Tapeworthy

Monday, December 10, 2018

Code Grey - The Code - Play Review

The Code - Green Thumb Theatre in the Studio at Young People's Theatre - Toronto, ON - **** (out of 5 stars) 
Written by Rachel Aberle, Directed by Patrick McDonald
Runs until Dec. 14th 2018, continues on tour. 

               

The Code starts off with three friends in high school, 2 guys and 1 girl, as they react to a new school dress code policy. Through insinuations spreading through social media, Moira, is somehow blamed by the student body. In an attempt to clear her name, Moira, with the help of her best friends Simon and Connor, help start a protest, which unfortunately has unintended consequences which fracture the trio of friends. When Simon also learns his crush on Moira is not reciprocated, his reaction and actions causes a chain reaction that questions his loyalty and what true friendship ever is.

In the short span of the 55 minute play, Aberle manages to lay out some complicated issues in a very logical, plausible and realistic way, in a plot that twists and turns in its brief and efficient running time. Without clear answers, this issues driven play meant for teens, doesn't feel like a lesson plan but brings up interesting issues of loyalty, friendship, and more importantly, an ethics code especially in a world further complicated by social media and the internet.

In a particularly interesting, and often unexplored in a truly honest way in any play or show, Aberle delves into the "good guy" and the way men are often excused in their entitlement and terrible expectations just because they had acted as the "good guy" friend. When Simon finds out things are not going the way he had hoped, he does some terrible things. He isn't painted as an automatic villain, and still clings onto a good guy image, but Aberle lets things play out in a grey zone before we truly see what kind of man Simon really is, all while Moira learns of the reality of her friendship. The hidden misogyny and sexism, as well as male entitlement comes to light in this sharply written play as both Moira and Connor realize the broken trust as well as figuring out the next reactionary steps.

               

The cast from Vancouver, consisting of Elizabeth Barrett as Moira, Nathan Kay as Simon, and Mason Temple as Connor, are all terrific, and I hope to see more of these young actors on this side of Canada. With only a cast of three, we still feel the haunting wrath of this unseen student body, with McDonald efficiently directing the play in front of a simple brick wall and benches and some terrific lighting design (by Martin Conboy) that easily convey a school yard setting.




Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Sugar Highs and Lows - Mary Poppins and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Musical Reviews

Mary Poppins - Young People's Theatre - Toronto, ON - **** (out of 5 stars)
A Musical based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the Walt Disney Film
Original Music and Lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, Book by Julian Fellowes, New Songs and Additional Music and Lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe
Co-Created by Cameron Mackintosh, Directed by Them Allison, Choreographed by Kerry Gage
Runs until Jan. 6th, 2019

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Princess of Wales Theatre - Toronto, ON - ** (out of 5 stars)
Music by Marc Shaiman, Lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, Book by David Greig based on the book by Roald Dahl, Directed by Jack O'Brien, Choreographed by Joshua Bergasse
Runs in Toronto until Jan. 6th, 2019, continues on tour.


A tale of two "family" musicals (based on films based on books) playing in Toronto, and while not quite the best of musicals or the worst of musicals, the fact that both are currently running during this holiday season makes for an interesting comparison of these London import. With one in a local production at YPT with its more limited budget yet with shear talent, exuberant energy, and clever designs, enlivens the new, slightly darker take on Disney's Mary Poppins (and slightly more in tune with the original Travers book). On the other end, the big budget national tour of the Broadway version of Warner Bros.' Charlie and the Chocolate Factory looks far more polished yet seems to miss the soul of Roald Dahl's book, and feels more like a corporate cash grab in a musical that just plods along and somehow continuously flattens any wonder and surprise in a story full of pure imagination.


               

Young People's Theatre's Mary Poppins has a beautifully imposing simple set of the Banks' house (designed by Brandon Kleiman) where the naughty Banks children drives out yet another nanny before the wind calls for Mary Poppins to appear. The new revised stage version by Julian Fellowes took Travers' darker tone and while it tries to deepen the issues with overworked Mr. Banks and his patriarchal authority, there is a bit of an uneven pacing with the tone that didn't work on Broadway and still does not, even in this shortened version. And while I can be nitpicky about the book, it's hard to complain about the famous Sherman Brother songs. While the new additions by Stiles and Drewe are not as familiarly ingrained in our heads as those from the film, they fit in quite seamlessly and have the same joyously cheeky tone.

               

Whatever qualms I still had with the revised stage version of the beloved Disney film, all is cured with a spoonful of sugar and a superb cast lead by superstar in the making Vanessa Sears (Brantwood, Kinky Boots Toronto) as Mary Poppins. Sears has just the right tone of stern authority, mischievous heart and then there is her soaring voice that flies higher than a magical umbrella could ever take a magical nanny. Sears is simply superb and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious as Mary and her performance alone would have made this production soar. Sears however is joined by Kyle Blair (A Man of No Importance) as Bert and Jewelle Blackman (We Will Rock You, Caroline or Change) as Mrs. Bank and while both have done well with stints at Shaw or Stratford, hearing their beautiful voices just reminded me that we don't see enough of Blair and Blackman in Toronto musical theatre. It's also always nice to see Shane Carty as Mr. Banks, and Kyle Golemba, amongst a uniformly excellent ensemble (all dressed beautifully by William Layton's costumes).



               

The best thing about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was on our night, Rueby Wood as Charlie Bucket. Everything else seemed like a fascinating mix of all the wrong ingredients in a miscalculation of what a corporation's idea in forming a musical. The amazing thing is this touring version, based on the Broadway production, is a complete retooling of the London production. Despite a new book, a new director (Sam Mendes out, Jack O'Brien in, tho maybe not for the better), new sets, and apparently new songs (I saw the London production but could not tell you what changed since the songs were so unmemorable then, and still are), this new Broadway version is actually somewhat of an improvement from London. So that's the golden ticket lining?

               

By mostly re-structure the musical book by introducing Willy Wonka right from the opening number, in doing so, adds to more problems for the book in other ways. From there, moments that should be inherently wondrous and climatic seem to fizzle with little fanfare (like when Charlie finally finds the winning Golden ticket) thanks to O'Brien's lacklustre direction and a "stripped down" set that relies heavily on projection screens (though when there are sets, it was an improvement over the busy but ugly London sets). The tone is still confused and doesn't know what to do with Dahl's darkness amongst the candy coated storyline and Shaiman and Wittman's derivative songs do not help sugar coat a show designed for families and kids but then brutally maul four of its child characters (played by young adults I guess to soften the blow). Dahl's story always had the nasty tone built in but is played off cheekily, and while the production sometimes approaches Dahl's imaginative level, like the Oompa Loompas, or the Veruca Salt squirrel scene which verges on the level of nuttiness that is both surreal and inspired, even if it ends in some horrific horror movie level ending. Unfortunately as a whole, the musical even dampens the only good song "Pure Imagination" (and the only song not by Shaiman and Wittman, taken directly from the film) with an uninspiring, unimaginative retelling of a beloved childhood book.



