Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 in Review: JK's TheatreScene Awards, Part I: The Non-Performance Awards

Over the final weeks of the year, I've been blogging about the Year in Theatre.  In the days to come, I'll blog about my favorite shows, actors and actresses for the year, as well as those that disappointed me. But I thought I'd continue with some "JK's TheatreScene" Awards for 2011, mostly to recognize things not normally covered by traditional awards.  For three years now, I still hate the generic name, but I can't think of anything else (feel free to offer suggestions).  These awards cover theatre-going from January through December 2011.  Like last year, I've divided them into two categories, Non-Performance and Performance Awards.  Here are the former, in no particular order:

(Winners that are a repeat from last year have an "*".  Click on pictures to enlarge!)

Virgil's on 44th Street

John's Pizza on 44th Street
It used to be a church!
*Best Place to Eat Cheap and See Broadway Stars: The Cafe Edison in the Edison Hotel
*Best Place to Eat Cheap and Still Afford Broadway Shows: Dallas BBQ on 42nd Street
Best Place to Eat, Leave Full and Afford Discount Tickets to a Broadway Show: Virgil's on 44th Street, just behind ABC Studios.  (ABOVE, TOP)
Best Pizza in the Theatre District: John's Pizza across from The Phantom of the Opera amazing toppings, each pizza hand made after you order it, and the best to-go wrapping (each slice separately in foil and bagged for travel) in the city. (ABOVE, BOTTOM)

Best Place to People Watch and Catch a Few Broadway Babies on the Way to Work (Daytime and Sunshine): Shubert Alley - a timeless tradition! (ABOVE)
Best Place to People Watch and Catch a Few Broadway Babies on the Way to Work (Daytime and Raining): The Marriott Marquis Breezeway - there are seats on an odd tube shaped thing, and it's fun to see who is buying tickets at the Marquis Box Office.  Plus it sure beats getting wet, and when it is hot out, shade and a breeze are always welcome.
Best Place to People Watch and Catch Those Ticket Discount Hawkers (Early Evening and Post-Theatre at Night): The Times Square Pedestrian Mall - who can resist the lights of Broadway?

Best Ads/Logo - Broadway Play: Arcadia (ABOVE) - Simple and elegant.
Worst Ads/Logo - Broadway Play: Stick Fly (ABOVE) - Simple and gross.  Fly paper can't really be an enticement, no matter how much it has to do with the play.  Can it?
Best Ads/Logo - Broadway Musical: Bonnie and Clyde (BELOW) - It tells you the whole story of the two ill-fated lovers and their time.
Worst Ads/Logo - Broadway Musical: On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (BELOW) - Huh?

Best Ads/Logo - Broadway Long-Running Revamp: TIE The Phantom of the Opera and Chicago (ABOVE) - The EXACT reason both are the longest-running and both are classics.
Worst Ads/Logo - Broadway Long-Running Revamp: Mamma Mia! (ABOVE) - The perfect wordless logo, now with words.  Presumptuous and ego maniacal.  Two things that show is definitely not.
Best Ads/Logo - Broadway-related: The 25th Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction (BELOW) - Colorful and exciting, just like the event.
Worst Ads/Logo - Broadway-related: Broadway Bares 21: Masterpiece (BELOW) - Yawn.

Best Show Window Card - Play: Other Desert Cities (ABOVE)
Best Show Window Card - Musical: Wonderland (ABOVE)
Best Off-Broadway Window Card: Lucky Guy (BELOW)
Best Broadway Body Part in an Ad: Any part of Brandon, Reed or Nicholas (BELOW) - Broadway Bares 21: Masterpiece - Broadway Bares Website 
Worst Show Window Card - All Genres: The House of Blue Leaves (NOT PICTURED)  My gift to you.

Best New Trend: Broadway filming events and showing them at local movie theaters.  Company and Memphis were two of my favorite evenings out this year.  And the movie theater was full both times!
Worst New Trend: Broadway not paying serious attention to social media and non-traditional media to support their shows.

Best Broadway Website: Godspell.  Really cool, and easy to navigate! (click the link to the right)
Worst Broadway Website: Lincoln Center Theater. Austere. Informative.  Difficult to navigate through closed eyes.
Best Broadway Commercial (Musical): Bonnie and Clyde.  Just like last year's winner (The Scottsboro Boys) the ad was brilliant, but it has to run for people to notice, right?
Best Broadway Commercial (Play): The Normal Heart.  So few words, so much meaning.  Great play, great ad.

Best Theatre: Circle-in-the Square.  Two shows in a row, Lombardi and Godspell, have proven that the space can work.  And it is pretty comfortable no matter where you sit.
Best Theatre Lobby: The Foxwoods Theatre.  Huge, historic and beautiful.  You almost hate to leave to take your seats.

Best Merchandise for a New Musical: Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark 
Best Merchandise for a Long Running Musical: The Lion King.  Nobody does it better than Disney.
Best Trend in Merchandising: Smart phone and tablet covers with show logos.  Godspell did it first.
Best Souvenir Program: Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.  It is a stunning pictorial of the event you just saw.  And the only injury you risk is a paper cut.
Best Souvenir Program That Rips Off Another: Baby, It's You! Wasn't the show enough of a crime? The producers of Million Dollar Quartet should sue for copyright infringement.

Best Show-Specific Merchandise: TIE The T-Shirts they sell at The Book of Mormon.  The bullets and flasks they sell at Bonnie and Clyde.  Nothing says crime spree and hard living like that!
Best Original Cast Recording Packaging: Follies.  A top notch booklet and package for a top notch production.
Best Theatre Related Book: Look, I Made a Hat.  It just had to be, didn't it?

And finally...

Best Broadway Farewell: The Follies Ads

(Pictures of merchandise from the Playbill Store; Foxwoods Theatre photos from FDA-Online; Follies, Lombardi photos by Joan Marcus; show logos  and other images from Getty Images)

It's not too early to suggest categories for the 2012 version of these awards!  Was there something I missed this year?  An award (or three) that you don't agree with?  Let me know!  Email me at jkstheatresene@yahoo.com!



  1. I agree about the filming of musicals to be shown in theaters. I saw Company this year and thought it was wonderful. Personally, I wasn't a fan of Memphis, but I'd love it if more shows did this. Living FAR from New York, the time and money to take trips to see shows can be difficult. I can think of several shows that closed before I could get to NY that I still would have paid to have seen in a movie theater.

  2. Whenever we visit NYC, we always go to John's Pizza after seeing a show. Great pizza!


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