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12/31/12

Out You Go 2012 - 6 Broadway Shows (and 1 Other Production) That I Heart The Most


With mere hours left before the clock strikes midnight, time to close the year out with all of the "so kickass, I can't even..." Broadway productions of 2012. And looking it over, it's a pretty motley crew - pirates, an Edward Albee classic, an S&M dominatrix/goddess, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Andrew Garfield devouring the stage, oh my!

Venus in Fur

It's funny how the universe works sometimes...remember, Venus in Fur ended its first run last year in the fall, before reopening in the Spring. I didn't see the initial run (positive buzz sold out the end of the show's run) and it is a harrowing thought that I almost didn't catch this nifty, awesome little gem - with Nina Arianda at the helm working the stage like Broadway was hers for the taking. And with a strong Hugh Dancy opposite her, they navigated this cat-and-mouse story for all of its worth. "Hail Aphrodite" never had such epic context before Vanda/Aphrodite/Whoever she is chanted it at the end.

Peter and the Starcatcher

I probably have overstated the point, but this show was the real deal this year. So impeccable with its direction and book, the utterly divine set and boosted by an ensemble working their asses off (led by the dream team of Adam Chanler-Berat, Christian Borle and Celia Keenan-Bolger) all add up to this inspired prequel to Peter Pan. This is the production that reminds anyone what it is like to tap into your inner-child...or at least your imagination for a few hours to enjoy one hell of a riveting and emotional ride.

Once

Just thinking of "Falling Slowly" being performed on stage makes my heart flutter with feelz. And why not...this beautifully subtle production of "Boy meets Girl" (literally) has Enda Walsh's book, full of his typical Irish sensibility and passion for days, combined with a score to make your eyes explode with tears. And it's a nice relief that this show got the praise it deserved and the Tony accolades adding to its open-ended run so it can still enchant audiences eight times a week. Also, I haven't seen the show since last March...and I would love to change that as soon as possible.

The Lyons

Loved it's off-Broadway run at the Vineyard Theater last Fall and fell back in love with this show with its late-addition to the spring roster of Broadway openings. And it was somewhat of a joy that Nicky Silver finally made his Broadway debut after decades in the industry. Oh, by the way, this show was hi-freaking-larious, mostly thanks to Linda Lavin and her pitch-perfect performance. She was serving up Jewish mother shade at anyone in her crosshairs, while the audience just laughed along with her. Bow, the eff, down.

Death of a Salesman

So polished and effortless was this revival, universities and theater camps everywhere should show a video of this production during a lesson and say, "this is what you should aspire to achieve." It really wasn't surprising that this was a homerun - Mike Nichol's superb direction of Arthur Miller's timeless classic combined with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Andrew Garfield going for broke and NAILING the dysfunctional father/son dynamic of Willy and Biff Loman...just about everything was on point in a year where only a few revivals made a strong impression. Speaking of which...

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Just about flawless in every way, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf is already a frontrunner for several Tony nominations come this spring. What's not to like - especially Tracy Letts and Amy Morton as George and Martha respectively. These two were at eachothers throats and never relent in their bizarre game of marriage mischief, only aided on with the drinking Nick and the flat-out bombed Honey. Where this production could have felt tired or done, like most of the other revivals this year (less Death of a Salesman and maybe Wit), this was classic theater done well and also made its audiences thankful that our families or significant others are not nutbags (hopefully).

Merrily We Roll Along

If I had to pick out my favorite production of the year, it would probably be this Sondheim revival at New York City Center that ran for, like, two weeks back in February. A personal favorite of mine with its reverse-style of storytelling and, of course, Sondheim in top form, this production just knocked me dead with its emotional tale of three ambitious friends and how life brings them together and tears them apart. Throw in an amazing cast of Lin-Manuel Miranda, Colin Donnell, Elizabeth Stanley, Celia Keenan-Bolger and Betsy Wolfe and we have a production to remember for years to come.


Photo Credit: O&M Co. via Vogue.come
Photo Credit: Bridgette Lacombe via Vogue.com

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