Photos of Mary Poppins by Cylla von Tiedemann
Photos of Charli
e and the Chocolate Factory by Joan Marcus
Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


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Thursday, May 03, 2018

Taking a Deeper Look - Selfie - Play Review

Selfie - Young People's Theatre - Studio - Toronto, ON - **** (out of 5 stars)
Written by Christine Quintana, Directed by Stephen Colella
Runs until May 11th 2018

                    

Selfie is a self assured new play by Christine Quintana, apparently a rare success story of an unsolicited script that made it through all the levels to be fully staged at YPT. With #MeToo discussions being brought to light, the issues of he said/she said stories is presented here in such a grey zone, where intentions are good, and social media complicates things even further, that Quintana's play becomes ever more timely.

Sadly, the issues of consent, especially under the blurred haze of drunken alcohol, has always been an issue, but there is finally more public discussions and admittance to the occurrences. Quintana future complicates things by carefully laying out the relationships between 3 teenagers who all mean well, but whose hormone driven, socially awkward, naive confusion, splits off resulting in different people reacting to the situation very differently.

                    

Selfie follows Lily, her football star brother Chris, and Lily's best friend Emma. Lily is addicted to her Instagram, and each of the three presents themselves publicly far differently than how they are in real life. When Lily gets whiff that Emma has had a long-time crush on her brother, she tries to play matchmaker, setting off a series of events that culminates at a house party Lily and Chris throw. Quintana carefully sets us up, perhaps a bit too delicately, but we know exactly how each person feels. Until we don't, when Emma wakes us after the party confused. What should have played out like a romantic comedy begins to take a turn when Emma questions her own reaction, despite Chris having had the best intentions. It's an extremely delicate issue and deftly handled by Quintana, leaving us in the grey zone with only hints that pushes us to one side or another. It's less about taking sides, than it is about listening to Emma's story, but as in real life, the frustration of what to do next is palpable.

The cast, with Christopher Allen getting the unenviable job as Chris, Caroline Toal as Lily, and Rachel Mutombo as Emma, are uniformly excellent. A creative team of scenographer Claire-Allison Hill, projection designer Daniel Oulton, lighting designer Oz Weaver let the cast play out in a beautifully simple space, with a great way to represent social media in a theatrical setting. There are moments the pacing and the set up is held back to prevent us from getting to the moment that turn things around, but Allen, Toal and Mutombo are a pleasure to spend time with.


Photos by Ali Sultani
Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


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Monday, April 16, 2018

Nervy Playmaker - Risky Phil - Play Review

Risky Phil - Young People's Theatre - Toronto, ON - **** (out of 5 stars)
Written by Paula Wing, Directed by Stewart Arnott
Runs until April 27th 2018

                                   

"Risky" Phil is a cautious young black teen who lives with his hairdresser Aunt Gigi, who has a deal to play hockey and attend practice if he continues helping around his aunt's salon. The set up does not even hint at the ensuing drama, deftly handled by the delicate hands of Paula Wing, with touches of comedy and lots of heart, when teens Risky Phil and his best friend Jamie each encounter life changing decisions that affect their own family dynamics.

Phil's absent father, who Phil did not even know existed, shows up unannounced looking for his dead mother, Aunt Gigi does everything to protect Phil from his unreliable father who has just finished rehab and is trying to make amends. Phil's one outlet of escape, his hockey practice with his best friend Jamie, but while Phil is committed to hockey, Jamie is more interested in eating and hanging out, much to the chagrin of Jamie's father, who is also their coach David. Meanwhile, David has just landed an opportunity of a lifetime to play pro-hockey in Estonia, a decision which would mean leaving Jamie and divorcing his mother while David pursue's his life-long dream.

                    

The parallel tracks of sons and absent fathers, one returning and one leaving, have heavy affects on the teen boys, still trying to navigate and understand the world they're in, but while Aunt Gigi is there, doling out advice that Phil doesn't particularly want to hear, she herself holds some secrets that will further affect her own relationship with Phil.

It's quite the risk for a young person's theatre to put on a play with such heavy themes but in the hands of Arnott, Wing and a terrific cast of five, Risky Phil the play feels heartfelt and is often funny (especially thanks to ace performances from Ordena Stephens-Thompson as Aunt Gigi and a very amusing Tal Shulman as Jamie). Brian Bisson as David and Jamie Robinson as Junior, Phil's biological father, each portray men whose selfish decisions ultimately affect their sons, but it's a testament to Bisson and Robinson that as frustrating these characters are, these fathers feel familiar and understandable in their own personal pursuits.

It's also nice to see a deliberate story of a black boy playing such a "Canadian" sport, and telling stories of his newly formed, if small and tight, family, played against Jamie and David's white family, and where race is integral to the story but not the crux of the drama. While the play had some pacing issues, despite some well choreographed scene changes, the stories of two different Canadian families  felt real and representative of families we see in the cities.

Finally, there's a terrific Daniel Ellis as Phil, who has the most dramatic heavy lifting, and keeps the centre of the play well balanced. Definitely not a cautious performance.


Photos by Cylla von Tiedemann
Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


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Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Dazzled and Confused - After Wrestling - Play Review

After Wrestling - Factory Theatre Studio - Toronto, ON - ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Written by Bryce Hodgson and Charlie Kerr, Directed by Bryce Hodgson 
Runs until Mar. 18th 2018


To be honest, I have a limited understanding of mental health issues and have been trying to learn and be more open minded about issues surrounding mental health. It's quite the daunting issue and subject  and After Wrestling, a new play by Bryce Hodgson and Charlie Kerr, delves into the messy lives of four different people slowly intwined by a suicide.

The play slowly reveals itself in tidbits, in quick succession of scenes that add to the confusing mystery, only to later explain why certain characters felt uneven or unbelievable at first. It may be part of the structure to mirror the thinking of its confused characters, who try to deal with their friend's suicide. The living friends try to grapple with their own reaction and and their own mental stability while trying to understand what happened to their friend. The confusion adds to the frustrating nature of the play (though seemingly intentional), but the terrific cast lends credibility to elements that seem at first uneven (but is sometimes later explained).



While the show first seemingly wants to focus on siblings Leah and Hogan, who are both in different depressive and angry states, we are also introduced to Hogan's best friend Gibby in ghost form (but hilariously and fascinatingly done) who committed suicide. Meanwhile, Jaggy, a cop who saves Hogan from a breakdown, ends up asking out recluse Leah. The plot points speed by in the quick scenes but it's the discovery of the characters and their mindset that propels the play, even if we don't truly understand all that makes them up, which the characters themselves, probably are trying to figure out too.

While Charlie Kerr co-wrote the play, his Hogan seems the most underwritten, but is to Kerr's acting credit that we feel his anger and his reactions. As frustrating and annoying as Hogan's sister Leah's character can be, Libby Osler infuses a trapped and confused soul in Leah's toxic decisions. Osler brings us along for the ride, despite Leah constantly pushing against it, and against Jaggy, who seems smitten with her for his own reasons.

