If I am making a list of the theatre that has stood out this year, I would be remiss to not mention what I saw in New York in 2016. So here is what I thought was a few of the best of New York theatre.
To be fair, it’s a list comprised of what New York theatre I had the privilege to see this year. So If I didn’t see it then I am not adding it because I have no basis on which to judge it.
This year I was lucky enough to see 14 shows in New York. Here are a few of the ones that I thought deserved a nod.
“Spring Awakening” – Brooks Atkinson Theatre
This was the Deaf West Theatre revival that came to Broadway. I admit that I was skeptical that this show needed a revival so soon after the original. However, this show was phenomenal and was absolutely something that was a unique and powerful experience. The cast was made up of both hearing and deaf actors and the use of sign language with the high energy choreography by Spencer Liff. This show many be about the disconnect and alienation of these characters, but the disabilities of some of the performers never felt like a cultural caveat to exploit and drive home this disconnect. Instead it showed that addition of people who had been disconnected instead helps the show rise to even greater heights.
“Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge” Lyceum Theatre
This show was a stunning example of a minimalist stripping down of a play can do to bring up and reinforce themes. This was stunningly directed by Ivo van Hove the story of this family love and hate seems to exist almost like a Greek myth, highlighting the fathomless distance between love, hate, feelings, simple words, and complex actions. Mark Strong was phenomenal and supported by a remarkable cast, this one was a show that I had not originally intended to see, but that I am so glad that I did.
“She Loves Me” – Roundabout Theatre Company Studio 54
This was a gem of a show, from the jewel box set to the glittering talent of the cast, showed that the classics of Broadway past can be as sweet as vanilla ice cream. A story of ordinary people, store clerks and coworkers, this romantic comedy proved that the when there is a song in your heart you should always express yourself through song. Featuring Laura Benanti, Zachary Levi, Gavin Creel, Jane Krakowski made this show a stand out.
“Arthur Miller’s The Crucible” – Walter Kerr Theatre
A second entry for both Arthur Miller and Ivo van Hove, this show proved that the use of minimalism only makes themes more potent is something that works only if done by artists of the highest caliber. This production of the show turned this into something that was more akin to a horror; the fear of others, a sense of desperation, and the idea terrible power. Stripped of period markers and associations, this play became a timeless tory of tragedy, hubris, persecution, and honor.
“Hamilton” – Richard Rodgers Theatre
This show is included, but let’s be honest it was a gimmie. I have more thoughts than can be corralled into this short paragraph. I had some amazing experiences because of this show and at this show, expect a separate post.
Just as a quick rundown of the NY shows I saw in 2017 in chronological order – have you seen any of these?
ON YOUR FEET: THE STORY OF EMILIO & GLORIA ESTEFAN
HAMILTON: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL
ARTHUR MILLER’S A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE
SCHOOL OF ROCK
SHE LOVES ME
THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM
ARTHUR MILLER’S THE CRUCIBLE
Is there one of that you think should be added to a highlight list?