Who doesn’t love an end of the year list?

December 23, 2011

Now that I have a blog, I can finally join in on the “end of the year list” madness. I’m not one of those people that make it a point to see every single show that debuts in a season. I think that’s silly and just…unrealistic. I see what I want to see and what seems interesting. Admittedly, there are a few things I regret missing out on this season (I’ll just assume Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide and The Lyons would be somewhere on this list). So, here we go. My 5 favorite shows of the year.

  • Born Yesterday

In which the world learns that Nina Arianda is a super star. I don’t know what it is about them but generally plays fail to entertain me. However, Born Yesterday was the exception. I was captivated from the minute that curtain went up. Jim Belushi was surprisingly commanding. Funny guy, strong actor. Robert Sean Leonard was the quiet, gallant hero. But the one who stole the show was Nina Arianda. She filled that stage with her larger than life personality, her flawless delivery and gorgeous good looks. She has since gone on to take Broadway by storm in Venus In Fur.

  • Sleep No More

I don’t even know what to say about Sleep No More, it’s just something you need to experience for yourself. It’s theater like you’ve never seen. It’s a snooper’s dream – feel free to go through any drawer, follow an actor down any dark hallway. This is the kind of show where you need to actively participate. Explore. Be curious. “Fortune favors the bold”.

  • Peter & The Starcatcher

I caught this show 3 times off-Broadway at NYTW. “Peter” is a prequel story to Peter Pan – you learn how Peter the orphan becomes the famous Peter Pan, how Neverland came to be and how Peter meets Molly. The show is pure genius and magic. Every single cast member was outstanding. The show is so imaginative that in a bare minimum set, most scenes are being created by cast members themselves. Christian Borle was beyond spectacular as Black Stache, I felt like I was getting a great ab workout from all the laughing I did. Celia Keenan-Bolger plays a whimsical Molly who befriends Peter and let’s just say when they have to say goodbye, there isn’t a dry eye in the house. And just a warning, Adam Chanler-Berat will absolutely break your heart as Peter. Peter & The Starcatcher is aiming for Broadway this Spring. I think what worked so well for the show was that it was housed in NYTW. It needs that small, intimate space for it to work and to keep that magic. I worry how it will translate to a big theater. I feel like I saw something truly special at NYTW and I’m so glad more people will get a chance to see the show next year.

  • Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark

It’s no secret I’m obsessed with this show, it’s my guilty pleasure. I have seen 2 versions of this show – the Julie Taymor version and the finalized version. While Taymor’s wasn’t bad, version 2.0 is fantastic. The thing about this show is people are SO quick to judge. Some people say it has no place on Broadway, which is ridiculous, art is art. [in my opinion there are other shows out right now that don’t belong on Broadway but I won’t go there]. Yes this show had its problems, but a lot of shows do. Since Taymor was at the helm and a lot of money was on the line, their problems were more publicized and exaggerated. Everyone is entitled to their opinion which I understand but don’t judge if you haven’t actually seen the show in question. I love this show and will defend it all day. Now, I’ll get off my soapbox and actually discuss the show. … Spider-Man TOTD is this world of comic books, superheros, villians and love. The first time I ever saw Spidey fly, I felt like I was 5 years old again, it was just the coolest thing to me. Patrick Page is practically nightmare inducing – he deserves tons of praise for his performance. The costumes and the set are visually stunning. The flying stunts-amazing. The music gets stuck in my head for days. The show is epic; it’s about power, personal strength and the struggle of becoming who you were meant to be. Go see the show for the spectacle. It’s something you can go into and just have a great time. Know absolutely nothing about Spider-Man or comics? That’s okay – neither did I, you’ll be just fine.

  • Priscilla Queen Of The Desert

Sequins, glitter and feather boas, oh my! What is there to say about this show? I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen it this year, I’m absolutely obsessed. The great thing about it is no matter how bad your day has been it will instantly turn around the second that disco ball comes down. Any time I need a dose of fabulous, I head to the Palace. Another super talented cast with actors in multiple tracks. As for the 3 leads: Tony Sheldon is absolutely incredible as Bernadette. His delivery of one-liners is impeccable. He should have won that Tony. Will Swenson has grown more confident and more fantastic in his role as Tick each time I’ve gone. When he starts “True Colors”, it will break your heart and you can hear the sniffling all around the theater. Nick Adams is the clear standout in the cast . You will never see him marking it, it’s full out, 100% of the time. His body is perfection, his voice will give you chills (see, “Like A Prayer”) and his performance is phenomenal. I’ve brought a few non-theater friends to this show and they’ve all had a fantastic time! You’ll never know if it’s me you’re sitting next to in the front row lotto seats ; )

So there you have it. Tweet me at @bwaynews and tell me what your top 5 of the year are!


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