Anthony Shim is mesmerizing as Gibby, who appears to Hogan as a radio jockey and has some fun with his interplay with Hogan's mindset. Shim gets to have the most fun with the dead Gibby, which then adds to the truly shocking nature of seeing still-alive Gibby in a flashback in the time before his suicide. Numb to the world on the drugs doctors have prescribed him, Shim makes the days leading up to the suicide feel real and lived in, and reveals a whole other story behind Gibby's ghost we only get a faint whiff at that Leah and Hogan had been alluding to.


Jaggy, who is our intro into these three people in various mental states, has his own issues, but is also the positive light into Leah life (and somewhat by extension, Hogan's) and into this play, with his hobbies karaoke and wrestling partially giving the literal title to the play. It seems odd for what first seems like a side character, but the play dances best between Leah and Jaggy's building relationship, and is easily sustained with Gabe Grey's luminous performance.

The characters are fascinating, even if some of the plotting tends to contradict the characters (at first), and while this makes for dramatic plot reveals, it takes energy from the more fascinating aspects of the play and the characters we've been introduced to. The star-making cast keeps the story grounded in an exciting and promising production of this fascinating oddball play of oddballs trying to grapple with some serious issues.


Photos by John Gundy
Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


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Friday, February 16, 2018

Knotty Children - The Secret Garden and Pinocchio - Theatre Reviews

The Secret Garden - Young People's Theatre - Toronto, ON - **** (out of 5 stars)
Written by Paul Ledoux, adapted from the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Directed by Allen MacInnis
Runs until Mar. 17th 2018

Pinocchio - National Theatre's Lyttleton Theatre - London, UK - ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Written by Dennis Kelly, with songs from the Walt Disney film by Leigh Harline, Ned Washington and Paul J. Smith, Directed by John Tiffany
Runs until Apr. 10th 2018

               

The latest stagings for some kids classics gets some extra layers that deepen the stories and bring back some complexity to stories that had been simplified over the years. Tales of naughty children in The Secret Garden is given some extra shading with the casting of an Indian Mary at the centre of Frances Hodgson Burnett's original story. While Mary had always been born in India, it was written as a British child born away and returns home after the loss of her parents, but with the switch in ethnicities, and returning to a relative's English household, thus making Colin part Indian as well, gives the story an added aspect of colonialism. Over at the National Theatre, a new version of Disney's second film Pinocchio by Dennis Kelly, accentuates the darkness and creepiness more in tune with the original Carlo Collodi than the Disney film. Kelly, who turned Roald Dahl's Matilda into a successful musical, seems in opposition to the Disney aesthetics. Kelly's version of Pinocchio definitely ramps up the naughty children and, while still keeping Pinocchio on Disney's strings by melding the classic songs from the film, into this darker, slightly more adult version, helmed by John Tiffany. It's kudos to Disney Theatricals for allowing their properties to be given this chance to grow up, but like their stage version of The Jungle Book helmed by Mary Zimmerman (which yielded a far more spiritual, zen version of that classic), it often makes for an odd entity under the guise of Disney.

               

YPT's The Secret Garden is a nice slow and patient version with a wonderful Natalia Gracious as Mary, with Gracious managing to make the precocious, entitled, and selfish Mary a worthy heroine when it could have easily been cloying or annoying. She's eventually joined by a lovely Vivien Endicott Douglass as Martha, a servant, and a charming Benjamin Sutherland as Dichon, the village boy Mary befriends as they discover the mysteries of the house and the secret garden within it. Jack Runeckles plays Colin, Mary's hidden sick cousin, who like Mary, acts like a naughty entitled brat, but whom Runeckles somehow manages to make likeable. Simon Branken is great as both Lord Craven and Dr. Craven, while Dan Lett and Sarah Mennell round out the adult help of the manor.

There is a peacefulness to the production on Teresa Przybylski's simple but effectively changing set, as the mystery of the manor as Mary adjusts to her new life in England is slowly revealed. The story feels like a slow burn, and the added switch in Mary's origin, which changes little in the overall story, gives the play some added diversity and brings into the question of Indian colonialism, and even giving it a bit of a switch here, where the Indian children end up being in a higher class system than the caucasian folks working around the manor. It also gives Colin's story a greater dimension, as his father ignores him particularly as a reminder to his dead Indian mother and their similar features.


               

In John Tiffany's staging of Pinocchio, a joyously charming Joe Idris-Roberts plays our wooden boy Pinocchio as a life-size boy, while Toby Olié's giant puppet heads on Bob Crowley's oversize sets (and costumes) creates an oversized adult world that Pinocchio years to become a part of. With Dennis Kelly's added twisted tone, and some mutations of some of the famous songs, including a reprise of a morphed version of "When You Wish Upon A Star" during Pinocchio's introduction to fame, reminds us that this lesson on becoming a real man is a bumpy, and episodic journey. It's part of the nature of Collodi's original story, but the episodic nature of Pinocchio's journey doesn't necessarily make for a smooth experience as a stage entity, but Tiffany and the stage magic he creates, certainly makes it for an entertaining experience. And with Idris-Roberts centre stage, he pulls our heartstrings without showing any of the threads.

Audrey Brisson is a female Jiminy Cricket, and David Langham plays the Sly Fox, as they guide, or manipulate Pinocchio through this journey of life, but while Brisson and Langham are terrific in their roles, the characters as written seem like they are on differing paths, with Jiminy sounding far too modern at times, while the Sly Fox's villainous streak seem divorced from the overall arch, despite having the plot points directly affected by his machinations. As I had similar problems with Kelly's book for Matilda, I found while he manages to convey the dark tone he's yearning for, the emotional points never quite come through as he's working hard to hit all the plot points, and in Pinocchio's case, all the numerous adventures and troubles the wooden boy falls into. The plot strings are pulled but alas, all the emotional strings are purely from the hands of Idris-Roberts, who reminded me of the innate charm of Daniel Radcliffe.



Photos of Pinocchio by Manuel Harlan 
Photo of The Secret Garden by Cylla von Tiedemann
Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Best of Stage 2017

2017 total: 160 Shows (though 7 of those were for Come From Away, and a few other repeats).
Though this year only in Toronto (and surrounding), London, and New York City.

Saw a lot of shows I had seen in previous years and thus ineligible for this year's list (including Dear Evan Hansen, and 1984)
For previous years Best of Stage Lists:
Best of Stage 2016 (including Groundhog Day, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)
Best of Stage 2015 (including Come From Away, Significant Other)
Best of Stage 2014 (including Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Best of Stage 2013  
Best of Stage 2012
Best of Stage 2011 
Best of Stage 2010
Best of Stage 2009
Best of Stage 2008 
Best of Stage 2007


Here's the Best of Stage 2017:

1. Yerma - Young Vic Theatre - London, UK
Written by Simon Stone after Frederico Garcia Lorca, Directed by Simon Stone

               

Billie Piper lays her soul for us all to voyeuristically watch as she's entrapped between glass panels and a marriage unable to give her the child she yearns for. Ultimately a tragedy but the build up sounds all too familiar in this modern take of Lorca, in a staging that keeps us at a distance with it's glass walls and projected audio and blaring rock musical segues, which only adds to the lore. Add in magical set transformations within the tight space, and watching Piper's Yerma slowly unravel is painstaking to watch but ever gripping in its strange familiarity.



