Tuesday, July 21, 2020

BEST OF THE DECADE: The Best of the Best Performances

Last week, we presented our list of the 30 Greatest Broadway Performances of the past decade, and you were probably scratching your head wondering, "how could they have missed...?" That's because we saved the very very best for last. 
These three performances were iconic, powerful and profound - honest, deep and so human. These are the performances theater fans live for - thrilling, rare and truly life-changing.  

The Greatest Performances of All

Elaine May as Gladys Green in The Waverly Gallery
Actually, Ms. May's performance as the deteriorating dementia sufferer may be the single greatest performance we have ever witnessed. It was so real, one wondered if, in fact, she was really ill. There wasn't a single second of it that felt like we were watching someone acting. What a privilege to have been there to see her.

Cynthia Erivo as Celie in The Color Purple
Hers was a literal "I can't take my eyes off of her" performance. When she sang, you could feel it in your bones. When she spoke, you could feel it in your heart. She took an iconic role, and not only made it her own, she redefined it. Ms. Erivo left everything she had on that stage and it was stunning to watch. We were left in tears, not just for the character, but for the experience.

Katrina Lenk as Dina in The Band's Visit
When people talk about a mesmerizing performance, Ms. Lenk's turn in this show is what they mean. At times enigmatic, hers was as ethereal and fleeting as jasmine scented wind. Her brilliance came not in bombastic, powerful belting and scenery chewing, but in quiet, careful choices, so specific, you found yourself hanging on every word. It was a gorgeous performance.


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