Broadway had 45 offerings in 2013, but the Broadway.com editors only choose five as best of the year. After much consideration (not to mention hours at the theater taking it all in!), we’ve finally made our decision. Take a look at our favorites below.
Once deemed a hippie-dippy Candide with an infectious Stephen Schwartz score, Pippin has been reinvented with the show’s merry band of players as a circus troupe. The result is big top wonderment led by Patina Miller’s rippling-muscled ringmaster and an endearing Matthew James Thomas in the title role. With eye-popping acrobatics galore, comic perfection from Andrea Martin and a stunningly stark finale that leaves the audience breathless, this Tony-winning Pippin had a lot of magic to do.
2. Twelfth Night
Though New York City seems to have Shakespeare fever with countless productions from the Bard’s oeuvre being presented this year, nothing tops the sublime Twelfth Night, starring two-time Tony winner Mark Rylance. Imported from Shakespeare’s Globe in London, this production (played in repertory with Richard III) features an all-male cast clad in Elizabethan costumes and mostly lit by candles, which focuses all attention squarely on Rylance and his co-stars’ mastery of the language. In a word: Genius.
3. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Christopher Durang’s nutty take on Chekhov, sibling rivalry, success, failure, aging, jealousy and, um, voodoo was smart, sweet and unexpectedly moving. Cheers to Sigourney Weaver, David Hyde Pierce, Kristine Nielsen and the rest of the first-rate cast for their winning performances, and their willingness to throw tantrums, dress up in ridiculous fairy-tale costumes and strip down—both literally and emotionally. Sure, everyone knows bitter, complaining characters can make for knee-slapping comedy, but now we see that everything is better when said like Maggie Smith.
4. The Glass Menagerie
A familiar classic shines anew in this stunning revival of Tennessee Williams’ 1944 memory play. Under the steady guidance of Tony-winning Once director John Tiffany, Broadway treasure Cherry Jones finds her match in the nuanced performances of Zachary Quinto, Celia Keenan-Bolger and Brian J. Smith. The production strikes a delicate balance between the dreaminess at the center of this heartbreaking story and its raw power—all with the intimacy of someone whispering in your ear.
5. Kinky Boots
This kicky confection can be filed under feel-good musicals with heart. The searingly talented cast, headed by divalicious Tony winner Billy Porter and Stark Sands, sparkles to the beat of Cyndi Lauper’s rousing score. With two secret weapons— Annaleigh Ashford in all her quirky glory and a flock of high-kicking, glittery drag Angels—in its arsenal, Kinky Boots killed at the Tony Awards (winning six, including Best Musical) and the Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards. "Everybody say yeah," indeed!