Top 10 Lists of Top 10 Best Theater 2013


 Twelfth Night and The Glass Menagerie are on most critics’ top 10 lists of the best theater of 2013  — but not all (Time doesn’t have either.) Other critical favorites: Here Lies Love (9 of the 13 critics chose this), Matilda (7), Pippin (7), Buyer and Cellar (6), Fun Home (5).  The Flick (5), After Midnight (5) and Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 (4). These top 10 critics’ picks are half-and-half Broadway and Off-Broadway.

I was early with my Top 10 List of the best plays and musicals in 2013 (summarized in picture above), and added a list of 10 Most Beloved Theater of 2013 That Baffled, Bored or Bugged Me — beloved by others, in other words, not me. (the second picture)

Belove Theater Baffled, Bored or Bugged Me

For equal time, I took a poll of the worst Broadway show of 2013.

Here are lists of Top 10 theater from other critics, in no particular order. Many deviate from a literal Top 10 list, either by shoving in more than 10, or by listing alphabetically.

Ben Brantley, New York Times, cheats in two ways: He offers 15, not 10, and after the top 2, he lists his choices alphabetically

1. The Glass Menagerie

2. Twelfth Night

3. All That Fall

4. Buyer and Cellar

5. The Designated Mourner

6. Fun Home

7. Here Lies Love

8. The Jacksonian

9. Julius Caesar

10. Matilda

11. The Model Apartment

12. Mr. Burns An Electric Play

13. Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

14. Passion

15. Regular Singing/The Apple Family Plays

Jesse Green, New York Magazine, also cheats, but not as much:

1. The Flick

2. Fun Home

3. The Glass Menagerie

4. After Midnight

5. Passion

6. Nikolai and the Others, AND
Regular Singing (two separate plays by the same author Richard Nelson)

7. Here Lies Love

8. The Domesticated

9. The Assembled Parties

10. “The British Double Bills” — in other words, the Broadway productions of four plays: Twelfth Night, Richard III, Waiting for Godot, No Man’s Land

Mark Kennedy, Associated Press

1. The Glass Menagerie

2. Pippin

3. Matilda

4. Kinky Boots

5. The Sound of Music on NBC “but Broadway was in its DNA”

6. The Last Five Years

7. Twelfth Night

8. Waiting for Godot/No Man’s Land

9. Buyer & Cellar

10. “The look of Macbeth” (the Ethan Hawke one)

Joe Dziemianowicz, Daily News

1. Fun Home

2.  Twelfth Night

3. The Glass Menagerie

4. Here Lies Love

5. Pippin

6. Regular Singing

7. Violet

8. Buyer & Cellar

9. “Cyndi Lauper….the very best thing about Kinky Boots”

10. Disaster

Elizabeth Vincentelli, New York Post, listed alphabetically

1. After Midnight

2. Buyer & Cellar

3.The Good Person of Szechuan

4. Here Lies Love

5. Julius Caesar

6.  Matilda

7. A Midsummer Night’s Dream

8. Mr. Burns, A Post-Electri Play

9.  Pippin

10. Twelfth Night

Richard Zoglin, Time Magazine

1. Matilda

2. Here Lies Love

3. The Model Apartment

4. Belleville

5. The Flick

6. Domesticated

7.  Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

8. Saint Joan

9. Macbeth (the one with Alan Cumming)

10. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Adam Feldman, Time Out New York

1. Good Person of Szechwan

2. Twelfth Night

3. Pippin

4. The Assembled Parties

5.  The Glass Menagerie

6. Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play

7. Here Lies Love

8. Grimly Handsome

9. Fun Home

10. RoosevElvis

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

1. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

2. After Midnight

3. Buyer and Cellar

4. The Glass Menagerie

5. Here Lies Love

6. Matilda

7. No Man’s Land

8. Pippin

9. The Flick

10. Twelfth Night

Charles Isherwood, The New York Times, listed alphabetically:

1. After Midnight and What’s It All About (two separate “jukebox musicals.”)

2. Belleville

3. The Flick

4. A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder

5. Good Person of Szechuan

6.  Life and Times: Episodes 104

7.  Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

8. “Shakespeare in the Park” (i.e. The Comedy of Errors and Love’s Labour’s Lost)

9. Twelfth Night/Richard III

10. The Winslow Boy

Adam Green, Vogue Magazine

1. Twelfth Night/Richard III

2. Here Lies Love

3. “The Public Theater’s 2013 Season”

4. The Glass Menagerie

5. Then She Fell

6. Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play

7. The Flick

8. Matilda

9. Belleville

10. The Revisionist

Green adds “Note: I would have included the musical Hands on a Hardbody on this list, but the fact that my sister wrote the lyrics and cowrote the music (with Phish front man Trey Anastasio) would have made it suspect.”

Max Windman, AM New York

1. Matilda

2. Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike

3. Fiorello!

4. Twelfth Night/Richard III

5. Pippin

6. 700 Sundays

7. Buyer & Cellar

8. Good Person of Szechwan

9. Bad Jews

10. Fun Home

USA Today does their top 10 theater list in a weird way, coming up with Tony-like categories:

Best play: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Best book musical: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Best musical revue: After Midnight

Best revival of a play: The Glass Menagerie

Best revival of a musical: Pippin

Best vehicle: The Nance (for Nathan Lane)

A couple of swells: Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in No Man’s Land andWaiting for Godot

Most divine divas: Bette Midler in I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers and Billy Porter in Kinky Boots

Disguised among their best list, they also give out worst awards:

Most overrated musical: Matilda the Musical

Actor most palpably pleased with his own performances: Mark Rylance inTwelfth Night and Richard III

Double toil and trouble: Two cursed Macbeths

Worst. Date. Ever.: First Date

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Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

3 thoughts on “Top 10 Lists of Top 10 Best Theater 2013

  1. Vanya and Sonya and Pierre Natasha both premiered in NY in 2012 not 2013.
    2013 would only make sense if you did Broadway list only, but yours is both B’way and off B’way

  2. I’d give you slack for Vanya and Pierre, since you may have seen them in 2013. But The Whale opened and closed in 2012. I loved it as well, so I’m nonetheless happy to see it hasn’t been forgotten.

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