Monday, January 2, 2023

From the Desk of Jim R, Take 2, Column 363, "The Best Plays of 2022 (Equity)"

By James V. Ruocco

Fresh takes.
Seasoned classics.
New works.
Engaging comedies.
Mesmeric revivals.
Skilled ensembles.
Edgy dramas.
Holiday favorites.

The play. The actor. The director. The script.

LIVE theatre from an Equity perspective was in top form throughout 2022.

Yale Repertory Theatre.
Hartford Stage.
HartBeat Ensemble.
Thrown Stone.

Opening night was a hit.
Great orchestra seats were plentiful.
The reviews came out.
Many performances stood out.
Standing ovations came from excited theatergoers.
And yes, there were plenty of surprises.

What worked?
What stood out?
What drove theatergoers and critics absolutely wild?

After months of deliberation and revisiting an endless variety of content, from reviews and playbills to columns and specially marked reminder notes, choices for The Best Equity Plays of the Year fell neatly into place.

Absolutely not.
Pros and Cons?
Not really.
An open mind?
Time consuming?
A little.
Hell, yes.
Personal favorites?
It comes with the territory.
A drink or two?

But first, a few simple rules.
Only "press invited shows" (i.e., invites from Equity Theaters or marketing departments within the actual venue are eligible for "Best Play" consideration. 

My choices are as follows:

This year, however, there is no tie for first place.

"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? receives stand-alone honors in this year's round up of eligible play productions.

The Best Equity Plays of 2022 

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
(Yale Repertory Theatre)
director: James Bundy

My Children! My Africa!
(HartBeat Ensemble)
director: Melanie Dreyer

Bee Trapped Inside the Window
(HartBeat Ensemble)
director: Vernice P. Miller

(Thrown Stone)
director: Tracey Brigden

This Bitter Earth
director: David Mendizabal

(Thrown Stone)
director: Tracey Brigden

Lost in Yonkers
(Hartford Stage)
directors: Marsha Mason and Rachel Alderman

Zoe's Perfect Wedding
(TheaterWorks Hartford)
director: Rob Ruggiero

Lend Me a Tenor
(Music Theatre of Connecticut)
director: Pamela Hill

(Long Wharf Theatre)
director: Aneesha Kudtarlar

(TheaterWorks Hartford)
director: Rob Ruggiero

It's a Wonderful Live: A Live Radio Play
(Hartford Stage)
director: Zoe Golub-Sass

Straight White Men
(Westport Country Playhouse)
director: Mark Lamos

The Brightest Thing in the World
(Yale Repertory Theatre)
director: Margot Bordelon

Dream Hou$e
(Long Wharf Theatre)
director: Laurie Woolery

Between Two Knees
(Yale Repertory Theatre)
director: Eric Ting

Christmas on the Rocks
director: Rob Ruggiero

My Mother's Italian My Father's Jewish I'm in Therapy!
(The Ridgefield Playhouse)
director: Steve Solomon

Lady Day at Emerson's Park & Grill
(Playhouse on Park)
director: Stephanie Pope Lofgren

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