2. Mary Jane- New York Theatre Workshop - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY
Written by Amy Herzog, Directed by Anne Kauffman

               

Mary Jane has a son who requires constant medical attention and with the aids of nurses, cares for him in a simple apartment with her limited resources. We see Mary Jane struggle with her situation yet always remaining in high spirits and a positive outlook, even helping another mother who finds herself in a similar situation. The situation is dire and yet the humanity in Amy Herzog's play shines through, with an extraordinary cast lead by a glowing Carrie Coon.



3. Hamlet - Almeida Theatre - London, UK
Written by William Shakespeare, Directed by Robert Icke

               

It's still Hamlet but the first time I think I fully understood it all, with an incredible Andrew Scott as the soulful conflicted central figure. Jessica Findlay Brown as an Ophelia whose descent into madness is understandable, and Juliet Stevenson is perfection as a manipulative Gertrude. Icke's staging, with ghosts seen through security cameras and layers of glass in the sleek modern decor makes all the interactions, overheard conversations, and secrets seem plausible.



4. Indecent - Cort Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY
Written by Paula Vogel, Directed by Rebecca Taichman

               

Rebecca Taichman's beautiful staging of Paula Vogel's clever play about a controversial play is intelligent and inspired. With a small cast in multiple roles, we trace the trajectory of Sholem Asch's Yiddish play God of Vengeance as it gets produced all over, before being banned for lesbian kiss. The company was indicted for indecency but we follow the artists as they try to tell their story of a Jewish brother owner whose daughter falls in love with one of his prostitutes. It's about artists giving their work life, as Taichman's production does the same for this behind the scenes story.



5. Flight Pattern - The Royal Ballet - Royal Opera House - London, UK
Choreographed by Crystal Pite 

               

A stunning dance piece about the plight of refugees that is both beautiful and haunting.



6. Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches and Part Two: Perestroika - National Theatre's Lyttleton Theatre - London, UK
Written by Tony Kushner, Directed by Marianne Elliot

               

Nathan Lane as Roy Cohn, Andrew Garfield as Prior Walter, James McArdle as Louis Ironson, Denise Gough as Harper Pitt, Russell Tovey as Joe Pitt, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett as Belize, Amanda Lawrence as The Angel, Susan Brown as Hannah Pitt. Enough said.


7. Pacific Overtures - Classic Stage Company - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Book by John Weidman, Additional Material by Hugh Wheeler, Directed by John Doyle 

               

The usual simplicity with John Doyle's musical staging matches in tune with Japanese minimalism in this beautiful revival of Pacific Overtures. A cast that proves that there is no lack of incredible Asian musical actors.



8. The Ferryman - Royal Court Theatre in the Gielgud Theatre - West End - London, UK
Written by Jez Butterworth, Directed by Sam Mendes

               

A taut thriller, a family drama, a country harvest moment, and so much more in Jez Butterworth's epic new play that remains intimate, despite it's giant cast and long running time. At its heart is a family preparing for the yearly harvest, all while the 1981 Irish hunger strike is happening and the hatred towards Brits comes to a boil when sides are divided amongst a Northern Ireland.



9. Network - National Theatre's Lyttleton Theatre - London, UK
Adapted by Lee Hall, based on the film by Paddy Chayefsky, Directed by Ivo van Hove

               

Bryan Cranston screaming out "I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE"and making the audience scream it out too. Michelle Dockery throwing a fit in a glass sound booth.  Ivo van Hove using his Ivo tricks to turn the film into a live theatrical frenzy with live filming, using the language of live news media and the way television is portrayed in film and counterpointing that with the live nature of the stage. Plus there's a working restaurant on stage!



10. A Christmas Carol - The Old Vic Theatre - London, UK
A new version written by Jack Thorne, Directed by Matthew Warchus

               

A haunting and spirited new version of the Dicken's classic with a terrific Rhys Ifans at the center of a reconfigured Old Vic as his psychologically damaged Scrooge. The three ghosts include women from Scrooge's past, that explains how he became such a miser, and it makes Ifans transformation all the more joyous, using the transformed theatre-in-the-round in all its glory, filled with sounds of beautiful bells and a beautiful score. You will be filled with the Christmas spirit by the end of Warchus' elegant production!



11. Albion  - Almeida Theatre - London, UK
Written by Mike Bartlett, Directed by Rupert Goold

               

We watch an entire garden grow and die at the centre of a reconfigured Almeida Theatre in an allegory of Britain post-Brexit. in this play about a city woman who buys a historical plot of land in the countryside in the hopes of reviving it and recreating the glory of its historic British garden. Meanwhile, in her determination to create her dream, she shuts out the community beyond the walls, her family, and the help, each with their own stories, their own threads, and their won reasons for wanting the garden to succeed. Fascinating, with Victoria Hamilton at the charge in constant determination to make things succeed to her liking, but at whose costs?



12. Half a Sixpence - Noël Coward Theatre - West End - London, UK
Music and Lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, Book by Julian Fellowes, Original Music and Lyrics by David Heneker, Original Musical by David Heneker and Beverley Cross, Directed by Rachel Kavanaugh

               

A sweet old-fashioned, very British musical about class and money in a rags to riches to rags to riches story with a love triangle split between the classes to top it all off. A star making performance by Charlie Stemp (and just as wonderful alternate Sam O'Rourke who usually delightfully plays Buggins) keeps up the tempo and manages to charm us in this silly musical that still slips in the plight of the working class within the big toe-tapping banjo playing dance numbers.



13. The Glass Menagerie - Belasco Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY
Written by Tennessee Williams, Directed by Sam Gold

               

Just when you thought you knew The Glass Menagerie and had enough of it, in comes Sam Gold to readjust our view of the classic play in his re-envisioned production. Challenging the text in a stripped down production, putting an older Tom by way of Joe Mantello makes the memory play feel fresh, with a commanding central performance by Sally Fields that makes us see Amanda Wingfield in a new angle. Casting Madison Ferris, an actress who requires a wheelchair, as Laura, presents Laura's limp in a dramatic new light. Pitting her against a bouncy delighted Finn Wittrock's Gentleman Caller only adds to how we see his presence changes the dynamics with Tom and Laura. It truly heightens the tragedy without changing a word, and while Gold's direction may have angered the traditionalists, it opened up an already-favorite play of mine into a new dimension.



