Friday, January 1, 2021

Theater 2020: Only the Best

In an effort to start the new year with nothing but positivity, we decided to think about all the great theater and theater-related things we appreciated in the year just past. These are in no particular order - they are all number one on our list! Let us know what you think and what you might have added. And HAPPY NEW YEAR!

🥳Theater 2020: Only the Best🥳


Jagged Little Pill
This show has provided me with multiple things to love in 2020. It was one of the shows I saw on my last New York trip. I was transported and thrilled by each performance and moved by the messy-as-real-life story of the Healy family. The OBCR is an all-time favorite, especially Tom Kitt's arrangements, and the coffee table book is an insightful and exciting keepsake. Last month's Jagged Little Pill in Concert presentation was a next best thing to live theater community experience. "Our New Musical," indeed.

Another show that was part of our last trip to the city, this one was a spur of the moment choice, and boy, were we glad we saw it. It was a riot of a show - truly a laugh til it hurts kind of thing. Smart as it was funny, the show was really all it could be with superb casting - I may never look at Ann Harada and George Abud the same way again.

West Side Story
Polarizing. Explosive. Dangerous. This daring new look at an American classic was a stunning, gut-wrenching, emotional experience for me. There wasn't one thing I didn't like about it. For me, it is a masterpiece all by itself. I am so grateful that I got to see it, and, in retrospect, I'm very appreciative that it was the last show I saw in 2020.


Lights of Broadway Cards
As you know, I'm a big Broadway collector, and one of my prized collections is the Lights of Broadway trading cards. And so, I must express my gratitude for their commitment to continuing their series in the face of the pandemic. I love the 2020 series!

If the Fates Allow 
One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year (thanks, Mike!), I suspect that this beautiful collection of holiday songs will be something I listen to throughout the year. The arrangements are simply stunning - both instrumental and vocal - and fit the cast of Hadestown like a glove. If you don't have this, I highly recommend it.


Zoom Songs from Broadway Casts
Especially in the early days of the quarantine, current Broadway and West End casts got together and created some great theater over Zoom music videos. Among my favorites were "You Learn" from Jagged Little Pill (the Broadway company), "You Will Be Found" from Dear Evan Hansen (all of the companies), and "Helpless" from Hamilton (Broadway cast and others). But my favorite has to be "Company" by the Broadway revival cast. It's not the same as live theater, of course, but I'll take what I can get.

on Disney+
I've always been pretty clear that I appreciate Hamilton more than I like it. But this bar setting cinematic capture of the Broadway production is truly stunning. We are so lucky to have this.

Take Me to the World
: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration
Talk about an emotional event! I laughed (Laura Benanti singing in her bathroom for the perfect acoustics; Ben and Beanie's "It Takes Two") and cried (maybe a little at every song, but Patti's "Anyone Can Whistle" devastated me). But in a show full of standouts, "Someone in a Tree" and "Ladies Who Lunch" were my favorites. And Chip...and Bernadette... Like the man they were honoring, this event was heartwarming, smart and thoughtful.

One Night Only: The Best of Broadway
Okay, so maybe "Best" may be a bit of a stretch, but this TV special was a nice booster shot of Broadway. Nice to have NBC and Tina Fey as live theater cheerleaders!

Stars in the House
When all is said and done, and this horrible time is finally behind us, we will take stock of who rose to the occasion. Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, two who did just that, are genuine heroes, leading the charge for charity, in this case The Actors Fund. A nightly (and matinee) series of Broadway cast reunions, classic TV reunions, individual concerts, and even play readings provide theater lovers worldwide the chance to get first hand accounts of putting our favorite shows together. And the performances! Two of my favorite episodes were the Next to Normal reunion, and the deep dive into Carrie, including some amazing vocals from Betty Buckley and Linzi Hateley.

Here's to a terrific theater-filled 2021!


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