Friday, December 23, 2016

Theater in the Now's Best of 2016

Another year has flown by and New York City had some extraordinary theater. Usually there are some consistent shows that fill top lists but this year provided so many great pieces that we have options! I decided to dive a bit deeper than the typical list. Here are my top 5 shows of the year!

1. The Grand Paradise

Immersive theater is the new frontier. It's no secret that I am a super fan of well-crafted immersive works. Every single element in a great immersive piece needs to be thought out and executed perfectly. Third Rail Projects upped the game with The Grand Paradise. Escape to an island getaway where you think you'll be forgetting your worries only to face them head-on. Virtually a choose your own adventure narrative, follow a family as they are whisked away as they face temptation in this island treasure trove.

This was a show where you needed to throw away your inhibitions and theatrical expectations because Andrew Schneider is going to blow your mind. YOUARENOWHERE is a sensory overload in all the right ways. Just when you think you've got this show figured out, Schneider and his extraordinary team exceed your expectations and alter your mind. Who knows where this show will go next so discussing specifics would still be unfair. Keep an eye out for this one because it's an experience you must have.

3. The Wolves
Sarah DeLappe's The Wolves truly was a game changer. Presented by The Playwrights' Realm, The Wolves fortunately received two runs at The Duke because this play was a hit. DeLappe's writing and Lila Neugebauer's direction formed the perfect team. The Wolves started their run as an underdog production but they leave 2016 as true champions.

4. The Woodsman
The Woodsman had a journey many indie theater productions dream of. From little show to Off Broadway hit, the reimagined story of the Tin Man defied the basics, breathing new life into theatrical storytelling. With puppetry, live underscoring, and an ensemble of wonderful performers, The Woodsman managed to wow theater artists and tourists alike. If you missed it, get your hands on the filmed version.

5. Falsettos
There was so much great Broadway this year. A lot of which falls into the categories of previous year entries. So why does Falsettos get the Broadway slot on my list? Well because it was a welcome revival that packed a punch with a Broadway all-star cast. The William Finn revival may be a period piece but if you have a heart, that ending will break your heart. Expect some Tony nominations for this company, especially for Christian Borle and Stephanie J. Block.