Thursday, December 19, 2019

2019 in Review: The Best of Broadway (and Off) in Performance

2019 is rapidly coming to a close (which may not be such a bad thing these days) and today we are going to celebrate some of our favorite performances over the past twelve months. We came up with 28 categories - from pre-show to post-show and everything in between. We hope you have as much fun with our choices as we did choosing them!

Over the past calendar year, we saw 23 shows: 16 shows on Broadway and 3 off-Broadway. and 4 regional productions. They were Be More Chill, Beetlejuice, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Hadestown, Hamilton, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, King Lear, Little Shop of Horrors (off-Broadway), Merrily We Roll Along (off-Broadway), Moulin Rouge!, Oklahoma!, Puffs (off-Broadway), The Cher Show, The Lightning Thief, The Phantom of the Opera, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, To Kill A Mockingbird, and Tootsie.

2019 in Review:
The Best of Broadway (and off):

🌟Best Pre-Show Show: The Sword Swallowers Moulin Rouge!
  • As if walking into that breathtaking theater isn't enough, the erotic beat and sensuous cast members circulate until just before the show starts. Then you are riveted by two statuesque beauties...
🌟Star on the Rise - Play: Sean Carjaval King Lear
  • I have seen many productions of King Lear, and never before has the role of the banished Edgar made more of an impression as it did here. I'm telling you, this guy is going places.
🌟Star of the Rise - Musical: Micaela Diamond The Cher Show
  • Magnetic. Dazzling. Superb voice. She has it all. The best "I Got You Babe" and "The Beat Goes On" this side of Queen Cher herself.
🌟Best Entrance - Play: Moaning Myrtle Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  • She rose from the depths and made quite a splash. It's been quite a year for bathrooms on Broadway.
🌟Best Entrance - Musical: Satine Moulin Rouge!
  • As befitting a glamorous star of the Moulin Rouge, Satine (the glamorous Karen Olivo) floats down from the heavens on a swing. She really is a sparkling diamond.  
🌟Best Kiss: Christian and Satine Moulin Rouge!
  • When Aaron Tveit and Karen Olivo finally lock lips, it is so satisfying!
🌟Best Almost Kiss: Curly and Jud Oklahoma!
  • Everyone in the room was sure they'd (Damon Daunno and Patrick Vaill) start making out. You could cut the sexual tension in the room with a knife. But they didn't... sigh...
🌟Best Chemistry - Play: Anthony Boyle and Sam Clemmett Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  • You could feel it out in the lobby, let alone in the seats. It made the adventure at hand all the more poignant and very human.
🌟Best Chemistry - Musical: TIE: 
Robyn Hurder and Ricky Rojas Moulin Rouge! 
  • I needed to smoke a cigarette after their Act Two opener, "Bad Romance/Toxic." Damn!
Ali Stroker and James Davis Oklahoma!
  • Yee Haw, that was some sweet kissin' on the prairie. I don't think they could've been any cuter.
🌟Best Friends - Play: Scout, Dill and Jem To Kill a Mockingbird
  • A beautiful thing with sweet, perfect performances by Celia Keenan-Bolger, Gideon Glick and Will Pullen.
🌟Best Friends - Musical: Percy, Annabeth and Grover The Lightning Thief
  • Nothing creates fast friends like fighting the gods and dealing with teen angst all at once.  Chris McCarrell, Kristin Stokes and Jorrel Javier handled it all like the pros they are.
🌟Best Mythic Performance - Actor: Andre De Shields as Hermes Hadestown
  • When he took the stage, he took our breath and hearts away. A performance of the ages in a career full of them.
🌟Best Mythic Performance - Actress: Amber Gray as Persephone Hadestown
  • Talk about riveting! She was brilliant ever single second she was on the stage. "Anybody want a drink?" is my new mantra.
🌟Best Performance as an Inanimate Object - Play: The Sorting Hat Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  • Brian Thomas Abraham is the man behind the bowler. A creative, theatrical way to make magic!
🌟Best Performance as an Inanimate Object - Musical: The bullet Hamilton
  • Leave it to Tommy Kail to come up with such a cool way to stop time and still "shoot' a bullet.
🌟Best Actor in Multiple Roles - Play: Ruth Wilson as Cordelia and the Fool King Lear
  • I've said it before. I'll say it again: this woman is a sensation.
🌟Best Actor in Multiple Roles - Musical: Ryan Knowles as Chiron and Others The Lightning Thief
  • The man is a chameleon. And he's hilarious. More of him, please.

🌟Best Scenery Chewer: Alex Brightman Beetlejuice
  • Normally, being a scenery chewer is a negative thing. But in this case, it's a masterclass in knowing when to push and when to hold back. Bravo bravo bravo.
🌟Best Icon Recreation: TIE: 
Stephanie J. Block as Cher The Cher Show
Nkeke Obi-Melekwe as Tina Turner Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
  • How could we choose one over the other? They are as iconic as the women they portray.

🌟Best Dance Moves: Jason Tam Be More Chill
  • I loved how he moved like a computer chip. Who knew computer chips had dance moves?
🌟Best Dance Moves by a Non-Dancer: Aaron Tveit Moulin Rouge!
  • Sharing a stage with the best dancers on Broadway isn't easy. But he sure kept up.
🌟Unsung Hero: Reeve Carney Hadestown
  • He was left out of all the awards, which is a shame. We thought he was wonderful and so charming.
🌟Best Unexpected Performance: Jonathan Groff Little Shop of Horrors
  • A lot of people decided he was too "hot" to play Seymour. Happily, he proves everyone who said that wrong. Besides, being geeky is sexy all by itself.
🌟Best Theater on TV: High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
  • One of the best things on Disney+, and one of the most fun shows on TV period. How can you not love Kate Reinders playing Kristin Chenoweth?

🌟Best Long-Running Portrayal: Michael Park and Jennifer Laura Thompson Dear Evan Hansen
  • We are so glad we made it back to see them before they left the show. After over 1,000 performances over the years, they were as fresh as opening night.
🌟Best Replacement: Andrew Barth Feldman Dear Evan Hansen
  • This young guy's beautifully touching performance made me love a show I previously hated. That says a lot.
🌟Best Understudy - Actor: Ryan Vasquez as George Washington Hamilton
  • You'd never know he was an understudy. A brilliant performance. We would have loved a chance to see him in the title role.
🌟Best Understudy - Actress: Chelsea Turbin as Audrey Little Shop of Horrors
  • Maybe the best Audrey we've ever seen. Her "Suddenly Seymour" soared, and her "Somewhere That's Green" was musical theater bliss.

🌟Best Post-Show Show: "The Concert" after Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
  • You know it's a great way to end things when no one is running to beat the crowd out the door. And "Proud Mary" is a great way to keep you wanting more!


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