Theater is an art that can not compare to any other due to it’s complexity. So, to compare different types of plays and to place one over the other genre would be unjust for the playwrights; thus, I will be writing my own top 10 of my own opinion!
1. And Then There Were None
From its first golden images of drowning to the drawing-room showdowns on a dark and stormy night, And Then There Were None is a triumph of atmosphere and an adaptation bold enough to make you uncomfortable to the very last.
Leave aside everything you think you know about musical theater and let the actors’ sweeping hip-hop history of America’s founding fathers infect you with its surging spirit, its indelibly etched characters and its thrilling collision of past and present. Not to mention some of the most dynamic contemporary music ever heard on a Broadway stage. The central question of “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story” is asked and definitively answered in a show that amply earns its place as an instant theatrical landmark. The hype is justified.
2. The King and I
The director’s masterful design team and luminous leading roles bring comparable emotional depth, dramatic texture and co
mmanding visuals to this stirring story of the East-West cultural divide. The sumptuous Golden Age production values are of a kind seldom seen on Broadway in these more cost-conscious times, and the music is simply glorious.
3. The Color Purple
Is this really the same bloated, hard-sell show that premiered on Broadway a decade ago? With a surgeon’s precision, director John Doyle has refined its dramatic contours and strengthened its emotional through line to deliver a transporting musical that speaks directly to the heart. Powered by a knockout performance from British newcomer Cynthia Erivo, given sterling support by Jennifer Hudson and Danielle Brooks, this was hands-down the year’s biggest surprise.
4. An American in Paris
The actors makes their first jeteinto musical theater as a fully formed triple threat, stepping into elegant shoes with supreme assurance in this enchanting reinvention of the MGM classic. The work on this evocatively designed production is a master class
in soaring romantic storytelling through dance
5. School of Rock
Returning to the Winter Garden Theatre, where his 1980s monster hit Catsmeowed for 18 years, Andrew Lloyd Webber showed that his commercial savvy hasn’t abandoned him with this unexpectedly captivating musical retake on Richard Linklater’s 2003 screen hit. The crowdpleaser features 13 insanely talented preteens, their characters’ home lives helpfully expanded by writer Julian Fellowes. It also unleashes a hurricane-force pied piper in Alex Brightman, stepping into the Jack Black role and taking ownership.
6. Little Shops of Horror
Sure, it played for just a handful of performances, and showed the signs of limited rehearsal time. But I wouldn’t for anything have traded the joy of watching the amazing actors. Demonstrated that the 1982 cult sci-fi musical has lost none of its freshness or heart.
7. Guards of Taj
The playwright’s artful balance of mordant humor and lyricism nonetheless made for a bracing mix in this evocative production. And given the overload of airless living-room plays in contemporary American theater, any writer who can transport us to 17th century India to reflect on loyalty, betrayal and barbarism deserves respect.
On paper, this string-theory love story had the look of one of those cerebral dramas that the Brits adore and American audiences can tend to find somewhat arid. Alone on an almost bare stage, they brought to life with piercing humanity a whole tender history of possibilities both realized and lost.
9. Fun Home
This haunting musical memory play about coming out and coming to terms with her closeted gay father’s suicide. But I’m including it this year for the simple reason that the show evolved into a far richer experience in its Broadway transfer. It’s rare to find music and drama so inextricably integrated, to the point where it’s impossible to imagine one without the other.
10. The Humans
A fraying family reassembling for Thanksgiving might sound like the basis for familiar domestic drama, but filled with humor and a questioning intelligence. This is a moving play that leaves behind a lingeringspell of encroaching sadness, but also the reassuring solace of unbreakable bonds.
And those were my Top 10, Hope you enjoyed!