14. Bands on Broadway:
Bandstand - Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY
Music by Richard Oberacker, Lyrics and Book by Richard Oberacker and Robert Taylor, Directed by Andy Blankenbuehler
The Band's Visit - Ethel Barrymore Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY
Music and Lyrics by David Yazbek, Book by Itamor Moses, Directed by David Cromer

               
               

The Band's Visit got all the acclaim and Bandstand quietly popped up on Broadway and then sadly disappeared far too soon. The Band's Visit beautifully tells its tale simply with a gorgeous evocative score by David Yazbek, while Bandstand is slightly overblown new musical that takes on a deeper issue about PTSD and the lives of vets post-war, but has the heart and spirit that makes it emotionally thrilling. Bandstand could have been edited down to focus on its core story, moving to that emotional impact a tad sooner, and The Band's Visit could have extended itself to explore some of the characters more and give us more time for an emotional connection, but while both shows lacked in opposing flaws, they both excelled equally in their own strengths. Here's to the Band's playing on.



15. Syncing Ink - The Flea Theatre - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY
Written by NSangou Njikam, Directed by Niegel Smith

               

It's another coming of age/finding your voice tale that sort of doubles as the history of hip-hop and rap, in this thrilling vibrant new musical play. The clever staging and choreo and the rhymes pulsate that culminates in a thrilling (apparently improvised) showdown. While it's a tad overlong, the thrilling cast keeps the simple story moving and imprints the sound of a Black American .


16. Vimy - Soulpepper Theatre Company in the Bailie Theatre at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON
Written by Vern Thiessen, Directed by Diana Leblanc

               

Whereas the film Dunkirk was grand in scope, telling the individual tales from different sides of a historic moment, Vimy is an intimate look at the individual tales from a historical moment in France in the first World War. Leblanc's stunning staging lets this war play become intimately focused on the different soldiers' stories, bring an infamous moment in war and bringing it back to the perspective from the ground, from those that were right there. Harrowing and a young cast that brings it to life with verve and class.


17. Everybody's Talking About Jamie - Apollo Theatre - West End - London, UK
Music by Dan Gillespie Sells, Book and Lyrics by Tom MacRae, Directed by Jonathan Butterell

               

A fun fun fun new musical based on a documentary about a real life teen Jamie who chose to do drag, but while it feels like a spiritual sequel to La Cage/Kinky Boots/Priscilla, there's a far more progressive modern sensibility and reactions.  This tends to diminish the drama (as his own acceptance about his queerness is established from the opening number), but heightens the positive attitude. Add in The Feeling's frontman Dan Gillespie Sells' endearingly catchy music, and a starmaking lead performance by John McCrea, and it's one of the most joyous new musicals to open in recent memory.


18. Table Talk in Toronto
Asking for It - Nightwood Theatre, Necessary Angel and Crow's Theatre at Streetcar Crowsnest - Toronto, ON
Written by Ellie Moon, Directed by Brendan Healy
Unholy - Nightwood Theatre at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre - Toronto, ON
Written by Diane Flacks, Directed by Kelly Thornton

               
               

2 new plays each with 4 actors sitting at 2 tables, each with a microphone. Discuss.
Surprisingly theatrical, with each play spinning off from their discussions into scenes that fill out the controversial topics at hand. Asking For It begins with Jian Ghomeshi's case and continues with verbatim interviews about sexual harassment. Unholy concocts a panel of 4 women speaking about religion and feminism. Neither sound like enjoyable things to sit through yet both were something we needed to hear (with lots of surprising humour and humanity within).


19. The Seat Next To the King  - Toronto Fringe Festival at Theatre Passe Muraille - Toronto, ON
Written by Steven Elliott Jackson, Directed by Tanisha Taitt

               

The imagined meeting between two real life figures who were both caught in gay public sex scandals in 1960s. MLK Jr.'s adviser Bayard Justin meets LBJ's top aid Walter Jenkins and what transpires is a tense yet emotionally revealing brief affair where race and sexuality and the coded behaviors of surviving in that time comes to blow. Taitt's direction in this simple Fringe production is beautifully evocative and Conor Ling and Kwaku Okyere's performances give this small tight play a grandeur the emotions in these secretive events deserve.


20. The Smile Off Your Face - Summerworks at Artscape Youngplace - Toronto, ON -
Originally Created by Ontroerend Goed, Canadian Premiere by Re:Current Theatre, Directed by Brian Postalian

               

Theatre as an amusement park ride that tickles your senses and plays with your perception of what your senses makes you imagine. The twist is the starring role is the smile off your face, and then the discovery of what made that happened. Oh yah, you will also by blindfolded and tied to a wheelchair.



Honourable Mentions:

The Aliens - Coal Mine Theatre - Toronto, ON
Written by Annie Baker, Directed by Mitchell Cushman

Cost of Living - Manhattan Theatre Company in New York City Center Stage 1 - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY
Written by Martyna Majok, Directed by Jo Bonney

The Girls - Phoenix Theatre - West End - London, UK
Music, Lyrics and Book by Tim Firth and Gary Barlow, Directed by Tim Firth

The Life Henri - Toronto Fringe Festival at Alliance Francais - Toronto, ON
Written by Adam Bailey

Mr. Shi and His Lover - Tarragon Theatre - Toronto, ON
Music by Njo Kong Kie, Written by Wong Teng Chi and Njo Kong Kie, Directed by Tam Chi Chun


Solid revivals of:

Bakkhai - Stratford Festival in the Tom Patterson Theatre - Stratford, ON
Translator by Anne Carson from Euripides, Directed by Jillian Kelley 

Banana Boys - Factory Theatre - Toronto, ON
Written by Leon Aureus, Directed by Nina Lee Aquino

The Beauty Queen of Leenane - Druid Theatre at BAM in the Harvey Theatre - Brooklyn, NY
Written by Martin McDonagh, Directed by Garry Hynes


Follies - National Theatre's Olivier Theatre - London, UK
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Book by James Goldman, Directed by Dominic Cooke

Hello, Dolly! - Shubert Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY
Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman, Book by Michael Stewart, Directed by Jerry Zaks

Torch Song - 2nd Stage in the Tony Kiser Theater - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY
Written by Harvey Fierstein, Directed by Moises Kaufman


Breakthrough Performances (in alphabetical order):

The 'band" in Bandstand: Alex Bender, Joe Carroll, Brandon James Ellis, James Nathan Hopkins, Geoff Packard

Caitlin Robson and Eric Miinch in Caitlin and Eric Are Broken Up

The cast of Murder in the Cottonwoods: Paul Aihoshi, Guy Bradford, Christy Bruce, Lance Byrd, Alexandra Hurley, Matt Nads, Colin Sharpe

Kwaku Okyere and Conor Ling in The Seat Next to the King

The cast of Syncing Ink: McKenzie Frye, Nuri Hazzard, Elisha Lawson, NSangou Njikam, Adesola A. Osakalumi, DJ Reborn, Kara Young

The cast of Vimy: Sebastien Bertrand, Andrew Chown, Tim Dowler-Coltman, Wesley French, Christine Horne, TJ Riley

