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Best-read posts in 2017 on NewYorkTheater.me: Hamilton again!

Anything about “Hamilton” was still popular on NewYorkTheater.me in 2017, nearly three years after the musical first opened, Off-Broadway.

5 BEST-READ POSTS IN 2017

1. The 50 Best Plays of The Past 100 Years

Hamilton Broadway 9

Front row: Jordan Fisher as John Laurens, Javier Munoz as Alexander Hamilton, Seth Stewart as the Marquis de Lafayette and Okieriete Onaodowan as Hercules Mulligan (who is leaving this month) Top row: Mandy Gonzalez as Angelica Hamilton, Brandon Victor Dixon as Aaron Burr, Lexi Lawson as Eliza Hamilton.

2. Hamilton Broadway New Cast:

What Has Changed?

Read more of this post

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Best-read posts in 2016 on NewYorkTheater.me

As my best-read posts from 2016 below make clear, some theater trends stay strong year after year: Anything about “Hamilton” is still popular nearly two years after the musical first opened, Off-Broadway. And many of my most popular posts this year were written before 2016.

5 BEST-READ POSTS IN 2016

1. The 50 Best Plays of The Past 100 Years, According to Entertainment Weekly

Hamiltonquizcollage
2. Quiz: Which character in Hamilton are you?

Close in popularity to this quiz was another Hamilton Quiz, put together this year.

BillyElliotElectricity
3. Broadway’s Best Dance Numbers
Videos of 10 dance numbers from Broadway musicals that readers voted the best ever (including Electricity from Billy Elliot, pictured above)

4. Broadway 2013-2014 Season Guide

I have no idea why this particular Broadway season preview guide is so popular three years later, especially since only two shows from that season are still running (Aladdin and Beautiful.)  Maybe somebody can explain? Meanwhile, here’s the Broadway 2016-2017 Season Guide.

5. America’s Hamilton

The documentary about the making of “Hamilton” the musical and the history of Alexander Hamilton

haobama

5 BEST-READ REVIEWS IN 2016

Grand Paradise 16-+(photo+by+Darial+Sneed)

The Grand Paradise: Bushwick’s Titillating Tropical Resort

Hamilton

Hamilton

Hamilton : Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hip-Hopped History Musical

The Radicalization of Rolfe

The Radicalization of Rolfe

The Radicalization of Rolfe: A gay Nazi’s version of The Sound of Music.

 

Amazing Grace 

Hadestown New York Theatre Workshop By Anaïs Mitchell Developed with and directed by Rachel Chavkin 2015/16 SEASON May 6, 2016—July 3, 2016 With Hadestown, celebrated singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell and inventive two-time Obie award-winning director Rachel Chavkin (Three Pianos; Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812) transform Mitchell's "phenomenal concept album" (Rolling Stone) into a bold new work for the stage. This folk opera follows Orpheus' mythical quest to overcome Hades and regain the favor of his one true love, Eurydice. Together we travel from wide open plains where love and music are not enough nourishment to survive the winter, down to Hadestown, an industrialized world of mindless labor and full stomachs. Inspired by traditions of classic American folk music and vintage New Orleans jazz, Mitchell's beguiling melodies and poetic imagination pit nature against industry, faith against doubt, and love against death. Scenery by Rachel Hauck Costumes by Michael Krass Lighting by Bradley King Sound by Robert Kaplowitz Properties by Noah Mease Arrangements & Orchestrations by Michael Chorney Music Supervision, Co-arrangements & Orchestrations by Todd Sickafoose Music Direction by Liam Robinson Choreography by David Neumann Dramaturgy by Ken Cerniglia Co-conceived by Ben t. Matchstick Stage Manager Lindsey Turteltaub Featuring Nabiyah Be, Damon Daunno, Lulu Fall, Amber Gray, Patrick Page, Jessie Shelton, Chris Sullivan, Shaina Taub

Hadestown: A Hell of a Musical

 

BEST-READ PROFILES IN 2016

 noah-robbins-in-grease-live

Noah Robbins on Grease Live, His First Musical Since High School

 LeslieOdomJrbyMandell

An Aaron Burr Who’s Not The Villain: Leslie Odom Jr in Hamilton

 santino fontana profile

Santino Fontana’s Act One, The Unluckiest Lucky Actor In New York

 BobbyMoreno1

Bowie, Bogosian and Bobby Moreno

TOP 5 EVENT POSTS IN 2016

Times Square, January 23, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. Click to see enlarged.

Times Square, January 23, 2016 at 1:30 p.m.

