We’ve reached a very unofficial halfway point to the 2012-2013 New York theater season. Actually, we’re more than halfway there, but many producers are saving their big guns until right before Tony time, so it all averages out. Below, find part one of my Top 12 look at the best Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway had to offer between June and December. (And if you think I overlooked something terrific, chances are press reps rejected my multiple pleas to see it!)
As a show, Chaplin left many wanting more – including me. But McClure’s breakout performance as the famous, and famously problem-plagued, performer had it all, going far beyond mere imitation to suggest the emotional genesis for the images made immortal by the man. “Where Did All the People Go?” Chaplin sings in the show’s eleventh-hour number. Back home to tell their friends about McClure, one would think.
Playwright Greg Pierce’s last name is appropriate, since his sharp play – marking the opening of new Lincoln Center space the Claire Tow Theater — looked beneath the facades put on by an estranged uncle (Zeljko Ivanek) and niece (Sarah Steele) to show the lengths to which people will go to retreat from their own personal truths.
10. Lindsay Mendez, Dogfight
Mendez is Rose, the “ugly” girl asked to a cruel party by a would-be marine in this adaptation of the 1991 film. The joke ends up being on the men, though, as Rose proves to be strong, talented, full of self-worth and open to an increasingly changing world. And damn if Mendez, in excellent voice, didn’t capture every color of this character’s rainbow.
9. Anthony Warlow, Annie
Warlow makes for a winning Daddy Warbucks in this production, enjoying a healthy revival. With an honest emotionalism that never veered into creepy territory, Warlow makes it clear just what’s been missing from his life until he meets the pert red-headed orphan.
Lisa D’Amour’s topical thriller offered pointed commentary about what happens in a society when adults don’t have the opportunities to act like the grownups they always thought they would become. Anne Kauffman’s production starred a scarily good Darren Pettie and Sara Sokolovic as a couple who aren’t what they seem and Amy Ryan and David Schwimmer as a couple who aren’t where they want to be. Detroit doesn’t actually take place in Michigan, but one gets the sense that hese characters’ feeling of dislocation could – and do – occur anywhere.
7. Annie Funke, If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet
Part of a hopeful pattern of complicated portrayals of teenage women (see also: Lindsay Mendez, Sarah Steele), Funke was the center of Nick Payne’s family drama about, among other things, an overweight daughter who gets seen for all the wrong reasons and overlooked in all the important moments. Remember this actress.
Check out the rest of my picks here!
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