Monday, December 30, 2019

From the Desk of Jim R, Take 2, Column 237, "The Best Musicals of 2019 (Equity)"

By James V. Ruocco

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

It was yet another great year for Equity-based musical theatre with productions of every size, shape and color - "Come From Away," "Hello, Dolly!" "The Music Man," "Billy Elliot," "Cabaret," "An American in Paris," to name a few - 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 three or four days of quiet 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.
Pros and Cons?
Almost, always.
An open mind?
Most definitely.
Time consuming?
You betcha.
Oh, yes.
Personal favorites?
It comes with the territory.

My choices are as follows:

Please note: "Come From Away" and two very different productions of "Hello, Dolly!" - one starring  Betty Buckley; the other with Carolee Carmello - are tied for first place honors in this year's round-up.  

The Best Musicals of 2019

"Come From Away" (The Bushnell)
director: Christopher Ashley

"Hello, Dolly!" (The Bushnell)
director: Jerry Zaks

"Hello, Dolly!" (Citizens Bank Opera House)
director: Jerry Zaks

"Beautiful: The Carole King Story" (The Bushnell)
director: Mark Bruni

"Rent" (The Bushnell)
director: Evan Ensign

"Billy Elliot: The Musical" (Goodspeed Musicals)
director: Gabriel Barre

"The Music Man" (Goodspeed Musicals)
director: Jenn Thompson

"An American in Paris" (Westchester Broadway Theatre)
director: Richard Stafford

"Cabaret" (Music Theatre of Connecticut)
director: Kevin Connors

"Cabaret" (Ivoryton Playhouse)
director: Todd Underwood

"The Mystery of Edwin Drood" (Connecticut Repertory Theatre)
director: Paul Mullins

"Godspell" (Ivoryton Playhouse)
director: Jacqueline Hubbard

"Annie" (Broadway Method Academy")
director: Connor Deane

"Little Shop of Horrors" (ACT of CT)
director: Jason A. Sparks

"Mamma Mia!"  (Connecticut Repertory Theatre)
director: Terrence Mann

"Ragtime" (Music Theatre of Connecticut)
director: Kevin Connors

"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" (Sharon Playhouse)
director: Russell Garrett

"Beauty and the Beast" (Sharon Playhouse)
director: Alan Wager

"Always...Patsy Cline" (Music Theatre of Connecticut)
director: Pamela Hill

"The SpongeBob Musical" (The Bushnell)
director: Tina Landau

"Working" (ACT of CT)
director: Daniel C. Levine
"Crazy For You" (Sharon Playhouse)
director: Sarah Combs

"Bye, Bye Birdie" (New Paradigm Theatre Company)
director: Courtney Laine Self

"The Flamingo Kid" (Hartford Stage)
director: Darko Tresnjak

"In the Heights" (Westport Country Playhouse)
director: Marcos Santana

"The Scottsboro Boys" (Playhouse on Park)
director: Sean Harris

"Nunsense" (Playhouse on Park)
director: Darlene Zoller

"The Book of Mormon" (The Bushnell)
directors: Trey Parker and Casey Nicholaw

"On Your Feet" (Westchester Broadway Theatre)
director: Donna Drake

"Girlfriend" (TheaterWorks of Hartford)
director: Rob Ruggiero

"Murder For Two" (Playhouse on Park)
director: Kyle Metzger

"Cabaret" (Connecticut Repertory Theatre)
director: Scott LaFeber

"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" (ACT of CT)
director: Michelle Tattenbaum

"Ain't Misbehavin' " (Westchester Broadway Theatre)
director: Richard Maltby, Jr.

"Mamma Mia!" (Ivoryton Playhouse)
director: JR Bruno

"Newsies" (Westchester Broadway Theatre)
director: Mark Martino

"Spamilton: An American Parody" (Playhouse on Park/The Bushnell)
director: Gerard Alessandrini

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