Broadway and the Blizzards of 2016

 Hillaryatconvention

Hillary Quotes Hamilton in Convention Speech

Hamilton Cast to VP Elect Mike Pense: Respect Us (Trump Replies: Apologize)

kilroys2016

2016 Kilroy’s List of Good but Unproduced Plays by Women

Broadway for Hillary

Hamilton Hands Down: Best-read stories in 2015 on NewYorkTheater.me

Continuing a tradition I started when I began this blog – here are the best read stories of 2014, of  2013, and of 2012 – here are my most-read posts from 2015:

(This is a bit of a sly dodge on my part, since some of my best-read posts in 2015 were written in previous years – such as  The 50 Best Plays of The Past 100 Years, and Broadway’s Best Dance Numbers and Social Media On Stage: Theater Meets Twitter,Facebook,Youtube, Tumbler, Soundcloud…,)

Hamilton

Several of my top posts in 2015 were about the top musical, Hamilton.

Hamiltonquizcollage

The most popular of these was my Hamilton Quiz:

Quiz: Which character in Hamilton are you?

Phillipa Soo, renee Elise-oldsberry and Jasmine-Cephas-Jones

Phillipa Soo, renee Elise-oldsberry and Jasmine-Cephas-Jones

Then there was my post about its opening on Broadway Hamilton on Broadway: Review, Photos, Video

Hamilton

Hamilton

Third in this group was my review Off-Broadway: Hamilton Review: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hip-Hopped History Musical

LeslieOdomJrbyMandell

Finally, an interview: An Aaron Burr Who’s Not The Villain: Leslie Odom Jr in Hamilton

Something Rotten B-Roll

Watch: Christian Borle as Sexy Shakespeare: It’s Hard to Be The Bard (video + lyrics)

Top10shows2015collage

Top 10 New York Theater To Be Grateful for in 2015

 

Susannah Flood and Gbenga Akinnagbe

Susannah Flood and Gbenga Akinnagbe

Fulfillment Review: Thomas Bradshaw’s X-Rated Modern Day Job

What Audience Engagement Means…and What It Shouldn’t Mean (Ageism)

MercuryFur4a 

Mercury Fur review: A Vile, Violent Future In An Atrocious Play

Theater vs. Theatre, Revisited

 

Similar end-of-year best-read posts from some of my favorite theater bloggers.

George Hunka 

Howard Sherman

Howlround offers its 2015 NewCrit in Review. (The three best-read stories in the NewCrit section of Howlround are articles I wrote for them:

Who’s An Amateur? Shows for Days and The Evolving Definition of “Professional” 

Hamilton: Five Ways Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hip-Hopped History Musical Breaks New Ground 

Audience Participation: Do Taylor Mac et al Tickle or Terrify? )

Here’s a link to all of Howlround’s 2015 Retrospectives

If and when other of my favorite bloggers put up such posts — such as Bitter Gertrude — I’ll add them here.

Best-Read Stories in 2014 on NewYorkTheater.Me

Continuing a tradition I started when I began this blog – here are the most-read stories of 2013 and of 2012 – here are the most-read reviews and essays that I wrote in 2014.

(This is a bit of a sly dodge on my part, since some of my best-read posts in 2014 were written in previous years – such as Social Media On Stage: Theater Meets Twitter,Facebook,Youtube, Tumbler, Soundcloud…, The 50 Best Plays of The Past 100 Years, and Broadway’s Best Dance Numbers– or aren’t even close to reviews or essays.)

JeremyJordanandJonathanGroff

Broadway Responds to Russia’s ‘Gay Propaganda’ Ban

Les Miz Kyle Scatliffe as Enjolras waving the flag

Les Miz Kyle Scatliffe as Enjolras waving the flag

Les Miserables Review: Darkened Stages, Brilliant Broadway Cast

AladdinatTonys

Aladdin Review: A Genie Works His Magic on Broadway

Austin Cauldwell and Dea Julien in Thomas Bradshaw's Intimacy

Austin Cauldwell and Dea Julien in Thomas Bradshaw’s Intimacy

Intimacy Review: Pornography On Theatre Row

Top102014

Top 10 New York Theater To Be Grateful for in 2014

santino fontana profile

Santino Fontana’s Act One, The Unluckiest Lucky Actor in New York

TheMysteries3Jesus

The Mysteries: The Flea Takes On The Bible, Epically, Irreverently

Randy Harrison in ATOMIC

Randy Harrison in ATOMIC

Atomic Review: A Musical About The Bomb

Piece3ResnickandBaskin

Piece of My Heart, The Bert Berns Story Review. Will You Twist and Shout?

Elbow4

Theater Review: Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter

Beautiful 1a

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical Review. Broadway by the Numbers

PoolPlay3

Pool Play Q and A: Erin Mee on Immersive Theater, Art vs. Academia, Her Famous Father

 

I’d like to point to my essays in Howlround, which are much closer to think pieces (the last of 2014 was Does God Exist on Stage?, the first of the year was 9 Questions That August: Osage County and The Sound of Music Provoke about Theater).  Even better, take a look at the top ten posts by my colleagues in theater blogging who also put together an end-of-year list for 2014:

George Hunka

Melissa Hillman

Rob Weinert-Kendt

Howard E Sherman.

