Faves of 2014

The Few Samuel Hunter

Before the deluge of 2015 begins, let’s look at the year just past and note some favorites! I make no claim to “best” (what do you this this is? Buzzfeed?!) but these seven shows spoke and sang to me in ways original, moving, raucous, or surprising.

As for what’s “trending” here, institutional off-Broadway looms large. Though most of these shows didn’t pull in Broadway-sized audiences or paydays, they were no less towering that their Main Stem cousins.

Without further ado, the Faves are…

THE FEW, at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
Sam Hunter’s intensely moving new play proved that love grows best in little playhouses. The story of three sad sacks and the newspaper that brings them together, this oh-so-small production felt like an oh-so-needed sigh: refreshing, humane, and a little teary.

A DOLL’S HOUSE, at BAM via The Young Vic
A perfect classic presented with all the energy and surprise of a new play. Expert underscoring hit home Ibsen’s chilling, inspiring tale—as did the frantically careening turntable set.

AN OCTOROON, at Soho Rep
You know how so many plays are “funny”? (Read: Not funny.) Well, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s latest work about racial history in America actually was funny, not to mention disturbing, affecting, and just the right amount of insane. Lucky us, this whirlwind of a play is coming back to NYC in the spring.

BOOTYCANDY, at Playwrights Horizons
I mean, really—how could you not enjoy a play called BOOTYCANDY? Like Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, playwright Robert O’Hara here tackles issues of race and America, but to entirely different and original effect. This work was jaw dropping in the true sense: It amazed, but also shocked.

 ALLEGRO, at Classic Stage Company
Director John Doyle had his masterful way with this famous flop by Rogers and Hammerstein. Staging, music and performances coalesced into an evening that stayed with me long after curtain call.

ON THE TOWN, on Broadway
This explosively energetic revival reminds you just how effective dance can be in a Broadway musical. The glorious score—played by a city of an orchestra—was none too shabby, either.

YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU, on Broadway
Who could possible argue with the pure, escapist charm of this perfect comedy? Annaleigh Ashford in particular nails the kooky glee of Kaufman and Hart’s hilarity.

_____________

But what do you think? Anything been egregiously overlooked? Comment below—the Internet needs to know!

Photo of THE FEW by Joan Marcus.

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