Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 in Review: The Best of the Best: Non-Performance

For the last four years, I've been sharing my favorite things of the theatre-going experience at the end of each year. In previous such blogs, I have included some "worsts," but this time around, I thought I would try to stay totally positive.  (I will, however, list the "most disappointing" shows of 2013 along with the best in next Monday's end-of- the year column.)

As has been tradition, I've divided my list into two parts, with today's being all about the non-performance aspects of attending New York theatre.  Tomorrow, I'll tackle the performance categories.


  • Best Broadway Show Logo for a Play: Twelfe Night, or What You Will/Richard III: Captures the duality of two shows in repertory, the authenticity of the production and its magnetic star.
  • Best Broadway Show Logo for a Musical: Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella: Captures the magic, the tradition and the update of the classic.

  • Best Off-Broadway Show Logo: Passion: CSC's logo matches its marvelous revival!  Captures the, well, passion and austerity of the show perfectly.
  • Best Re-vamp of an Established Show: Wicked: The 10th Anniversary of the show was top notch and so was the clever logo re-do.
  • Sustained Excellence in Theatre-related Advertising: Gypsy of the Year: At 25, this classic fundraising tradition always looks so snazzy.

  • Best Broadway Window Card - Play: The Nance: Sad and powerful.  Just like the play it advertises.
  • Best Broadway Window Card - Musical: TIE: Hands on a Hardbody and Pippin: Both capture the spirit of their respective shows.  The former gets the story and the themes; the latter encapsulates the mystery, adventure and aesthetic of the Tony-winning revival.
  • Best Off-Broadway Window Card: The Last 5 Years: Though not my favorite production by a long shot, the poster really captures the story, its stars and the specific production.


  • Best Television Commercial (Broadway Play): The Glass Menagerie: In 30 seconds, it advertises the critical acclaim, the stars, and the stunning production.  Not bad.
  • Best Television Commercial (Broadway Musical): Pippin: As dazzling and exciting as this amazing revival is...

  • Best Television Commercial (Off-Broadway): Fun Home: So much to see, and it only makes you want more.  And the end of the ad gives me the same goose pimples that that same moment gave me in the theatre.

  • Best Theatre Information Television Series: Theatre Talk: Consistently great interviews.  Just one question: why can't Michael Reidel's obvious love for theatre that he shows here show up in his column, too?
  • Best Theatre Information Internet Series:'s The Show: Funny and informational - and told only as real theatre-lovers can.
  • Best Behind-the-Scenes Series:'s The Princess Diaries: OK, so I'd watch Laura Osnes do just about anything.  But her series of behind the scenes webisodes about Cinderella are funny and always keep the viewers in mind - not a second of self-indulgency!

  • Best Show Website: Kinky Boots: Not only do you get the standard website with cast info, show info and ticket info, you also get the "Interactive Factory Experience."  Pretty cool!
  • Best Theatre Website: Spotlight on Broadway: The history of every active Broadway theatre, told through archival photos of the building and productions, plus recorded interviews.  What more could a Broadway lover ask for?


  • Best Theatre-Related Book (Non-Fiction): The Untold Stories of Broadway: Volume I by Jennifer Ashley Tepper
  • Best Theatre-Related Book (Fiction): Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle  

  • Best Theatre-at-the-Movies: London's Merrily We Roll Along
  • Best Broadway Documentary - Show: Broadway Idiot
  • Best Broadway Documentary - Information: Six By Sondheim

  • Best Theatre Person Concert CD: Live at 54 Below: Laura Benanti: In Constant Search of the Right Kind of Attention
  • Best Packaging of a Broadway Cast Recording: Matilda (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
  • Best Cast Recording of the Year: Pippin (The New Broadway Cast Recording)


  • Best Merchandising for a Musical: Pippin: Re-live the show with a hula hoop and stuffed duck of your very own!
  • Best Merchandising for a Play: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike: The mug alone sets this Best Play's merch apart from the rest!

  • Best Merchandising for a Long-Running Show: Jersey Boys: Oh! What a night! And what merchandise!  There's even a clock made out of a vinyl LP!
  • Best Merch Tie-In: Hands down, the winner is the Cinderella tiara!

  • Best Merch Trend: Revamping show t-shirts.  So many choices, and great for repeat fans!
  • Best Souvenir Program - Play: The Glass Menagerie: a terrific tribute to the production and to the history of the brilliant play.
  • Best Souvenir Program - Musical: Pippin: There's real "Magic To Do" with the supper cool slip cover that surrounds this picture book.


  • Best Breakfast: Edison Cafe - It is fast, it is plentiful.  It is always hot - even the waffles!  And when was the last time you burnt your tongue on scrambled eggs?  I did just that on my last visit...

  • Best Lunch: Dallas BBQ - Any location.  They give huge amounts of food (the kid's meal is a chicken finger dinner for adults in any other menu).  It also has the fastest service in the city, perfect for grabbing a quick bite right before curtain, even when you are a little behind schedule.

  • Best Dinner: Junior's - Except for the crammed-like-sardines waiting area, the wait for a table on weekends is never as long as they predict.  And with a full menu and bar service, there is something for everyone in your party - a good sized kid's menu, sandwiches and salads, an enormous deli menu (with equally enormous portions), and an great selection of dinners - healthy stuff, comfort food, yummy indulgences are all on the list.  And, then there's the desserts... (My favorite isn't even cheesecake - I LOVE the yellow cake with chocolate icing!)

  • Best Margarita - Frozen: Dallas BBQ- Texas Size with an extra shot!
  • Best Margarita - Rocks: Junior's - Large and, uh, very potent...


  • Best Theatre Lobby: The Foxwoods Theatre
  • Best Theatre Seating: Stephen Sondheim Theatre



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