Another thing I'm happy about is that over the past year of theatre-going, I haven't seen anything that was so atrocious that I walked out. Sure, there were disappointments - shows I'm glad I saw, but won't return to, but there were also some wonderful surprises (and a few sure things) that have forever changed me as a person and as a lover of live performance.
Alas, I did not attend a single show of any kind during the month of December, so for this set of year-end reflection, I am counting shows I saw from December 1, 2008 - November 31, 2009. (On other words, look for A Little Night Music on next year's lists.)
THE BEST AND NOT SO BEST OF 2009
3. A Chorus Line - As much care went into the casting of the tour as the Broadway revival.
2. Legally Blonde - Despite a decent cast, to call this pared-down is an gross understatement.
1. Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas - File this under: WHY???
5. Jayne Atkinson in Blithe Spirit -Took a blah part and made it hilarious
4. Alice Ripley out of a performance of next to normal, and seeing Jessica Phillips as Diana
3. Avenue Q not closing afterall!
2. Stephanie J. Block in 9 to 5: The Musical - Take her of my "why do these people get Broadway jobs?" list! (ABOVE)
1. Memphis - The entire show amazed me from start to finish.
Most Disappointing of 2009:
5. Rupert Everett in Blithe Spirit - As stiff as his "enhanced" face.
4. Not seeing Gavin Creel in Hair - See understudy list below.
3. Kerry Butler and Constantine Maroulis in Rock of Ages - She was in over her head, and he is a lousy actor, period. (BELOW)
2. The run of The Story of My Life - Enough said.
1. Bye Bye Birdie - The entire show amazed me from start to finish, but not in a good way.
4. Chris Hoch as Lord Farquaad in Shrek the Musical - Excellent, considering Christopher Siebert was a big reason I wanted to see it in the first place.
3. Matthew Stocke as Dennis in Rock of Ages - He was so good, he stuck out.
2. Jay Armstrong Johnson as Claude in Hair - If it couldn't be Gavin, I'm glad it was him.
1. Jessica Phillips as Diana in next to normal - Truly a revelation in the role. Brilliant.
Kieran Campion as Nick Lockridge in The American Plan
Matt Cavenaugh as Tony in West Side Story
Adam Chanler-Berat as Henry in next to normal (ABOVE, with Jennifer Damiano)
Will Chase as Thomas Weaver in The Story of My Life
Malcolm Getz as Alvin Kelby in The Story of My Life
Chad Kimball as Huey in Memphis (BELOW)
Trent Kowalik as Billy in Billy Elliot
Kyle Dean Massey/Aaron Tveit as Gabriel in next to normal
Jim Norton as Finian in Finian's Rainbow
Will Swensen as Berger in Hair
Jayne Atkinson as Ruth in Blithe Spirit (BELOW)
Kate Baldwin as Sharon in Finian's Rainbow
Jennifer Damiano as Natalie in next to normal
Christine Ebersole as Elvira in Blithe Spirirt
Sutton Foster as Princess Fiona in Shrek
Angela Lansbury as Madame Arcatti in Blithe Spirit
Alice Ripley as Diana in next to normal (BELOW)
Josefina Scaglione as Maria in West Side Story
Alexandra Socha as Wendla in Spring Awakening
5. 9 to 5: The Musical
3. Finian's Rainbow
2. Shrek: The Musical
1. Bye Bye Birdie (BELOW)
10. The American Plan (BELOW)
9. Spring Awakening - The Final Broadway Company
8. Avenue Q- The Final Broadway Company
7. Blithe Spirit
3. West Side Story
2. The Story of My Life
Here's to an even better 2010!