Despite having seen just six new productions in 2021, we did get to see some truly noteworthy stagecraft, design and direction. Will any of these worthwhile contributions to Broadway history be among the best of the entire season? We shall see. In the meantime, we will celebrate and be thankful for what we did get to see.
THE BEST OF
DESIGN AND DIRECTION
BEST SHOW ART RE-VAMP - PLAY: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
The original logo was great, especially for fans of the book and films. It had a certain "insider" feel to it. Now it looks like the exciting, thrill-packed play that it is.
BEST SHOW ART RE-VAMP - MUSICAL: Diana
The less said about its pre-Broadway logo the better, I think. While I really like the original Broadway logo, I do like what they ended up with. The colors, the image, the tagline. All attractive and classy, like the princess deserved.
PRE-BROADWAY: BEFORE: AFTER:
BEST CHOREOGRAPHY: SIX - Carrie-Anne Ingrouille
Girl group power moves that owe a lot to The Supremes and The Spice Girls, performed with a precision that the Rockettes would envy, Ingrouille has turned the six queens in their rainbow of colors into a non-stop kaleidoscope of patterns and exciting formations.
BEST DIRECTION: MARIANNE ELLIOTT - Company
Patti LuPone is right. Marianne Elliott is one of the best in the business, and we've loved her work on War Horse and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. With Company, she has taken a venerable classic in a whole new direction, and the show (and we) are all the better. Perhaps the show hasn't been this timely and poignant since the original production. Under her guidance, the show is fast-paced and hilariously funny. Great stuff!
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN: Tim Deiling - SIX
Combining traditional stage lighting, full venue beams of light, and vibrant digital light panels worked so perfectly together to create a Tudor-style disco/rock concert. All of it fun and all of it befitting royalty.
BEST COSTUMES - William Ivey Long - Diana
The man may be scum, but his costume work here is pretty spectacular, not only in recreating some of her most iconic looks, but also filling the stage with a wide variety of costumes that instantly define place and class. And those costume changes are mind-blowing. Special shout out to the "F**k You Dress."
BEST SCENIC DESIGN: Bunny Christie - Company
What's not to love? Neon framed boxes that compartmentalize action, surreal letters that glide around the stage replicating the New York subway system and the hustle-bustle of midtown Manhattan. With the main character on an Alice in Wonderland adventure of the single life, there are over-sized objects, shrinking apartments and "drink me" bottles of Maker's Mark that range from piñata sized to airplane miniature sized. And there's the super fun "Where's Waldo?"- esque hidden 35s in each scene. A design that matches the fun tone of the direction of the show makes it a winner.
BEST OVERALL CREATIVE PRESENTATION OF DESIGN: Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas
Don't let the fact that the show is aimed at families with young children fool you. This production represents the very best in current design techniques theatrical creativity and the magic of puppetry. And the very best came together to make this happen - Anna Louizos on sets, Gregg Barnes on costumes, and the incomparable Jim Henson Company providing an array of puppets. Rumor has it, the show may be back next year. It'll dazzle your senses and warm your heart.