Joe Dziemianowicz’s Top 10 in Theater for 2013

 Pippin

Joan Marcus

Patina Miller as the Leading Player in the revival of “Pippin”

There are only nine days until 2013’s final curtain. What went down, and up, this year? Lots.

Men dressed as women (“Twelfth Night,” “Richard III, “Kinky Boots”), and women as men (“Julius Caesar”). Tots went titular (“Matilda”), and Theatre for a New Audience got a permanent home. Tom Hanks, as Daily Newser Mike McAlary, and Bette Midler, as superagent Sue Mengers, proved real star power counts and lifted okay plays to box-office heaven. A hellish battle with Alec Baldwin killed Shia LaBeouf’s Broadway debut.

Madonna’s daughter Lourdes reminded us that high school theater matters.

Ruthie Ann Miles (center) and the cast of “Here Lies Love” at the Public Theater

Ruthie Ann Miles (center) and the cast of “Here Lies Love” at the Public Theater

And in his memoir of backstage bitchery, “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” co-writer Glen Berger proved that revenge is a dish best served published. With theater, as in life, you take the bitter with the sweet. My 10 favorites were extremely easy to take.

1. “Fun Home” Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron’s musical take on Alison Bechdel’s memoir about coming to grips with her childhood and her father was joyously personal and poignant.

2. “Twelfth Night” Shakespeare done old-school with an all-male cast led by the wondrous Mark Rylance, who seemed to float as Olivia, put you on a cloud. It plays in rep with a sly take on “Richard III.”

Mark Rylance stars as Olivia in the Shakespeare’s Globe all-male production of “Twelfth Night.”

Joan Marcus

Mark Rylance stars as Olivia in the Shakespeare’s Globe all-male production of “Twelfth Night.”

3. “The Glass Menagerie” John Tiffany’s eloquent staging and cast led by Cherry Jones made Tennessee Williams’ masterwork feel new. The Gentleman Caller scene soars.

4. “Here Lies Love” Imelda Marcos’ rise from girl in the sticks to Philippine First Lady was told to an interactive disco beat by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim. The production directed by Alex Timbers dazzled and appalled — just as it should.

5. “Pippin” When the cast of this Stephen Schwartz musical revival beautifully directed by Diane Paulus sings, “We’ve got magic to do,” they mean it.

Beth Malone, Sydney Lucas and Alexandra Socha in “Fun Home,” with music by Jeanine Tesori, book and lyrics by Lisa Kron.

Joan Marcus

Beth Malone, Sydney Lucas and Alexandra Socha in “Fun Home,” with music by Jeanine Tesori, book and lyrics by Lisa Kron.

6. “Regular Singing” Ensemble acting doesn’t get better than in the final chapter in Richard Nelson’s four-play series about private lives and national preoccupations.

7. “Violet” The one-night-only Encores! concert of this 1997 musical by Brian Crawley and Jeanine Tesori (yep, her again — she had an amazing ’13) starred Sutton Foster and thrilled start to finish. And it gets a Broadway run in the spring.

8. “Buyer & Cellar” Between Jonathan Tolins’ inspired fantasy and Michael Urie’s infinite charm, this little show about Barbra Streisand is like, better than buttah.

9. Cyndi Lauper The Broadway rookie’s Tony-winning score provides the rhythm and the heartbeat and is the very best thing about “Kinky Boots.”

10. “Disaster!” Into every season cheese must flow and this spoof of catastrophe-themed movies mixed with ’70s pop hits gushes with Velveeta as well as laughs, great new talents and savvy jukebox craftsmanship.


Music & Arts – NY Daily News

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