Adam Bailey in The Life Henri
Jocelyn Bioh in Everybody and In the Blood
Nicola Correia-Damude in Marine Life
Jack DiFalco in Torch Song
Josh Epstein in Onegin
Beanie Feldstein in Hello, Dolly!
Maxwell Haynes in The Aliens
Lucas Hedges in Yen
Ashley D. Kelley in Bella: An American Tall Tale
January Lavoy in Wakey Wakey
Katrina Lenk in Indecent and The Band's Visit
Ben Mayne in The View Upstairs
John McCrea in Everybody's Talking About Jamie
Gregg Mozgala in Cost of Living
Sam O'Rourge in Half a Sixpence
Bryonha Marie Parham in Prince of Broadway
Andrew Polec in Bat Out of Hell
Randy Redd in The View Upstairs
Chris Reid in The Merchant of Venice
Michael Rosen in Torch Song
Lucie Shorthouse in Everybody's Talking About Jamie
Justice Smith in Yen
Cobie Smulders in Present Laughter
Danielle Steers in Bat Out of Hell
Charlie Stemp in Half a Sixpence
Luke Thallon in Albion
Bobby Conte Thornton in A Bronx Tale


Great Performances (in alphabetical order):

The principal cast of  Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches & Part Two: Perestroika: Susan Brown, Andrew Garfield, Denise Gough, Nathan Lane, Amanda Lawrence, James McArdle, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Russell Tovey

The cast of Of Kith and Kin: Joanna Bacon, Donna Berlin, James Lance, Chetna Pandya, Joshua Silver

The cast of Pacific Overtures: Karl Josef Co, Marc Delacruz, Steven Eng, Megan Masako Haley, Ann Harada, Kimberly Immanuel, Justin Ku, Kelvin Moon Loh, Orville Mendoza, Marc Oka, Thom Sesma, George Takei

The cast of Unholy: Diane Flacks, Barbara Gordon, Niki Landau, Blair Williams, Bahareh Yaraghi

Annaleigh Ashford in Sunday in the Park with George
Kate Baldwin in Hello, Dolly!
Evan Buliung in Guys and Dolls
Kate Burton in Present Laughter
Corey Cott in Bandstand
Richard Coyle in Ink
Daniel Craig in Othello
Bryan Cranston in Network
Gavin Creel in Hello, Dolly!
Frenchie Davis in The View Upstairs
Janet Dacal in Prince of Broadway
Carson Elrod in The Liar
Sally Field in The Glass Menagerie
Alexis Gordon in Guys and Dolls
Cyrus Lane in A Christmas Carol: The Family Musical with a Scrooge Loose
Nathan Lee Graham in The View Upstairs
Sarah Greene in The Ferryman
Tamsin Greig in Labour of Love
Jake Gyllenhaal in Sunday in the Park with George
Rebecca Hall in Animal
Clare Halse in 42nd Street
Victoria Hamilton in Albion
Rhys Ifans in A Christmas Carol
Jasna Ivir in 42nd Street
Laura Linney in The Little Foxes
Tom Lister in 42nd Street
Joe Mantello in The Glass Menagerie
Sharron Matthews in Unapologetically Me: Sharron's Cabaret for Kids
Anna Maxwell Martin in Consent
Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly!
Jeff Miller in My Night with Reg
Max Gordon Moore in Indecent
Marie Mullen in The Beauty Queen of Leenane
Stuart Neal in 42nd Street
Cynthia Nixon in The Little Foxes
Jack O'Connell in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Sophie Okonedo in The Goat Or Who is Sylvia?
Laura Osnes in Bandstand
Aisling O'Sullivan in The Beauty Queen of Leenane
David Oyelowo in Othello
Lisa Palfrey in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Ashley Park in Sunday in the Park with George
Billie Piper in Yerma
Gray Powell in My Night with Reg
Anusree Roy in Tartuffe
Mercedes Ruehl in Torch Song
George Salazar in The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical
Helen Schlesinger in Albion
Andrew Scott in Hamlet
Saycon Sengbloh in In the Blood
James Smith in Lessons in Temperament
Juliet Stevenson in Hamlet
Corey Stoll in Julius Caesar
David Tennant in Don Juan in Soho
John Douglas Thompson in Jitney
Richard Topol in Indecent
Taylor Trensch in Hello, Dolly!
Brandon Uranowitz in Prince of Broadway
Michael Urie in Torch Song
Josie Walker in Everybody's Talking About Jamie
Jonathan Wilson in My Night with Reg
Ruth Wilson in Hedda Gabler
Finn Wittrock in The Glass Menagerie


____________________________________________________

Here is every Stage Show I saw in 2017 in alphabetical order. All reviews are based on a 5 stars system (Workshop Labs, Readings, Concerts and Cabarets are not graded):


4.48 Psychosis (Play Revival) - Toronto Fringe Festival at Theatre Centre - Toronto, ON - ***1/2

5 Guys Chillin' (Play) - Theatre Topikos at Kensington Hall - Toronto, ON - ****

32 Short Sketches About Bees (Play) - Toronto Fringe Festival at Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse - Toronto, ON - ***

42nd Street (Musical Revival) x2 - Theatre Royal Drury Lane - West End - London, UK - ****

1984 (Play) - Hudson Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY - ****

A Bronx Tale (Musical) - Longacre Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY - **1/2 (Review)

A Christmas Carol - The Old Vic Theatre - London, UK - ****1/2 (Review)

A Christmas Carol: The Family Musical with a Scrooge Loose - Ross Petty Productions at the Elgin Theatre - Toronto, ON - **** (Review)

Against (Play) - Almeida Theatre - London, UK - ***

Albion (Play) - Almeida Theatre - London, UK - ****1/2

The Aliens (Play) - Coal Mine Theatre - Toronto, ON - **** (Review)

Anastasia (Musical) - Broadhurst Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY - ***1/2

Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches and Part Two: Perestroika (Play Revival) x2 - National Theatre's Lyttleton Theatre - London, UK - ****1/2 

Animal (Play) - Atlantic Theater Company at Atlantic Stage 2 - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - ***

Asking for It (Play) - Crow's Theatre at Streetcar Crowsnest - Toronto, ON - ****

The Audience (Play) - Royal Alexandra Theatre - Toronto, ON - **1/2

Bakkhai (Play Revival) - Stratford Festival in the Tom Patterson Theatre - Stratford, ON - ****

Banana Boys (Play Revival) - Factory Theatre - Toronto, ON - ****

Bandstand (Musical) x2 - Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY - ****

The Band's Visit (Musical) - Ethel Barrymore Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY - ****

Bat Out of Hell (Musical) - Ed Mirvish Theatre - Toronto, ON - ** or ****

Beautiful (Musical) x2 - Ed Mirvish Theatre - Toronto, ON - ***1/2

The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Play Revival) - Druid Theatre at BAM in the Harvey Theatre - Brooklyn, NY - ****

