honest. I went in expecting to be completely bored. This was the "grown up" musicals for people that loved Grey Gardens and Caroline, or Change. Musicals that generally bored me (well, I loved Act 2 of GG but Act 1 was a snoozefest). I laughed when it got snubbed by the Tony's because it all seemed too much like it was "good for me". So here was another chamber musical about a regular family in the olden days as they prepare for the daughter's wedding, starring some Broadway stalwarts (Harvey Fierstein, Tom Wopat and Faith Prince) and up-and-comers (Leslie Kritzer (On the Town above) and Matt Cavanaugh (West Side Story above). I even downed a large caffeinated drink in preparation for my expensive nap.

Maybe the caffeine helped but I was surprisingly drawn into this little world of a family struggling to pay for their daughters wedding. Simple story. Huge emotional drama that was incredibly moving and quite beautiful. The music (which sounded boring in a preview disc I heard) was lush and swaying and the performances were top notch. Though more like a play with music than an actual musical, I was still surprised at how memorable this "boring grown up musical" actually was, and is definitely an affair I'll remember.


13. In The Heights (Musical) - Richard Rogers Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - (1st Original Review) ****

A fun and spirited new musical that injects hip-hop and latin beats onto the a traditional musical mold and while the show isn't as strong as it should be (mostly due to a weak book), the AMAZING choreography from Andy Blankenbuehler and the energy from the cast and lead Lin-Manuel Miranda (who also wrote the musical) manage to cover up any of the weak spots in the show.


14. The Visit (Musical) - Signature Max Theatre - Arlington, Virgina (Greater Washington D.C.) - (Review) ****

Chita Rivera is back and out for revenge! Sadly she doesn't really dance anymore but she still holds a commanding grip of the stage and over her home town she's re-visiting. Strange (with eunuchs?!?), dark and twisted, this latest "new" musical from Kander & Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman), based on an old Swiss play, is strangely compelling and while the music may sound similar to some of Kander & Ebb's best and more famous works, that's not necessarily a bad thing.


15. [title of show] (Musical) - Lyceum Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - (Review) ****

They finally made it to Broadway and I finally made it into New York to see this "Original Musical"! While the musical that 2 guys (Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell) wrote about 2 guys writing musical about 2 guys writing a musical wasn't my favorite thing (or even my 9th favorite thing, I guess more like my 15th favorite thing) on Broadway, the entire genesis of the show, from its humble beginnings as a project for the New York Musical Theatre Festival, to Off-Broadway, to youtube to their Broadway debut, is simply so lovable that it's still hard not to be a favorite of some kind. And Heidi Blickenstaff and Susan Blackwell round off the show with terrific softness and bite (in respective orders) that the running joke of the musical itself, itself a commentary between art and commerce, while not completely accurate, is still pretty darn funny.



Shows That I Would Have Made The List Given More Time To Digest or With More Viewings Because I Was Growing To Love It: Sunday in the Park with George (both "Sunday"'s ending each act was breathtaking)

Actors To Watch For in the Future Who Are Doing Multiple Duties:
Daniel Breaker in Passing Strange and Shrek
Curtis Holbrook in Xanadu, Saved and West Side Story
Andrew C. Call in Glory Days and Les Miserables at the Signature (as an amazing Marius)
Rebecca Naomi Jones in Passing Strange and Wig Out
Aaron Tveit in Saved and Next to Normal
Van Hughes in Saved and 9 to 5
Karen Olivo in In the Heights and West Side Story
Tony Yazbeck in Gypsy and On The Town
Leslie Kritzer in On The Town and A Catered Affair
Robert Stephens in Rooster, An Italian Straw Hat, In The Upper Room
Cheyenne Jackson in Xanadu, Damn Yankees, and The [title of show] Show
Jonathan Groff in Spring Awakening, Hair and Prayer for the Enemy
Alexander Gemignani in Sunday in the Park with George and Road Show
Jeff Madden in Wonderful Town and Jersey Boys (Toronto)


