Because I'm still that person who religiously keeps records of all the theater I'm lucky enough to attend, I'm more aware than ever that I see shows at a pace much too furious to review every performance. Super Awesome Broadway Ninjas is approaching its third anniversary, and I'd very much like to adopt a format that keeps the blog's content as relevant as possible while giving you something more interesting to read than dry commentary on shows I saw months ago. I just haven't figured out what that format is yet. Feel free to shoot me any suggestions in the comments section of this post!
The countless hours I've spent in the plush seats of a theater over the past year, more than ever, seem to boil down not to Best Shows of the Year, but to particular performances, details, relationships with the person sitting next to me, and experiences that stick in my memory long after the curtain goes down. In that spirit, I present some of my most memorable theatrical moments of 2012:
- Hearing the audience shout "Brava!" at the curtain call of Porgy and Bess. The classiest and only appropriate response to Audra McDonald's performance.
- Norbert Leo Butz's masterful work in How I Learned To Drive, which had my skin crawling for weeks.
- Seeing two of my favorite plays, Death of a Salesman and Angels in America, on stage for the first time.
- Ugly-crying straight through half the first act and the entire second act of Merrily We Roll Along. And I mean UGLY-crying.
- In the midst of following so many young composers, it was thrilling to see Benj Pasek and Justin Paul find the success they deserve in New York from two delightful shows - Dogfight off-Broadway and A Christmas Story on. Also seeing Sam Carner and Derek Gregor's song cycle, "Island Song," fully realized at Le Poisson Rouge.
- Catching Philadelphia Theatre Company's production of The Scottsboro Boys almost a year after being bowled over by Joshua Henry and the much-Tony-nominated, short-lived Broadway premiere.
- The stunning costume, set, and lighting design in The Heiress, with performances to match.
- Watching Peter and the Starcatcher make it to Broadway. Attending the first preview and hearing Black Stache's line change from "books, movies, off-Broadway plays!" at New York Theater Workshop to "books, movies, Broadway plays!" at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, with much applause from a knowing audience. From Christian Borle’s Tony win, to watching his castmates send him off with an autographed buoy at his last performance, to revisiting the show every few weeks and finding the same sense of magic that I first experienced downtown.
- The sheer joy exuded by the cast of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, in particular the moments in the show that poke fun at the conventions of theater. Never has a balloon been used to suggest a creaky graveyard door with more glee.
- Sacrificing sleep and sanity for the Nth time to attend another edition of the "If It Only Runs A Minute" concert series at Joe's Pub on a school night (remember those?). The payoff? Claybourne Elder and Jeremy Jordan reuniting to sing "When I Drive" from one of our favorite shows from 2012, Bonnie and Clyde.
- Despite the mixed critical reaction to Into The Woods at the Delacorte Theatre, the experience of seeing one of my favorite Sondheim shows in Central Park was unforgettable.
- Laughing harder than I ever have in a theater at One Man Two Guvnors, partially because being pulled on stage like "Christine" is my worst nightmare.
- Seeing Annie, which served as Four-Year-Old Me's introduction to theater back in the day, on Broadway.
- The goosebump-inducing moment when the Newsies set moves forward during "Once and For All."
- Spending every second of the Assassins benefit concert at Roundabout Theatre Company pinching myself.
- Having a (surprising) blast at Ghost and then falling hard for it hard just as it was closing. A perfect summer love affair that culminated in winning front-row lottery seats at the closing performance.