Posted by Backstage Baby
December 15, 2011 at 16:40
Ahoy there, mateys! Cap'n Blogway Baby is here, talking like a pirate for no reason, giving you our BEST OF 2011 THEATER!!!! We briefly considered giving you our worst list, but Santa's watching so we have to pull our claws back in. Meowr!
Our list includes everything form the Great White Way to tiny closets South of 14th Street. We love everything ovah heah!!!
Some of these shows are running RIGHT NOW so get out your golf pencils and start taking notes:
Best Solo Show (tie): "We're Gonna Die," Joe's Pub; "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs," The Public Theater. YES, believe it or not, old B.B. doesn't just go in for big song-and-dance numbers. Sometimes we can sit through two whole hours of one person talking on stage! That is, when it's someone as entertaining as these two. Reigning downtown queen Young Jean Lee veered into pop music in her charming and surprisingly moving show about the death of her dad (and the human condition), while solo performer extraordinaire Mike Daisey explored his complicated relationship with the late, great Mr. Jobs and his irresistible line of products.
Hottest Singing Hunk: Harry Connick, Jr. in "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever," St. James Theatre. 'Nuff Said!
Best Smart, Bitchy Fun You'll Have in a Writer's Workshop: "Seminar," The John Golden Theater. I took a night class in fiction at The New School once. It was nowhere near this entertaining. Whether it's Theresa Rebeck's savagely funny literary zingers or Alan Rickman's world-weary zingers, "Seminar" is riveting fun that teaches you the true pain of being a writer. (I cry every time I write this blog!!!)
Biggest Hole in This Theatergoer's Heart (tie): WHERE ARE HOUSTON AND LEVITT THIS SEASON??? It has now officially been a couple of years since the premiere of "Heaven on Earth," and Blogway Baby is SICK at the prospect of another season going by without Julia and Tom. I can only see HoE so many times! Because after a while the ushers are going to kick me out! Runner-up: Derek Wills is missing ANOTHER season as his "My Fair Lady" revival is (apparently) being mothballed. Rumor has it that Hollywood is snapping Wills up with a project for Lionsgate. (What is it? Who knows and who cares? We want him back on Broadway!)
Best Tug @ Heartstrings/Best Film-To-Musical Adaptation: "Once," New York Theater Workshop. In this simple and beautiful performance, Cristin Milotti and Steve Kazee made us cry. Us! A lot!!!
Tony Award Winner That Really Deserved It: "War Horse," Vivian Beaumont Theater. A mix of a genuinely moving tale of loyalty and bravery with stunning stagecraft. We cried at this too. Why are you looking at us like that? Shut up!!!!
Most Fun You'll Have Being Offended (tie): "Book of Mormon," The Eugene O'Neill Theater; "Burning," The New Group @ Theatre Row. By now you've all heard about the laff-a-minute hit from South Park-boys Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Avenue Q's Robert Lopez. But you probably haven't heard of this scorched-earth satire on sex and race from champion button-pusher Thomas Bradshaw. Love him or hate him (and for a lot of people it's the latter), you'll have an evening you'll never forget.
Best Abbreviation: "iHo," for "The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures," The Public Theater. There was more to love about Tony Kushner's moving, talky, political family drama than just the pithy abbreviated title. But what a pithy abbreviated title!
Best Ensemble Show: "Method Gun," The Rude Mechanicals @ Dance Theater Workshop. Some readers accuse Blogway Baby of being too New York-centered. There's plenty of great theater happening all over America! And the world! They say. To which I reply, "Buy me some plane tickets or shut up." But these Austin hipsters gave us a bitingly funny and surprisingly tender love letter to that theater teacher that turned us onto this mess in the first place.
Best Festival: Clubbed Thumb's Summerworks @ HERE. The little company that could gave us three weeks featuring a haunted van ("Our Lot"), a rampaging pig ("Civilization (all you can eat),"), and a Santeria-infused sex comedy ("Enfrascada"). A must-see every summer.
Best Proof You Can Still Pull Off a Thriller Onstage: "Blood and Gifts," The Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. I know, I know; you wouldn't expect Blogway Baby to go in for J.T. Rogers' play about Afghanistan in the 1980s. But we love a good spy thriller (John LeCarre, anyone?) and this was a great example of that.
Most Fun Onstage Anarchy: "Whatever, Heaven Allows," PS122/COIL Festival. If you haven't seen a Radiohole performance, you owe it to yourself to experience it at least once. But it's kind of like a cross between Burning Man, a competitive eating contest, a punk rock show and performance art. This crazy mashup of Douglas Sirk melodrama with The Bible and I'm not really clear what else was unforgettable and fun.
Best Satirical 21st-Century Updating of "Peyton Place": "Maple & Vine," Playwrights' Horizons. Jordan Harrison's trenchantly funny take on nostalgia reinforces this young playwright's place as one of our smarted, most compassionate fabulists. There, I said it!
Best Performance by a Boy Wizard: Daniel Radcliffe, "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," The Al Hirschfield Theatre. Okay, we know this isn't the most competitive category. But we love that Harry Potter!!!