Bella: An American Tall Tale (Musical) - Playwrights Horizons - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - ***

Bendy Sign Tavern (Musical) - Sex T-Rex at Toronto Fringe Festival at The Paddock Tavern - Toronto, ON - ***

Billy Bishop Goes To War (Musical) - Soulpepper Theatre Company in the Bailie Theatre at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - **

Blood Ties (Musical) - Edge of the Sky at Next Stage Festival at Factory Theatre Mainspace - Toronto, ON - **1/2

Blue Remembered Hills (Play Revival) - Good Old Neon at Artscape Youngscape - Toronto, ON - ***1/2

The Bodyguard (Musical) x2 - Ed Mirvish Theatre - Toronto, ON - **1/2

Caitlin and Eric are Broken Up (Play) - Bygone Theatre at Toronto Fringe Festival at Tarragon Theatre Extraspace - Toronto, ON - ****

Canadian Music Theatre Project (Musical Workshop) - Sheridan Theatre at Sheridan College - Oakville, ON
Bethune (Musical)
Cocksure Lads (Musical)
My Bonnie Lass! (Musical)
Starlight Tours (Musical)

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Play Revival) - The Young Vic at the Apollo Theatre - West End - London, UK - ***1/2

Cavalia: Odysseo (Circus) - White Big Top - Mississauga, ON - ****

Clarkston (Play Reading) - Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY

Clique Claque (Play) - Next Stage Festival at Factory Theatre Mainspace - Toronto, ON - ***

Consent (Play) - National Theatre's Dorfman Theatre - London, UK - ***1/2

Come From Away (Musical) - Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY x5 , Royal Alexandra Theatre - Toronto, ON x2 - ***** (Already in Best of Stage 2015)

Cost of Living (Play) - Manhattan Theatre Company in New York City Center Stage 1 - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - ****

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Play) - Princess of Wales Theatre - Toronto, ON - **** (Already in Best of Stage 2014)

Dear Evan Hansen (Musical) - Music Box Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY - ***1/2

The Death of Mrs. Gandhi and the Beginning of New Physics (a political fantasy) (Play) - Next Stage Festival at Factory Theatre Mainspace - Toronto, ON - **

Delirium (Play) - Toronto Fringe Festival at Tarragon Theatre Mainspace - Toronto, ON - ***1/2

Don Juan in Soho (Play Revival) - Wyndham's Theatre - West End - London, UK - ***1/2

Everybody (Play) - Signature Theatre in the Irene Diamond Stage at the Pershing Square Signature Center - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - ***1/2

Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Musical) - Apollo Theatre - West End - London, UK - ****

The Ferryman (Play) - Royal Court Theatre in the Gielgud Theatre - West End - London, UK - ****1/2

five faces of evelyn frost (Play) - Canadian Stage Company at Berkeley Street Theatre - Toronto, ON - ***1/2

Follies (Musical Revival) - National Theatre's Olivier Theatre - London, UK - ****

Fulfillment Center (Play) - Manhattan Theatre Company in New York City Center Studio Stage II - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - ***

The Girls (Musical) - Phoenix Theatre - West End - London, UK - **** (Review)

The Glass Menagerie (Play Revival) - Belasco Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY - ****

The Goat Or Who is Sylvia? (Play Revival) - Theatre Royal Haymarket - West End - London, UK - ***1/2

Groundhog Day (Musical) x2 - August Wilson Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY - ****1/2 (Already in Best of Stage 2016)

Guys and Dolls (Musical Revival) - Stratford Festival in the Festival Theatre - Stratford, ON - ***

Half a Sixpence (Musical Revival) x2 - Noël Coward Theatre - West End - London, UK - ****

Hamlet (Play Revival) - Almeida Theatre - London, UK - ****1/2

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two (Play) - Palace Theatre - West End - London, UK - **** (Already in Best of Stage 2016)

Hedda Gabler (Play Revival) - National Theatre's Lyttleton Theatre - London, UK - ****

Hello, Dolly! (Musical Revival) x2 - Shubert Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY - ****

hieronymus bosch: the garden of earthly delights (Dance) - Canadian Stage in the Bluma Appel Theatre at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts - Toronto, ON - ***

How To Succeed in Business Without Even Trying (Musical - College Production) - Sheridan Theatre at Sheridan College Studio - Oakville, ON

The Humans Seasons/ After the Rain/ Flight Pattern (Ballet) - The Royal Ballet - Royal Opera House - London, UK - ****1/2
The Human Seasons - ****1/2
After the Rain - ****
Flight Pattern - *****

If I Forget (Play) - Roundabout Theatre Company at the Laura Pels Theatre in the Harold and Mirium Steinberg Center for Theatre - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - ***

Indecent (Play) - Cort Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY - ****1/2

Ink (Play) - Almeida Theatre - London, UK - ****

The Red Letter Plays: In the Blood (Play Revival) - Signature Theatre in the Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - ****

The Jazz Singer (Musical) - Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company in the Greenwin Theatre at the Toronto Centre for the Arts - Toronto, ON - ***

Jitney (Play Revival) - Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY - ****

Julius Caesar (Play Revival) - The Public Theatre at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park - New York City, NY - ***

Labour of Love (Play) - Noël Coward Theatre - West End - London, UK - ***

Lessons in Temperament (Play) - Outside the March in Situ - Toronto, ON - ****

Lewiston (Play Reading) - Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY

The Liar (Play) - Classic Stage Company - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - ****

Life After (Musical) - Canadian Stage and The Musical Stage Company at the Berkeley Street Theatre - Toronto, ON - ***

The Life Henri (Play) - Toronto Fringe Festival at Alliance Francais - Toronto, ON - ****

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical (Musical) - Lucille Lortel Theatre - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - ***1/2

The Little Foxes (Play Revival) - Manhattan Theatre Club in the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY - ***1/2

Maddie's Karaoke Birthday Party (Musical) - Toronto Fringe Festival at Monarch Tavern - Toronto, ON - ***1/2

Man from Nebraska (Play Revival) - 2nd Stage in the Tony Kiser Theater - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - ***

Marine Life (Play) - Tarragon Theatre Extraspace - Toronto, ON - ***1/2

Mary Jane (Play) - New York Theatre Workshop - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - ****1/2 (Review)

The Merchant of Venice (Play Revival) - Tottering Biped Theatre at Shakespeare at the Rock in the Rock Garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens - Burlington, ON - ****

Midsummer (A Play With Songs) - Tarragon Theatre Mainstage - Toronto, ON - ***1/2

Molly Pope in A Star Is Born (Cabaret) - 54 Below - New York City, NY

Moonlight After Midnight (Play) - Toronto Fringe Festival at Tarragon Theatre Mainspace - Toronto, ON - **1/2

Morro and Jasp in Stupefaction - Guloien Theatre at Streetcar Crowsnest - Toronto, ON - ****  (Review)

