It’s no simple matter to come up with a list of the Top Ten Plays and Musical productions of the year. Because of the countless productions from Broadway to Off-Broadway to Off-Off-Broadway . . . and so on, and Theater Pizzazz’s desire to cover as many of these shows as possible, it’s quite common that all of our writers don’t see the same plays. Furthermore, how does one really stack up a beautifully written and performed solo show against a big budget extravaganza? The answer, for many of our writers, is that some plays just stand out. Something to keep in mind whilst perusing the lists. And one last thing to consider is that some productions ran so long ago that they’re forgotten, despite how great they might have been, and it feels like years ago, and sadly they are neglected.
The best approach to assessing the important and “top” shows of the year is to look at the crossover. What shows seem to be mentioned again and again? This is especially true of the lower profile plays. Broadway always gets top billing and a theater aficionado will make a point of seeing a big production that falls into the “don’t miss” category. On the other hand, an Off-Broadway show might be closed, due to limited runs, by the time word of mouth gets around. And, let’s not forget that some writers focus more on musicals, whereas some, like our own JK Clarke, specialize in a specific area (Shakespeare).
That being said, we asked our writers to submit their Top Ten Theater Productions of the Year. Some writers included shows that played in other cities, which for the sake of brevity and focus we had to omit. We also asked our cabaret writers to list their Top Ten as well. Those lists can be found in here.
Hamilton, The King and I and An American in Paris each made multiple lists. Not a surprise since all were lauded with awards and nominations last spring (Hamilton was eligible only as an Off-Broadway play because it had just finished a run at The Public and hadn’t yet moved to Broadway—you can count on seeing it get fistfuls of awards at the Tonys in June).
One final note is that certain plays, like The Flick—for which playwright Annie Baker won a Pulitzer and which had Hollywood stars showing up regularly at the Off-Off-Broadway Theater where it was playing—didn’t make a single list. Sometimes consensus can be subtle.
So, without further ado, here are the Theater Pizzazz writers Top Ten Plays and Musicals of 2015!
Happy New Year from all of us and we wish you many pleasurable productions in the coming year.