Thursday, January 03, 2019

Best Performances of 2018

I am frequently blown away by the depth and quality of the New York acting community. Brilliant performances are everywhere.

(I've linked to my reviews for shows I did indeed review.)


In the following shows, everyone was wonderful.

A Chorus Line

Band’s Visit

Dance Nation

Desperate Measures


Hello Dolly

Ordinary Days

The Possibilities/The After-Dinner Joke


In the following shows, everyone was wonderful but one or two people stood out, usually in lead roles.

Conflict--great cast, especially Jeremy Beck

Fabulation--great cast, especially Cherise Boothe

Ian Lassiter and Cherise Boothe
Photo: Monique Carboni

Happy Birthday, Wanda June--great cast, especially Jason O'Connell and Kate MacCluggage

Holy Ghosts--great cast, especially Oliver Palmer

Jerry Springer The Opera--great cast, especially Will Swenson


And then there are two individual performances I want to single out.

Farah Alvin was a new discovery for me in Inner Voices 2018. I think she can do pretty much anything.

Farah Alvin
Photo: Russ Rowland

In contrast, Ethan Hawke has long been a favorite of mine. I enjoy his all-in, balls-to-the-wall commitment to his roles, and I enjoy even more that he knows when to pull back. In True West, he is mesmerizing.


Now I'm wondering if I should have included Jerry Springer The Opera, Ordinary Days, and The Possibilities/The After-Dinner Joke on my "best of" list. They were all wonderful. But what would I have removed from the existing list to make room?

Wendy Caster

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Best of 2018

In 2018, I saw 74 shows. Only nine of them were on Broadway; those prices, even when discounted, keep scaring me away. However, I've lost little by skipping Broadway shows (as much as I would have liked to see some of them). But Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway remain amazing, with OOB being particularly affordable.

Before making this list, I did a quick grading of the shows I saw. It was a good year: 27 rated A; 28 rated B; 7 rated C; and 12 rated D. I didn't rate any of them F, because I love and admire theatre and the people who make theatre happen.

This is not a top ten. It's a top 13, and I managed to actually include 18 shows. In cases where I reviewed the show, I've linked to the review. Oh, and I certainly understand that this is really a list of "shows I liked best of the shows I saw" and not truly a "best of" list. But calling these lists "best of" is the custom, and I'm going along with that.

The list is alphabetical.

A Chorus Line: It was a truly extraordinary experience to get to see a first-class production of this wonderful show in such an intimate setting. Kudos to the Gallery!