Munschtime! (Play) - Young People's Theatre - Toronto, ON - ***1/2

Murder in the Cottonwoods (Play) - Toronto Fringe Festival at Annex Theatre - Toronto, ON - ****

My Big Fat German Puppet Show (Play) - Next Stage Festival at Factory Theatre Studio - Toronto, ON - ***1/2

Mr. Shi and His Lover (Musical) - Tarragon Theatre - Toronto, ON - ****

My Night with Reg (Play Revival) - Studio 180 at Panasonic Theatre - Toronto, ON - ****

Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 (Musical) - Imperial Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY - ***

Network (Play) - National Theatre's Lyttleton Theatre - London, UK - ****

North by Northwest (Play) - Royal Alexandra Theatre - Toronto, ON - **1/2

The Object Lesson (Play) - New York Theatre Workshop - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - **1/2

Of Kith and Kin (Play) - Bush Theatre - London, UK - ***1/2

Onegin (Musical) - The Musical Stage Company at the Berkeley Street Theatre - Toronto, ON - ****

On the Shore of the Wide World (Play Revival) - Atlantic Theater Company in the Linda Gross Theater - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - **

Oslo (Play) - Lincoln Center Theater at the National Theatre's Lyttleton Theatre - London, UK - ****

Othello (Play Revival) - New York Theatre Workshop - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - ****

Pacific Overtures (Musical Revival) - Classic Stage Company - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - ****1/2

Pinocchio (Play) - Tout A Trac at Young People's Theatre - Toronto, ON - ***1/2

Present Laughter (Play Revival) - St. James Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY - **1/2

Prince of Broadway (Musical) - Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY - ***

Real Actors, Not People (Play) - Toronto Fringe Festival at Factory Theatre Mainstage - Toronto, ON - ***1/2

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Play Revival) - The Old Vic - London, UK - ***

Rumspringa Break! An Am-ish Musical  (Musical Workshop) - Theatre Sheridan's Canadian Music Theatre Project at Theatre Passe Muraille - Toronto, ON

The Seat Next To the King (Play) - Toronto Fringe Festival at Theatre Passe Muraille - Toronto, ON - ****

Senza Luce (Musical - College Production) - Sheridan Theatre at Sheridan College Studio - Oakville, ON

Shakespeare's Ghostbusters (Play) - Toronto Fringe Festival at Tarragon Mainspace - Toronto, ON - **1/2

Significant Other (Play) - Booth Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY - **** (Already in Best of Stage 2015)

The Smile Off Your Face (Play) - Summerworks at Artscape Youngplace - Toronto, ON - ****

Somebody's Daughter (Play) - 2nd Stage Uptown - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - ***1/2

Songbuster (Musical) - Next Stage Festival at Factory Theatre Studio - Toronto, ON - **1/2

Sousatzka (Musical) - Elgin Theatre - Toronto, ON - **1/2 (Review)

Special Constables (Play) - Toronto Fringe Festival at Factory Theatre Mainstage - Toronto, ON - **1/2

Strictly Ballroom (Musical) x3 - Princess of Wales Theatre - Toronto, ON - ***

Stupidhead! (Musical) - Theatre Passe Muraille - Toronto, ON - **1/2

Sunday in the Park with George (Musical Revival) - Hudson Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY - ***1/2

Sunset Blvd (Musical Revival) - Palace Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY - ****

Sweat (Play) - Studio 54 - Broadway - New York City, NY - ***

Syncing Ink (Musical) - The Flea Theatre - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - ****

Tartuffe (Play Revival) - Stratford Festival in the Festival Theatre - Stratford, ON - ***

Torch Song (Play Revival) - 2nd Stage in the Tony Kiser Theater - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - ****

The Treasurer (Play) - Playwrights Horizons in the Peter Jay Sharp Theater - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - ****

True North Mixtape (Musical) - Toronto Fringe Festival at Randolph Theatre - Toronto, ON - ***1/2

Two Truths and a Lie (Play) - Next Stage Festival at Factory Theatre Antechamber - Toronto, ON - ***1/2

Unapologetically Me: Sharron's Cabaret for Kids (Cabaret) - Young People's Theatre Studio - Toronto, ON (Blogpost)

Undercover (Play) - Tarragon Theatre Mainspace - Toronto, ON - ***

Unholy (Play) - Buddies in Bad Times Theatre - Toronto, ON - ****

The View Upstairs (Musical) - Lynn Redgrave Theatre - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - ***1/2 (Review)

Vimy (Play) - Soulpepper Theatre Company in the Bailie Theatre at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - ****

Wakey Wakey (Play) - Signature Theatre in the Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - **1/2

War Paint (Musical) - Nederlander Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY - *** (Review)

The Whirligig (Play) - The New Group in the Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - **1/2

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

Yen (Play) - MCC Theater at the Lucille Lortel Theatre - Off-Broadway - New York City, NY - ****

Yerma (Play Revival) - Young Vic Theatre - London, UK - *****

Young Marx (Play) - Bridge Theatre - London, UL - ***

__________________________________________________________________
Previous Best-of Lists:

Best of 2016 List:
Best of Stage 2016

Best of 2015 List:
Best of Stage 2015

Best of 2014 List:
Best of Stage 2014

Best of 2013 List:
Best of Stage 2013

Best of 2012 Lists:
Best of Music 2012
Best of Stage 2012

Best of 2011 Lists:
Best of Music 2011
Best of Television 2011
Best of Stage 2011


Best of 2010 Lists:
Best of Music 2010
Best of Television 2010
Best of Stage 2010
Best of Movies 2010


Best of 2009 Lists:
Best of Music 2009
Best of Television 2009
Best of Stage 2009
Best of Movies 2009


Decadeworthy - The Best of 2000-2009 Lists:
SYTYCDworthy (w/ Videos) - List Format
Theatre of the Decade
Best Films of the Decade
Favorite Films of the Decade
Television of the Decade
Television of the Decade - 1 Season Wonders


Best of 2008 Lists:
Best of Music 2008
Best of Television 2008
Best of Stage 2008
Best of Movies 2008
Best of Television Fall '07 - Winter '08 List


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


Photos of Yerma and The Ferryman by Johan Persson
Photos of Mary JanePacific Overtures, Syncing Ink by Joan Marcus
Photos of Hamlet, A Christmas Carol, Half a Sixpence by Manuel Harlan
Photo of Indecent by Carol Rosegg
Photos of Flight Pattern, Everybody's Talking About Jamie by Alastair Muir
Photo of Angels in America by Helen Maybanks
Photo of Network by Jan Versweyveld
Photo of Albion by Marc Brenner
Photo of The Glass Menagerie by Julieta Cervantes
Photo of Bandstand by Jeremy Daniel
Photo of The Band's Visit by Matthew Murphy
Photo of Vimy by Cylla von Tiedemann
Photo of Asking For It by Jeremy Mimnagh
Photo of Unholy by John Lauener
Photo of The Seat Next to the King by Foreshots Photography
Photo of The Smile Off Your Face by Marlowe Porter

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


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