Friday, March 10, 2023

At This Theatre: Circle in the Square

One of Broadway's most unique spaces, the Circle in the Square Theatre has been home to 10 different productions that we've been privileged to see. The unusual set up of the theater has, in our opinion, forced designers and directors to be extra creative when designing and staging shows here, and largely, they've been successful. The theater is also one of Broadway's most intimate, and we've found that there really isn't a bad seat in the house, and we've sat in every section, front row, back row. This is also the site where some of my absolute favorite shows of all-time have been. Selecting our five favorites was difficult!

At This Theatre:
Circle in the Square

# of shows we've seen here: 10

The shows we've seen here: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Fun Home, Godspell, KPOP, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, Lombardi, Oklahoma!, Once On This Island, The Rocky Horror Show, Soul Doctor

Our favorite shows at Circle in the Square:

5. Lombardi:
You are probably as surprised as I am that a play about sports - football especially - made this list, but I really loved it. The staging was exciting and the performances were amazing. Dan Lauria and Judith Light were perfection.

4. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee:
This one holds a special place in our hearts - Mike was selected as a participant, and made it all the way to the end (at least as far as audience members/participants goes)! And the cast was first rate, including future Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart and nominee Jennifer Simard!

3. Oklahoma!:
Everything about this revival was thrilling, including a picnic scene that was so intense I was literally afraid to move for fear that Mary Testa might call me out. And yes, it was "sexy," with the chemistry between Damon Daunno, Rebecca Naomi Jones and Patrick Viall hotter than the chili they served at intermission. And we can't forget Tony Award-winner Ali Stroker, whose Ado Annie was an effervescent delight.

2. Once On This Island:
Talk about environmental! A literally elemental design - earth, wind, fire and water - swept us away, and the endlessly creative staging by Michael Arden was as jaw-dropping as it was transporting. A lovely story, an enchanting score, and a brilliant cast including Tony-winner Lea Salonga, Norm Lewis, Tamyra Gray, and newcomers Alex Newell, Isaac Powell and Hailey Kilgore...

1. Fun Home:
An important piece of theater, its content was matched by its humor, heart and savvy. There really aren't adequate adjectives to describe this one, but I admired and loved its guts. The staging here, by Sam Gold, was a brilliant use of the full space. The great company of actors (including Michael Cerveris, Judy Kuhn, Beth Malone, Emily Skeggs and Sydney Lucas), including several amazing replacements (including Rebecca Luker and Lauren Patten), was perfectly matched to the glorious book and lyrics by Lisa Kron and music by Jeanine Tesori. In the process, they also gave us perhaps the greatest single show tune of the 21st Century so far, "Ring of Keys."

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