Tuesday, July 2, 2019

300 Shows: Best Performances by an Actor & Most Disappointing Performances

Pretty much every show has wonderful performances, and with 300 different Broadway shows under my belt, I've been so fortunate to see many unbelievably talented people. After all, with the rarest of exceptions, when someone makes it to the Big Time, they have to be unbelievably talented. Rarer still are those performances which are legendary. (I don't know many theater fans who wouldn't give their eye teeth to have been there when Laurette Taylor opened in The Glass Menagerie.) Just as with shows, when you are lucky enough to have seen so much, it takes more and more to impress and really stand out. That said, I had a really hard time narrowing down this list of actors to just 15. These are performances that are outstanding for a variety of reasons, but all of them have this in common: they made such an impression that, for me, this role/performance is/will be a benchmark in their career. Their work in these roles has stuck with me; I look forward to whatever they do next.

300 Shows: Best Performances by an Actor

Michael Cerveris - Fun Home

James Corden - One Man, Two Guv’nors

Alan Cumming - Cabaret

Raul Esparza - Company

John Gallagher Jr. - Spring Awakening

George Hearn - La Cage aux Folles

Joshua Henry - The Scottsboro Boys

Nathan Lane - Angels in America

Rob McClure - Chaplin
Howard McGillin - The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Martin Short - The Goodbye Girl

Taylor Trensch - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Benjamin Walker - American Psycho

Patrick Wilson - The Full Monty

B.D. Wong - M. Butterfly

300 Shows: The Most Disappointing Performances

Of course, there are also disappointments; thankfully, they are few. I should preface this list with the following: I respect and genuinely love the work of each of these actors. That said, this is not their best work (even if three of these are Tony-winning performances) - either it is because they overacted, were horribly miscast, obviously "phoning it in, paled in comparison to the hype (and subsequent replacements) or simply out of their element. Can you guess which is which? (Before you @ me, wait until you see the next installment of this series!)

Kristin Chenoweth - On the Twentieth Century

Harry Connick, Jr. - On a Clear Day You Can See Forever

Sutton Foster - Anything Goes

Neil Patrick Harris - Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Ben Platt - Dear Evan Hansen


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