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!

Angels in America: It truly is a masterpiece, and the production was excellent.

Band’s Visit: I saw this twice and felt great joy both times.

Conflict, Hindle Wakes, Days to Come: Bravo to the Mint! Days to Come was not quite in the league of the other two, but overall it was another great year for the Mint.

Dance Nation: A smart, funny, and oddly beautiful show focusing on adolescent girls and their challenges and dreams.

Desperate Measures, Heist!, Hello Dolly, Jerry Springer The Opera: The category here is "musicals that are great fun and uniquely theatrical." Jerry Springer was a little more ambitious than the others but still relied on a lot of silly musical theatre tropes. Hello Dolly is a grand old war horse, and it was much better with Bernadette Peters than with Bette Midler. Heist! wasn't quite in "best of" shape, but I'm hoping the creators get it there. And Desperate Measures was as silly and as lovely as could be.

Fabulation: You still have a chance to see this if you move fast; it's running through January 13. The Signature Theatre website describes it as follows: This satirical tale, set in New York City, follows successful African-American publicist Undine, as she stumbles down the social ladder after her husband steals her hard-earned fortune. Broke and now pregnant, Undine is forced to return to her childhood home in the Brooklyn projects, where she must face the challenges of the life she left behind. I was so sad when this ended!

Follies: I adored, adored, adored this production. APAC director Dev Bondarin is fabulous and smart. Part of me wants Broadway to scarf her up so she can get her due and make some bank, but another part of me wants her to stay in Queens and keep creating her little miracles. 

Happy Birthday, Wanda June: A vibrant, funny, sad production, well-directed and -acted.

Holy Ghosts: A smart, thoughtful production of a smart, thoughtful play.

Musical of Musicals: The only thing wrong with this show is that it's too short. I was thrilled to catch it one more time when it came back to The York Theatre Company for a single day. If you want to read more about it on Wikipedia, click here.

The Thanksgiving Play: This fabulous satire deserves to be seen by more people. I hope it comes back for a longer run.

Unexpected Joy: This fabulous musical deserves to be seen by more people. I hope it comes back for a longer run.

    Happy New Year, everyone!

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