Before 2016 is officially in the books, I wanted to recap my non-Hamilton favorites from 2016 because I never have enough time to write posts after seeing shows!
Best Musical, Broadway: Shuffle Along…
Unfortunately placed in the same season as a juggernaut, Shuffle Along was great for many of the same reasons as Hamilton. With a beautiful cast of superstars, the story of how forgotten stories and legacies provides an emotional journey. It’s upsetting that its run ended so soon, and will be just another footnote in the musical history books, just hoping to be remembered.
Best Musical Revival: She Loves Me
A charming throwback to the days of yesteryear, She Loves Me left me utterly enthralled with its fantastic cast from top to bottom (despite the fact that each and every one of them was white!). I still think it’s a travesty that Gavin Creel wasn’t nominated for his devilishly charming performance as Kodaly. The lush orchestrations were everything I would want from an old-school musical, and the jewel-box set was a revelation.
Best Off-Broadway Musical: Hadestown
Great original music with a beautiful diverse cast. An actual post lives here!
Best Off-Broadway Musical Revival: Sweet Charity
As Charity, Sutton Foster gets to do exactly everything you want Sutton Foster to be doing. She sings, she dances, she gets her leg extended way farther than should be humanly possible, all while in arms’ reach of the audience. It also lends a fantastic performance from Joel Perez, who gets to stretch all his acting muscles. Every dance sequence had me sitting there with a giant smile on my face. This show just made me smile, which is ironic, given the subject matter. I guess I’m just always rooting for Charity! Also dripping with diversity and an all-female band!
Best Broadway Play: Eclipsed
A total eclipse of the heart, this show and its history-making black creators and stars left an indelible impression. This show stayed with me for days afterwards and really made me think. I dismissed a comment from one of the actresses who thought all five actors could get nominated; then I saw the show and realized it was a distinct possibility. I jumped in my seat, I cried, I thought about the show the whole way home and then some. A brilliant Broadway debut from Lupita Nyong’o, who I have to commend for bringing huge star power (aka box office draw) to show that probably wouldn’t have made anywhere near as big of a splash without her.
Best Play Revival: A View from the Bridge
After finally seeing the show closing weekend, I was wondering what everyone was gushing about. And then it happened. A masterful use of a box set, the raves do it no justice. A brilliant concept from director Ivo van Hove, and great performances, lead by Mark Strong, this production completely invigorates the writings of Arthur Miller.
Best Off-Broadway Play: Aubergine
I literally started crying during the opening monologue of Aubergine and was practically weeping by the time the show ended. An extremely emotional play, Julia Cho’s play explored how our relationships with food are tied to the people and moments in our lives. Intensely emotional, intensely satisfying. One of the best nights in the theater for me this year (and also for Kleenex!).