Sunday, December 29, 2019

From the Desk of Jim R, Take 2, Column 236, " The Best Plays of 2019 (Equity) "

By James V. Ruocco

Ticket Stubs.
Great Orchestra Seats.
Praiseworthy Adverts.
Twelve Months at a Glance.

It was yet another great year for Equity-based theatre with productions of every size, shape and color coming at you day by day, week by week, month by month.
It was also well worth the drive (thank you, OnStar), the traffic, the ice, the snow, the rain and oh, yes, the heat.

What worked?
What didn't?
What stood out?
What tanked?
What deserved a standing ovation or two?

After about a few days of well-intentioned deliberation and scanning through an endless variety of content, from reviews and playbills to columns and specially marked reminder notes, things fell neatly into place, one by one, line by line.

Not, really.
Sort of.
An open mind?
Most definitely.
Time consuming?
Oh, yes.
Personal favorites?
Hell, yes.

My choices are as follows:

Please note: "The Engagement Party" and "Pride and Prejudice" are tied for first place honors in this year's round-up.  

The Best Plays of 2019

"The Engagement Party" (Hartford Stage)
director: Darko Tresnjak

"Pride and Prejudice" (Long Wharf Theatre)
director: Kate Hamill

"The Plot" (Yale Repertory Theatre)
director: Oliver Butler

"God of Carnage" (Greenwich Theatre Company)
director: Rob Kennedy

"An Illiad" (Long Wharf Theatre)
director: Whitney White

"Cry It Out" (Thrown Stone Theatre Company)
director: Gina Pulice

"Birds of North America" (Thrown Stone Theatre Company)
director: Jason Peck

"Quixote Nuevo" (Hartford Stage)
director: KJ Sanchez

"Mlima's Tale" (Westport Country Playhouse)
director: Mark Lamos

"On the Grounds of Belonging" (Long Wharf Theatre)
director: David Mendizabal

"Don Juan" (Westport Country Playhouse)
director: David Kennedy

"A Shayna Maidel" (Playhouse on Park)
director: Dawn Loveland Navarro

"Twelfth Night" (Yale Repertory Theatre)
director: Carl Cofield

"The Mountaintop" (Majestic Theater)
director: Gilbert McCauley

"Steel Magnolias" (Music Theatre of  Connecticut)
director: Pamela Hill

"My Name Is Asher Lev" (Playhouse on Park)
director: Joseph Discher

"The Revolutionists" (Playhouse on Park)
director: Sarah Hartmann

"American Son" (TheaterWorks/Hartford)
director: Rob Ruggiero

"Shakespeare in Love" (Connecticut Repertory Theatre)
director: Vincent Tycer

"A Doll's House, Part 2" (Long Wharf Theatre)
director: Will Davis

"Hershey Felder As Irving Berlin" (Westport Country Playhouse)
director: Trevor Hay

"Miller, Mississippi" (Long Wharf Theatre)
director: Lee Sunday Evans

"The Merchant of Venice" (Valley Shakespeare Festival)
director: Tom Simonetti

"Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense" (Hartford Stage)
director: Sean Foley

"The Cherry Orchard" (Connecticut Repertory Theatre)
director: John Miller-Stephany

"Fully Committed" (TheaterWorks/Hartford)
director: Bill Fennelly

"If We Were Birds" (Connecticut Repertory Theatre)
director: Helene Kvale

"Detroit '67" (Hartford Stage)
director: Jade King Carroll

"Sheer Madness" (Ivoryton Playhouse)
director: Bob Lohrmann

"Cadillac Crew" (Yale Repertory Theatre)
director: Jesse Rasmussen

"The Two Gentlemen of Verona" (Valley Shakespeare Festival)
director: Tom Simonetti

"Cry It Out" (Hartford Stage)
director: Rachel Alderman

"Girls" (Yale Repertory Theatre)
director: Lileana Blain-Cruz

"Good Faith: Four Chats About Race and the New Haven Fire Department" (Yale Repertory Theatre)
director: Kenny Leon

"Christmas on the Rocks" (TheaterWorks/Hartford)
director: Rob Ruggiero

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