Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Year at the Theater

What did I do in 2011? I spent a great deal of the year at the theater. I saw well over 100 plays, musicals, and cabarets. I enjoyed many; I also disliked many. However, I will always be a fan of live theater and look forward to 2012.

If I had to sum up 2011 in a few themes (meaningful to me of course) I would have to say the following:

Broadway is Really Gay
At the Tony Awards this summer, Neil Patrick Harris opened with a number that Broadway is not just for gays anymore. However, there was a lot of gay content on the New York City stage in 2011. I'm sure that I’ve missed a few but here they are (Broadway and Off): La Cage aux Follies, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, The Book of Mormon, The Normal Heart, Burning, Motherhood Out Loud, One Arm, Play It Cool, Sons of the Prophet, Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, The Submission, Unnatural Acts, Wild Animals You Should Know, Lysistrata Jones, and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.

Black Female Playwrights Represented
I wrote a series on black female playwrights and have been very impress with the representation of this demographic on the New York City stage. Congratulations to The Mountaintop, No Child, By the Way Meet Vera Stark, Milk Like Sugar, Stick Fly, Horsedreams, The River Crosses Rivers II, Desdemona and Suzan-Lori Parks’ contribution to the Broadway reimagined The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. You go ladies! Now maybe we can see more black folks in theater audiences.

Actor-Playwrights Were a Bore
I am learning that I need to beware of playwrights who direct their own plays. Let’s see - A Charity Case and Tricks the Devil Taught Me – Need I say anything else. I am also learning to beware of plays written by actor-playwrights. After seeing All New People and We Live Here, I didn’t even bother with Asuncion. Thanks goodness because the reviews were lukewarm once again.

Sondheim is King
There is no stopping Stephen Sondheim, even at 81 years old. Revivals of his A Little Night Music and Follies were mounted on Broadway. His music was included in Broadway’s An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin. There were many cabarets featuring his music. I personally enjoyed Karen Akers at the Algonquin and Sondheim Unplugged at the Laurie Beechman Theater. Then he released the second volume of his book, Look, I Made a Hat. I won’t even get into how he made the creative team behind The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess sweat when he sent a note to The New York Times.

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