Other Breakout Performances:
Martha Plimpton in Pal Joey
Allie Trimm in 13
Jennifer Damiano in Next to Normal
De'Adre Aziza in Passing Strange
Lin-Manuel Miranda in In the Heights
Hale Appleman in Streamers
Cody Green in West Side Story
Josefina Scaglione in West Side Story
Jeff Lillico in Salt-water Moon
Daniel Evans in Sunday in the Park with George
Lisa Horner in Wonderful Town
Andrew Rannells in Jersey Boys (Tour)
Zoe Kazan in The Seagull
Nikki M. James in Caesar and Cleopatra
Daniel Radcliffe in Equus
Gregory Jbara in Billy Elliott
Elicia McKenzie in The Sound of Music
Patrick Wilson in All My Sons


Worst Show I Saw in 2008: There were some doozies, including Cooped, Misery and Fire, all in Toronto, but the worst show I saw was hands down Dirty Dancing in Toronto, which has also been successfully running in London, Sydney and now Chicago, and opening in Boston and on Broadway soon. Be warned.
It's not even so-bad-it's-good like We Will Rock You. DD is just BAD.


Here is every Stage Show I saw in 2008 in alphabetical order. All reviews are based on a 5 stars system:


3 Mo' Divas (Musical Revue) - National Tour - Winter Garden Theatre - Toronto, ON - *** (Review)

6 Characters In Search of an Author (Play Revival) - Gielgud Theatre - London UK - **** (Review)

9 to 5 (Musical) - Ahmanson Theatre - Los Angeles, CA - ***1/2 (Review)

13 x 3 (Musical) - Goodspeed's Norma Terris Theatre - Chester, CT & Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - **** (Review from Goodspeed, Review from Broadway x 2)

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Musical) - National Tour - Elgin Theatre - Toronto, ON - **** (Review)

The 39 Steps (Play) - Cort Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - ***1/2 (Review)

A Catered Affair (Musical) - Walter Kerr Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - **** (Review)

A Chorus Line (Musical Revival) - National Tour - Canon Theatre - Toronto, ON - *** (Original ***** Pre-Broadway Review)

A Man For All Seasons (Play) - American Airlines Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - ** (Review)

A Man of No Importance (Musical Revival) - Acting Up Stage Theatre Company - Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs - Toronto, ON - ***1/2 (Review)

ACE (Musical) - Signature Max Theatre - Arlington, Virginia (Greater Washington, D.C.) - **1/2 (Review)

Adding Machine (Musical) - Minetta Lane Theatre - Off Broadway, New York, NY - ** (Review)

All My Sons (Play Revival) - Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - ***1/2 (Review)

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

An Italian Straw Hat (Ballet) - The National Ballet of Canada - Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - ****1/2 (Review)

Avenue Q (Musical) - National Tour - Elgin Theatre - Toronto, ON - **** (Review)

Bash'd (Musical) - Zipper Factory Theater - Off-Broadway, New York, NY - Original Review ***1/2, Now *** (Review)

Beyond Mozambique (Play Revival) - Factory Theatre, Toronto, ON - ** (Review)

Billy Elliot (Musical) - Imperial Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - **** (Review)

Black Watch x 2 - (Play) - Varsity Arena, Toronto, ON & St. Ann's Warehouse - Off-Broadway, Brooklyn, NY - ***** (1st Review, 2nd Review)

Boeing Boeing (Play Revival) - Longacre Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - ***1/2 (Review)

Caesar and Cleopatra (Play Revival) - Stratford Shakespeare Festival Theatre - Stratford, ON - ***1/2 (Review)

Chapel/Chapter (Dance) - Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company on Tour - Harbourfront Centre Enwave Theatre - Toronto, ON - ****1/2 (Review)

Cinderella (Ballet) - National Ballet of Canada - Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - **** (Review)

Closer (Play Revival) - Annex Theatre - Toronto, ON - ***

Cooped (Play) - Spymonkey on Tour - Premiere Dance Theatre - Toronto, ON - * (Review)

Damn Yankees (Musical Revival) - New York City Center - Off-Broadway, New York, NY - **** (Review)

