Friday, 30 December 2016


OK, here goes, in no particular order:
VIETGONE by Qui Nguyen. This may be the most brilliantly clever work I saw in 2016. Nguyen has mixed various popular cultural forms from Kung Fu movies, to comic books to rap to create a theatrical picture of the romance of his parents, two young Vietnamese who feel lost in America in the 1970s.
FALSETTOS by William Finn and James Lapine. A heartfelt revival of this AIDS-era musical with nary a false moment. The cast couldn't be better. Funny and, ultimately, heartbreaking.
SHE LOVES ME by Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick and Joe Masterhoff. Another perfectly cast revival of a classic musical. Even better than the original production.
RED SPEEDO by Lucas Hnath. A powerful picture of American corruption and the commodification of people that is right up there in quality and intensity with works like Arthur Miller's ALL MY SONS and Clifford Odet's GOLDEN BOY. This deserves to be considered a contemporary classic.
THE HARVEST by Samuel D. Hunter. A church basement containing a group of lost young people about to go save souls in the Middle East. A sweet, but powerful picture of people who feel the need for faith and religious ecstasy.
UNDERGROUND RAILROAD GAME by Jennifer Kidwell and Scott Sheppard. An extremely inventive look at American racism through a middle-school assembly.
WILD by Mike Bartlett. I saw this in London but it is bound to come to New York. A funny, scary riff on Edward Snowden that asks whether meaningful, heroic action is possible in the 21st century.
INDECENT by Paula Vogel. A powerful celebration of theatre and lgbt history. This is the story of the first American production of Sholem Asch's play GOD OF VENGEANCE which had at its center a lesbian romance. It's moving to Broadway. Don't miss it.
HOMOS by Jordan Seavey. Here's an intimate little play that asks the big questions about being gay and same-sex love in the 21st century.
DEAR EVAN HANSEN. Without a doubt, the best new musical of 2016. Strong book, lovely score, superb performances and a touching story everyone can relate to.

MY BEST ACTING AWARDS this year go mainly to ENSEMBLES in which it is impossible to single out on Best Actor: the casts of FALSETTOS, SHE LOVES ME, and INDECENT.
Nor can one choose between two brilliant DUETS: Jennifer Kidwell and Scott Sheppard, who are amazing in their various split-second transformations in UNDERGROUND RAILROAD GAME or Michael Urie and Robin De Jesus who play off of each other so brilliantly in HOMOS.
Ben Platt gives a SOLO performance in DEAR EVAN HANSEN that must be seen to be believed. Never out of character whether acting or singing, Platt fully inhabits his troubled character.

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