“Theater companies everywhere have felt the economic chill and reacted anxiously. On Broadway, big-name revivals and commodity musicals are increasingly all there is; elsewhere, small-cast plays and stock comedies abound. But you can always see good acting, and if you keep an eye out, you’ll find no shortage of challenging fare…”
Archives for December 27, 2013
Today’s Wall Street Journal drama column is devoted to my best-of-2013 list. Here are some of the items on it:
• Best performance in a play. Sally Eames was hauntingly true to life in “Woman in Mind,” Alan Ayckbourn’s serious comedy about a brain-damaged woman who mistakes her fantasies of a loving family for the real thing, produced in Chicago as part of Eclipse Theatre Company’s all-Ayckbourn season.
• Best performance in a musical. Judy Kuhn and Melissa Errico gave identically gripping performances in John Doyle’s small-scale version of Stephen Sondheim’s “Passion,” mounted to miraculous effect by New York’s Classic Stage Company.
• Best revival of a play. Lear deBessonet’s gender-twisting production of Bertolt Brecht’s “Good Person of Szechwan,” which transferred to the Public Theater after a run at La MaMa, introduced New York playgoers to an immensely promising new directorial talent.
• Best revival of a musical. Amanda Dehnert staged “My Fair Lady” in Brecht’s deceptively austere manner for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, with results that weren’t preachy but intimate and appealing.
To see the rest of the list, including my picks for best play, musical, and company of the year, go here.
Bing Crosby sings Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” in Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas, his last Christmas TV special, telecast in 1977:
“I suggest that the givers of awards to actors, writers and artists should choose half a dozen, almost at random, and say, ‘These are people we wish to honour–equally.”
Alec Guinness, My Name Escapes Me: The Diary of a Retiring Actor