Dirty Dancing (Musical) - Royal Alexandria Theatre - Toronto, ON - 1/2 star (Review)

Dividing the Estate (Play) - Broadway, New York, NY - ***1/2 (Review)

Edges (Musical) - Acting Up Stage Theatre Company - Revival Bar - Toronto, ON - **1/2

Equus (Play Revival) - Broadhurst Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - ***1/2 (Review)

Eugene Onegin (Opera) - Canadian Opera Company - Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - **1/2

Fatal Combination Murder Mystery (Dinner Theatre) - Butterfield's Quarry Bay - Hong Kong - *1/2

The Fiddle and The Drum & Etudes & the second detail & Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan (Ballet) - The National Ballet of Canada with guests The Alberta Ballet - The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - **** (Review)

Fire (Musical Revival) - Canstage - St. Lawrence Centre for the Performing Arts Bluma Theatre - Toronto, ON - *1/2 - (Review)

Glory Days (Musical) - Signature Max Theatre - Arlington, VA (Greater Washington, D.C.) - **** (Review)

Gypsy x 2 (Musical Revival) - St. James Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - ****1/2 (1st Review, 2nd Review)

Hair x 2 (Musical Revival) - Delacorte Theatre Central Park, New York, NY - ***** (Review)

The Happy Time (Musical Revival) - Signature Ark Theatre - Arlington, VA (Greater Washington, D.C.) - *** (Review)

High School Musical (Musical) - National Tour - National Theater - Washington, D.C. - **** (Review)

In The Heights x2 (Musical) - Richard Rogers Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - Original Review ****1/2, Now **** (Review)

In The Upper Room & Symphony in C & Polyphonia (Ballet) - The National Ballet of Canada - Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - ***1/2 (Review)

Ivanov (Play Revival) - Donmar in the West End - Wyndham Theatre - London, UK - *** (Review)

Jersey Boys (Musical) - Toronto Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - **** (Review)

Kiss of the Spider Woman (Musical Revival) - Signature Max Theatre - Arlington, VA (Greater Washington, D.C.) - ***** (Review)

The Last 5 Years (Musical Revival) - Bread & Circus Theatre Bar - Toronto, ON **** (Review)

Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Play Revival) - Roundabout Theatre Company - American Airlines Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - Original Review ***1/2, Now *** (Review)

Les Miserables (Musical Revival) - Signature Max Theatre - Arlington, VA (Greater Washington, D.C.) - **** (Review)

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Parts I (Play Revival) - The Princess of Wales Theatre - Toronto, ON - *** (Review)

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Part II (Play Revival) - The Princess of Wales Theatre - Toronto, ON - *** (Review)

Macbeth (Play Revival) - Lyceum Theatre - Broadway, New York - Original Review ****, Now *** (1st Review)

Misery (Play) - CanStage - St. Laurence Centre for the Arts Bluma Theatre - Toronto, ON - * (Review)

My Fair Lady (Musical Revival) - National Tour - Toronto Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - ***1/2 (Review)

Next to Normal (Musical) - Arena Stage Theater - Washington, D.C. - *** (Review)

On The Town (Musical Revival in Concert) - New York City Center - Off-Broadway, New York, NY - ****1/2 (Review)

The Nutcracker (Ballet) - National Ballet of Canada - Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - ***

Pal Joey x2 (Musical Revival) - Studio 54 - Broadway, New York, NY - Original Review ****, Now ***1/2 (Review)

Passing Strange (Musical) - Belasco Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - ****1/2 (Review)

The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks (Musical) - Lucille Lortel Theater - Off-Broadway, New York, NY - *** (Review

Prayer for the Enemy (Play) - Playwrights Horizon - Off-Broadway, New York, NY - ***1/2 (Review)

Road Show (Musical) - Off-Broadway, New York, NY - ***1/2 (Review)

Rooster & Soldiers' Mass & 24 Preludes by Chopin (Ballet) - National Ballet of Canada - Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON **** (Review)

Salt-water Moon - Soulpepper Theatre Company - Young Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - *** (Review)

