Time Magazine: “Top 10 Plays and Musicals” 2010

01 When the Rain Stops Falling

The year is 2039; a man in a raincoat is being drenched by an apocalyptic rainstorm; a fish falls from the sky. That’s the opening of Australian author Andrew Bovell’s odd and extraordinary play, which runs backward and forward in time as it unravels the story of two lost souls, a Londoner and an Aussie, who hook up in an Australian roadhouse and gradually discover the unexpected connections between them. A dark play of Faulknerian complexity about the inability to escape the past, When the Rain Stops Falling was given a haunting production at New York’s Lincoln Center by hot Chicago director David Cromer.

02 Venice (Musical)

Rap musical, political parable, updated Greek tragedy, a reworking of Shakespeare’s Othello — there’s more going on in this ambitious musical than in a season’s worth of run-of-the-mill Broadway tuners. A collaboration between composer-performer Matt Sax and Eric Rosen, artistic director of the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Venice has been honed on the road (in K.C. and Los Angeles) before a possible stab at New York. Set in a mythical country emerging from 20 years of police-state oppression, the story centers on a populist hero who returns from exile to usher in a new era. The obvious political parallels to the Bush-Obama era are leavened by moments of passionate lyricism, helped by a wonderful score from Sax, who also serves as the lucid rapping narrator.

03 The Little Foxes

Ivo van Hove, the avant-garde Flemish director known for his quirky takes on classics like Hedda Gabler and A Streetcar Named Desire, both deconstructs and reinvigorates Lillian Hellman’s famous play about a grasping Alabama family at the turn of the 20th century. With spare scenery, modern dress, a video screen spying on the offstage action and a few steps of a crucial staircase framed at center stage, the off-Broadway production (at the New York Theater Workshop last winter) eliminated most of the period trappings but lifted the emotions to operatic heights.

04 La Cage aux Folles (Musical)

Yes, there are too many musical revivals on Broadway, and yes, there are too many La Cage aux Folles revivals (the latest, perfectly decent one was just six years ago). But none of them had Douglas Hodge, the British Shakespearean actor who plays the flamboyant, cross-dressing half of the central gay couple with such intensity, humor and heart that he raises the show to a new level. Jerry Herman’s score sounds as good as ever, and Terry Johnson’s lean, grounded production (imported from London) makes you appreciate Harvey Fierstein’s well-constructed book. Isn’t that pretty close to the definition of a perfect revival?

05 Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Musical)

Sometimes sheer craft on Broadway is undervalued. This musical, based on Pedro Almodovar’s 1988 movie, mostly got slammed by the critics, but it does more things well than many more-acclaimed but less-accomplished shows. Jeffrey Lane’s book is a deft and faithful adaptation of the movie. The stars — Patti LuPone, Sherie Renee Scott, Laura Benanti and Brian Stokes Mitchell — are a murderer’s row of Broadway musical talent, yet they rise to their big numbers without throwing the show out of whack. Best of all, David Yazbek’s melodic, Latin-influenced score is more than just good — it’s on the verge of being memorable.

06 A View from the Bridge

Liev Schreiber, one of our finest stage actors, and Scarlett Johansson, one of our newest (she won a Tony award for her Broadway debut), were a galvanizing pair in this Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s 1955 tragedy about a Brooklyn longshoreman who develops an unhealthy obsession with his niece. Gregory Mosher’s no-nonsense production allowed the human tragedy to unfold naturally and made a good case for A View from the Bridge as one of Miller’s strongest plays.

07 A True History of the Johnstown Flood

Historical docudramas are hardly a theatrical genre in vogue these days — especially one about an 1889 flood that few people today know or care much about. But Rebecca Gilman (Boy Gets Girl, Spinning into Butter) approaches it from an offbeat angle: focusing on a traveling family theater troupe caught in the doomed Pennsylvania town on the day of the disaster. Gilman sees the tragedy as a parable of class divisions (the working-class lowlands were deluged by the bursting of a dam built to create a fishing lake for a posh country club in the hills above) but also fashions a harrowing, up-close drama of people in crisis.

08 Come Fly Away (Musical)

Sinatra songs and Twyla Tharp dancing. How could that combination miss? Well, you could say it’s a rather safe choice for the adventurous choreographer (who has visited Ol’ Blue Eyes’ music several times before) or complain about the absence of any real story. Still, what’s onstage is irresistible — both aurally (Sinatra’s vocals are enhanced by live orchestration that makes him sound better than ever) and visually, as Tharp’s corps of dancers tears through the Sinatra songbook with exuberance and technical panache.

09 Mistakes Were Made

Michael Shannon (an Oscar nominee for Revolutionary Road and co-star of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) plays a desperate theater producer glued to his telephone headset, furiously trying to keep a dozen errant balls in the air as he struggles to prevent a shaky Broadway project about the French Revolution from crashing. Craig Wright’s satire of showbiz phoniness is pretty familiar, but there’s enough perplexing filigree (a hostage crisis in Iraq, a hungry tropical fish in the office) to make Mistakes Were Made far more than an extended episode of Entourage. And Shannon’s nerve-racking, no-holds-barred performance as the type-A-plus producer is brilliant.

10 The Scottsboro Boys (Musical)

The songwriting team of Kander and Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago), in their last collaboration before the latter’s death in 2004, go for Chicago-like irony in recounting an infamous civil rights case from the 1930s — in which nine black Southern youths were unjustly convicted of raping two white women — as a jaded minstrel show. The gears don’t always mesh; the show could have used a little more history, and a little more razzmatazz too. But Susan Stroman’s courageous, dance-filled production doesn’t trivialize the issues, and Joshua Henry gives a powerful performance as the most prominent of the unfairly accused.

- Time Magazine: The Top 10 Everything 2010


Ihr Kommentar

Abonniere ohne zu kommentieren

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>