The Best of 2010 in New York
A strong year in New York theater, I would say. Here’s my pick of the dozen top productions:
‘Sexypants’ Benjamin Walker as Andrew Jackson
Photo by Joan Marcus
1. “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” – Les Freres Corbusier’s smart/stupid rock musical, my first exposure to excellent writer/director Alex Timbers and his fearless crew, including a rock star-caliber lead performance by Benjamin Walker. As the subway ads put it, “History just got all sexypants!”
6. “In the Wake” – Lisa Kron’s play (lynchpin of the Public Theater’s admirable political-theater season) with extra-fine performances by Michael Chernus and Deidre O’Connell.
10. “A Free Man of Color” – John Guare’s ambitious stylized epic staged in high style by George C. Wolfe with a huge cast in which standouts included Jeffrey Wright, mos, and Veanne Cox.
I’m not quite sure where to put three shows I’d seen before but were still high-water marks for 2010: “Fela!” (last year’s No. 1, which I saw twice again this year), “Gatz” (which made my top 10 in 2007), and the Wooster Group’s “North Atlantic” (the third revival, with a great new cast including Ari Fliakos, Kate Valk, Steve Cuiffo and Zachary Oberzan).
- William Kentridge’s dense and dazzling production of Shostakovich’s “The Nose” at the Metropolitan Opera and his equally theatrical retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art.
- Norm Lewis singing “Being Alive” in “Sondheim on Sondheim” at the Roundabout
- Christine Jones’ set and Michael Mayer’s direction for “American Idiot”
- Mark Rylance’s justly acclaimed performance in “La Bête”
- “The Pee-Wee Herman Show” on Broadway – sheer fun!
- Most Valuable Player (male): Scott Shepherd for “North Atlantic” and “Gatz”
- Most Valuable Player (female): Bonnie Thunders, Gotham Girls Roller Derby