Every year, there are huge hits, big flops, news makers and fan favorites, scandals and groundbreaking ideas in the theater scene. And when we pause to review the year just ending, we always think of things that deserve recognition, but don't really fit any single category. 2023 was no exception. Here are some of those people and moments:
The Movers and Moments of the Year
New Faces of 2023 - Performers
Here are six individuals who made a huge impression on us this year, and we think each these remarkable performers are set to have huge careers in the coming years.
Erin Rose Doyle (Mary Phagan - Parade)
Jake Pedersen (Frankie Epps - Parade)
J. Savage (Gawain/"Hunk" - Bad Cinderella)
Ben Jackson Walker (Romeo Montague - & Juliet)
Kalyn West (Young Anuncia - The Gardens of Anuncia)
Anna Zavelson (Clara - The Light in the Piazza)
New Faces of 2023 - Creatives
Here are four people who made their mark in the world of theater this year in the creative areas of theater production. Each has already excelled in their respective fields, but 2023 really brought them to our attention. And now we can't wait to see what they do next!
Sammi Cannold - Director - Sunset Boulevard (Kennedy Center), How To Dance in Ohio
Brandy Clark & Shane McAnally - Composers (Music & Lyrics) - Shucked
Jamie Lloyd - Director - A Doll's House, Sunset Boulevard (West End)
Performer of the Year - Jordan Dobson
We've kept an eye on this fantastic performer ever since we saw him go on as Tony in the 2020 revival of West Side Story. 2023 was a great year for this uber talented young actor: he was in the original companies of two new Broadway musicals! As featured soloist and ensemblist in A Beautiful Noise, he delivered one of the few highlights of the evening, singing "Shilo." He left that show to be the lead - Prince Sebastian - in the highly underrated Bad Cinderella. His "Only You, Lonely You" in that show was a highlight of the entire season.
Though most people used his presence at the interval as a photo op/Insta post, it was actually in interesting study in maintaining a challenging role and reminding everyone in the theater that even as life goes on for the rest of us, the incarcerated are trapped in their prison cell, guilty or not. Kudos to both Platt and director Michael Arden.
Fun, campy and energized! Just like the rest of the show. A great reminder to not take everything so seriously.
Here are those moments that catch you off guard, make you gasp, and remind you of why live theater is the thrill of being there. Some are big effects, others are surprising small details, and all of them are exciting.
The Best Moment of 2023:
"The Turnaround Heard 'Round the World" - When the divine Ruthie Ann Miles started to walk of the stage, paused and turned back to look at us one last time... nirvana.