Today, I'll share my favorites -and a few not-so-favorites - in 37 non-performance categories. As always, I welcome your comments and your own "winners." Write in (email@example.com), Tweet me (@jkstheatrescene), or leave a comment below! I look forward to hearing from all of you!
THE BEST (AND WORST) OF THE 2012 THEATRESCENE:
(* - denotes a repeat winner)
For Broadway Foodies and People Watchers:
*Best Cheap Eats: Café Edison - Not just cheap, but the best place to catch a glimpse of your favorite Broadway stars stocking up on soup and coffee to go!
*Best Cheap Eats w/ Drinks: Dallas BBQ - The frozen drinks are enormous, the portions are enormous, the prices are not!
Best Deli Sandwich to Go: Starlite Deli - Next to Bowlmor Lanes, this hole in the wall is easy to miss, but the chip/soda and deli sandwich choices are worth stepping into the door. Some seriously good chicken salad!
Best Dessert: Juniors - You don't have to eat there to enjoy their desserts (though the whole menu is pretty darned good), since there are TWO to-go store fronts. Famous for their cheesecake, I'd recommend the yellow cake with chocolate icing... OMG!
Best Comfort Food: Southern Hospitality - Fried chicken like you can only get in the South, and probably the best mashed potatoes and gravy in the city. Plus the sides come on small skillets - too cute!
Best Place to Star Gaze Under Cover: Juniors Porch - At the corner of Shubert Alley and directly across from the Marriott Marquis Breezeway, there is no better place to catch a glimpse of your favorite Broadway folks on their way to and from work.
Best Place to People Watch: TKTS Steps - A great view, a great breeze. Unless it is raining. But at least you can sit and not be bothered...
Worst Place to People Watch: Times Square Pedestrian Mall - Last year's best has become this year's worst. The pan-handlers are bad enough, but the ticket hawkers, fake Elmos and tourists taking pictures of themselves on the jumbo-tron make the whole area feel skeezy to me. And is it me or does the whole place smell funny? It has become the 42nd Street of the new millennium.
For Advertising and Print Media:
Best Logo Broadway Play: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf - Simple and eye-catching. And the superb symbol of this boozy classic.
Worst Logo Broadway Play: The Lyons - Simple and boring. Saw (and loved) the play and still don't quite get the pink background with the tear through it.
Best Logo Musical: Bring It On - Great image from a distance and even more interesting up close. Young and sexy, fun and athletic. Just like the production.
Worst Logo Musical: Jesus Christ Superstar - Not religious. Not super. Not starry. So straightforward it is dull. Just like the production.
Best Off-Broadway Logo Musical: Bare: The Musical - A smart way to tell the story and capture the themes of the show. And how trendy to use Instagram!
Best Off-Broadway Logo Play: Cock - Clever double entendre. And they could still advertise the show this way...
Best Advertising Revamp of a Long-Running Show: Mamma Mia! - The new cast and the new photos have revitalized last year's worst revamp...
Best Advertising Revamp of a Broadway-related event: Broadway Bares - Just like Mamma Mia!, Broadway Bares got back on track with this year's Happy Endings. I'd love to follow Jack right up that beanstalk!
Best Window Card (Broadway Musical): Once
Best Window Card (Broadway Play): Peter and the Starcatcher
Best Window Card Off-Broadway: Bare: The Musical
For Advertising and Multitmedia (Internet, Social Media, Video):
Best Commercial (Musical): TIE Once and Chaplin
Best Commercial (Play): Peter and the Starcatcher
Best Use of the Internet: Newsies - Those boys everywhere! They Tweet, they Facebook and the produce so much behind-the-scenes video, it would take you a whole day to watch it all! (Way to go, Andrew Keenan-Bolger!)
Best Broadway Multimedia Trend: Music Videos by Broadway casts! They get better with each new venture. Right now, the cast of The Mystery of Edwin Drood takes the cake!
Best Broadway Social Media Trend: #SIP - Makes me look forward to Saturdays at about 3:30 every week... and when I'm at a Saturday matinee, now I always wonder what the cast is doing while we wait for act two.
#SIPs from Evita and Newsies
(and with founders Max von Essen and Andrew Keenan-Bolger)
Best Website: Bring It On - It is pretty standard for a show site these days, but it looks so slick and the content is uniformly entertaining...just like the show.
Worst Website: Roundabout Theater Company - It starts out promisingly enough, with the large colorful show logos, but the content is as about exciting as the reference section of the public library.
Best Theatre Wesite: Playbill.com/Playbill Vault/Playbill Memory Bank - The gold standard. By far.
For Merch/Show Collectors:
Best Merchandising Musical: Silence! - So much like the show (and the film that inspired it), the merch is so disgusting I can't describe it here. But it is merch perfection - variety, quantity AND show tie-in!
Best Merchandising Play: Peter and the Starcatcher - All usual stuff, only better. Plus books! And 'Staches!
Best Merchandising Long-Running: Wicked - They are smart enough to keep the classics AND to rotate new stuff in for the legions of repeat fans. They are
almost as good as the Disney people...
Best Merch Tie-in: Leg Lamps at A Christmas Story: The Musical - Actual lamps and mini-legs on a string of lights. Actually, all of the merchandise was perfect for fans of the film AND the show.
Best Merch Trend: Tall Latte Coffee Mugs - OK, they've been around off and on for a couple of years, but more and more shows seem to be stocking these. Great for coffee or for pen and pencil storage on
my your desk at work.
Best Souvenir Program: Newsies' Pape - You gotta love it that Disney sells the program in a format that will allow the 'tweens to play Newsies at home...
For General Media:
CD Packaging of a Broadway Cast Recording: Bonnie and Clyde
Theatre Book: The Broadway Musical Quiz Book
For Best Theatre Experience:
Best Lobby: New World Stages - Spacious, modern and infinitely interesting. Half a dozen shows (or more), plus merch stands, an art gallery, and there is still room to breathe! Amazing!
Best Theatre: Barrymore - The most comfortable seating and best sight lines of all the old houses.
And REMEMBER: As always, I welcome your comments and your own "winners." Write in (firstname.lastname@example.org), Tweet me (@jkstheatrescene), or leave a comment below! I look forward to hearing from all of you!