Saved (Musical)- Playwrights Horizon Theatre - Off-Broadway, New York, NY - *** (Review)

The Seagull (Play Revival) - Walter Kerr Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - ** (Review)

She Loves Me (Musical Revival) - Huntington Boston University Theatre - Boston, MA - **** (Review)

Shrek (Musical) - Broadway Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - ** (Review)

Some Americans Abroad (Play Revival) - Second Stage Theatre - Off-Broadway, New York, NY - **1/2 (Review)

The Sound Of Music (Musical Revival) - The Princess of Wales Theatre - Toronto, ON - ****1/2

South Pacific (Musical Revival) - Vivian Beaumont Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - Original Review ****, Now ***1/2 (Review)

So You Think You Can Dance Season 4 Tour (Dance) - Nokia Theater - Los Angeles, CA - *** (Review)

Speed-the-Plow (Play Revival) - Broadway, New York, NY - ***1/2 (Review)

Spring Awakening x3 (Musical) - Eugene O'Neill Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - ***** (7th Viewing Review, 8th and 9th Viewing Review)

Streamers (Play Revival) - Roundabout at the Laura Pels Theatre - Off-Broadway New York, NY - **** (Review)

Sunday in the Park with George (Musical Revival) - Studio 54 - Broadway New York, NY - **** ( Review)

tick, tick... BOOM! (Musical Revival) - Rose Theatre - Brampton, ON - ***

[title of show] (Musical) - Lyceum Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - **** (Review)

Tosca (Opera) - Canadian Opera Company - Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - **1/2 (Review)

Twelve Angry Men (Play Revival) - Roundabout Theatre Company On Tour - The Princess of Wales Theatre - Toronto, ON - **** (Review)

Umoja (Musical) - Elgin Theatre - Toronto, ON - Original Review ***1/2, Now **1/2 (Review)

The Visit (Musical) - Signature Max Theatre - Arlington, Virgina (Greater Washington D.C.) - **** (Review)

West Side Story x3 (Musical Revival) - National Theater - Washington, D.C. - ****1/2

Wig Out (Play) - Vineyard Theatre - Off-Broadway, New York, NY - **** (Review)

Wonderful Town (Musical Revival) - Shaw Festival - Festival Theatre - Niagara-on-The-Lake, ON - ***1/2 (Review)

Xanadu (Musical) - Helen Hayes Theater - Broadway, New York, NY - **** (Review)



Best of 2008 Lists:
Best of Music 2008
Best of Television 2008
Best of Stage 2008
Best of Movies 2008
Best of 2008 (The Final Wrap Up)
Best of Television Fall '07 - Winter '08 List

Previous Best-of Lists:
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)
Best of Television Fall '06 - Winter '07 List

Best of 2006 Lists:
Best of Music 2006
Best of Television 2006
Best of Movies 2006
Best of 2006
Best of Television Fall '05 - Winter '06 List

Best of 2005 Lists:
Best of Television 2005
Best of Movies 2005

1 comment:

Esther said...

Hey Vance,
Wow, what an incredible year you had! Mazal tov!

I'm so glad I finally got a chance to meet you and that you encouraged me to see Black Watch. Thank-you! I never would have seen it without you. (It's too far, it's in Brooklyn, yada, yada, yada!) It truly was an incredible piece of theatre. Beyond all of the imaginative storytelling techniques, I thought the actors playing the soldiers were superb.

And I definitely agree with the other shows on your list that we both saw. I think A Catered Affair and 13 were both unfairly maligned by the critics. A Catered Affair told a simple story so well, with such poignancy and finely drawn characters and absolutely beautiful music.

I almost didn't see 13 and I'm so glad I did. Part of it was that even though I'm old enough to be his mother, I related to Evan's story. I think we've all felt like an outsider at one time or another. And the music, the acting, the choreography were all so energetic. It was a funny sweet story.

My biggest disappointment is missing Hair in Central Park. So it's definitely on my list for 2009.

And, finally, I will definitely avoid Dirty Dancing when it comes to Boston!

International Jock Crocs, Inc. Bare Necessities>