Tuesday, December 21, 2010

10 Top Ten List Blogs of 2010 - Stage

I'm doing my Top 10 Lists of 10 things I loved in 2010. Get excited.

The Top 10 Stage Moments of my 2010

10. Bells Are Ringing. The NY City Center production that was more of a staged reading than it was a full production, but I went to see Kelli O'Hara and it was such a wonderful show. She was flawless, as I knew she would be, the cast was great, and I was surprised by the fact that the choreography was so legit.

9.La Boheme at the SoHo Theatre in London. When I went to London, I wanted to see a big production (more on that later) and a smaller fringe production. This was a modern day telling of the opera, sung classically but with the words changed to fit today's slang. It was funny, heartbreaking, and innovative. A third of the play took place down stairs in the bar. Awesome.

8.Memphis. It won the Tony for a reason, because it's wonderful. It's wonderful music, wonderful performances, and a wonderful story. I hope more people continue to go and see this show because it's really something special. And can we talk for a minute about the dancing? They were not playing games on that stage.

7.Hair in London. I know. Shouldn't this be higher on the list? Yes. It should. But since I'd seen it before, it landed here at 7. But I don't know that I need to elaborate much on it. It changed my life the first time, it had me in the throws of a sobbing fit this time. I've never heard that kind of sound come off a stage and I've never felt more encompassed by a show and the feeling it provoked. It was perfect.

6.A Brief Encounter. What a play! It was funny, it was quirky, it was interesting, it was different, it was innovative. The cast was awesome and more talented than they let on even. There was a jam session at the back of the theater after the show was over. It truly was wonderful and the kind of play that makes you believe that you can make absolutely anything happen on the stage.

5.West Side Story. I still can't get over the fact that it happened. When Tony and Maria see each other and the lights dim and the background fades out. Just like in the film. It happened there in front of me. And the snapping. It was exactly what I imagined it would be like, and more. It really was a stunning stunning stunning show.

4.Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. I'd only heard good things about this show, I tried multiple times to see it and finally did. It told a story in a way that isn't traditional and so I really loved that. The music, what little of it there is, is good and the more I listen to it, the more I like it and the way they tell the story. It had all the angst of a jukebox musical by Green Day, but with an original story and original music which makes it infinitely better.

3.Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake. Seeing this was something like a dream. Taking the conventional telling of Swan Lake and flipping it, having all male swans, made this a completely different story. It wasn't so much a love story any longer. What it became was a story about seeking to become the person you want to be and chasing after something that you are afraid of inside of you. It was both brilliant and beautiful, both poignant and profound.

2.The Scottsboro Boys. This was the best musical of the season. Hands down. It was simple in it's storytelling and that made it all the more effective. The music was amazing, the performances were stunning and everything about this show worked. I'm hoping that it is able to come back before the Tonys to really show them what a brilliant show it is. When looking at the juggernaut that is Spider Man, it's easy to feel dwarfed, but this is what real theatre is about.

1. Oliver! in London. I've never seen such a grand production of a traditional musical in my life. With a cast and orchestra of almost 100 people, this was truly a spectacle. I even took the backstage tour of the theater one day, just to learn more about the oldest continually running theater in the world, The Royal Theater at Drury Lane. How incredible. While I've seen some really incredible things this year, this has the place in my heart at number one.

Consolation: It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman. Saw it in Dallas, I can tell there are things they are working on to make it better, but it was really a terrific show. Right there with it is The Mousetrap, in London. The longest running play in the world, it was a throwback to a simpler time in theater, as was Superman. Both were engaging and interesting and both deserved to be mentioned here.

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