Broadway 2017: Year of the Woman - and the men weren't too bad, either...:
|LuPone and Ebersole in War Paint|
My Broadway year also included spectacular turns by several other of my favorite ladies: Amelie's Phillipa Soo, Pacific Overtures' Ann Harada, Sunday in the Park with George's Annaleigh Ashford (the first Dot to make me cry!), Hello, Dolly's Kate Baldwin, The Great Comet's Denee Benton (even better than the first time I saw her in 2016), and the always awesome Karen Ziemba and Emily Skinner of The Prince of Broadway.
This isn't to say that men weren't well represented in 2017. Not by a long shot. Amelie's Adam Chanler-Berat continues to be one of my favorite young performers, and there was the double-dose of excellence that was Sunset Boulevard and The Prince of Broadway's Michael Xavier, Sunday in the Park with George's Jake Gyllenhaal (the best George by far), Hello, Dolly's Gavin Creel and Taylor Trensch (who I hope to see in Dear Evan Hansen), and The Great Comet's Lucas Steele (even better than the first time I saw him in 2016).
Best Performance of a New Broadway Song:
|Chanler-Berat, Soo and the "Booth"|
For me, the whole show was the most underrated, under-appreciated show of the year. I don't know about you, but I needed a romantic fantasy. Isn't there something to be said for a show this year that starts with a song called "Times Are Hard for Dreamers" and ends with "Where Do We Go From Here?" And this song moved me like no other in a new musical in 2017. Daniel Messe and Nathan Tysen are two writers I hope we here from again soon
Best New Performance of a Broadway Classic:
|One Dazzling Sally Bowles|
This Act One closer of The Prince of Broadway was a mouth-agape-can't-find-the-words stunner. She was simply amazing. I'll just leave it at that.
|Xavier, post-costume change|
A powerful performance that made this song a standout that it never was before. Of course, it all started with entrance applause for a wet, bathing suit clad Xavier, and included a gasp-inducing costume "change." Nah. That helped. But the performance was amazing. The Tony nominators made a mistake leaving him off the list.
Best Return: Glenn Close as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard
|It's a Return... 23 years in the making|
Best Legendary Performance: Bette Midler as Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly!
|3 Broadway Stand-outs|
Best Replacement: Ingrid Michaelson as Sonya in Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812
|Denee Benton and Ingrid Michaelson|
Best Cast of 2017:
|Metcalf, Houdyshell, Rashad and Cooper|
A Doll's House, Part 2
Best Technical Element: The Chromolume in Sunday in the Park with George
|Beowulf Boritt's Chromolume|
And the Top Honor of 2017 goes to...
Best Theater-going Experience of the Year: The First National Tour of Fun Home:
Sam Gold took the best of his Broadway staging and blended it seamlessly with his Public staging. Kate Shindle proved to be a terrific Alison, and Robert Petkoff offered a touching take on Bruce. And there was a lovely, heartbreaking Helen in Susan Moniz's mesmerizing performance. And remember this name: Abby Corrigan. This Medium Alison is going to be a big star.
* Amelie, Pacific Overtures, Sunset Boulevard, Hello, Dolly!, War Paint, Sunday in the Park with George, A Doll's House, Part 2, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, The Prince of Broadway, Fun Home
(Photos by J. Cervantes, J. Marcus, J. Pugiliese, B. Boritt, Getty Images)