Cafe Onda,the online journal of the Latina/o Theatre Commons on Howlround, compiled by Georgina Escobar.

Howlround round-up of two dozen journal and essay pieces

Other bloggers I follow who haven’t summed up their year can be found along the right side of my blog. Just scroll up a bit.

Smash – Theater Bloggers Weigh in

SmashSeason2logoWill we have “Smash” to kick around any longer? Whatever else the backstage Broadway TV show has been, it’s been an inspiration for many in the theater community – creating what you could almost call a subsidiary entertainment industry. If “Smash” is canceled, that is what I’ll miss the most.

And the show may well be canceled. The latest episode of “Smash” attracted just 3.29 million viewers, down from last week’s Season 2 premiere, which had 4.47 million — which was itself a decrease of 71 percent from the Season 1 premiere.  (To put this in a little perspective, that same hour, “Vegas” on CBS had 9.67 million viewers; the season finale of “Downton Abbey,” on non-commercial PBS had 8.5 million viewers. On the other hand, “Smash” had 460,000 more viewers than the show on NBC that immediately preceded it, “The New Normal.”)

Update: The show is being moved to Saturday nights, TV’s hospice

Much attention has been paid to the Tweeting about the show, especially live-Tweeting — including for the Season 2 premiere extensive Tweeting from the cast. But of equal note, and considerable entertainment, is how “Smash” has played out on the theater blogs

Smash Spin-Offs and Spoofs

Two regular features linked to Smash rise to the level of independent creative endeavors (though it helps to have seen the show.)

Broadway Abridged SmashGil Varod of Broadway Abridged, has created regular

 Smash spoofs – complete scripts that purport to present a shortened version of each episode, but mostly expertly ridicule it:

Sample picked randomly:

JACK DAVENPORT

It’s difficult to pick a new Marilyn Monroe in an hour.  I’d need, say, fifteen episodes to make such a decision!

CHRISIAN BORLE

Well this decision needs to be made; we lost Uma Thurman to a peanut allergy!

DEBRA MESSING

And now she’s DEAD!  And we are missing her funeral because we need to rehearse!

SmashPataphysicalSci

Linda Buchwald and David Quinn collaborate on a regular feature that they put on both their blogs — Pataphysical Science and NineDaves —  called the Smash Reality Index.

As with their previous efforts, the latest Smash Reality Index  divides the latest episode into two categories: Totally True and Oh Hell No

Examples:

Totally True

Eileen wants a “fresh eye” on Bombshell’s book, and suggests the aid of a dramaturg. “It’s a very common practice these days,” she tells Julia and Tom. “Most of the big shows use one to retool the book.” That’s totally true, Eileen. Pulling a “show doctor” in before Broadway is a common tool used by many a show. cough cough Leap of Faith cough cough Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark cough cough

Julia thinks her book was good because “the audience cried when Marilyn died” and “we had standing ovations every night!” She would use that as a barometer for success, but have you been to Broadway lately? It’s filled with sub-par shows where people cry at trite emotional moments and give standing ovations at curtain call, no matter how bad the crap they just sat through was. Believe us – we both saw Baby It’s You.

Oh Hell No
As much as we’ll praise Eileen for thinking about bringing in a dramaturg to help with the book, she really should have involved a dramaturg from the beginning, as he/she could have helped with costumes, sets – hell, maybe even that terrible artwork.

Eileen claims that [the song from Bombshell] “Our Little Secret” has “glamour, power, sex,” therefore encompassing “the new Broadway.” Right Eileen. Just like Once. And The Book of Mormon. And Memphis. And Billy Elliot

Smash Recaps

Many outlets seem to love regurgitating the plot of “Smash” episodes, either in real time or in the days following. Many legacy publications (legacy meaning magazines, newspapers) do this.  Theater blogs are cleverer. Smash Reality Index, after all, is in part subversive recap. In Astor Place Riots, W.M. Akers spoofs the impulse to recap with the post Smash is Awful and So Is My TV Recapping 

Smash Reporting

Megan HiltyAdam Rothenberg in his Call Me Adam blog interviewed Megan Hilty who plays Ivy on Smash but is also regularly performing on stage in New York (Wicked, 9 to 5) and has an album coming out. She’ll be singing with The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall on Friday, March 8 in Luck Be A Lady: Megan Hilty Sings the Songs of Sinatra and More.

Smash Analysis and Criticism

Ken Davenport in The Producer’s Perspective is the only blogger I follow who is an unabashed “Smash” booster, writing a post in May 2011 when the show was first announced that everybody should see the Smash, since it would be good for Broadway.

Even he, though, acknowledged the disappointment with the show, albeit in an upbeat way, with his post 4 Ways to Make Smash Smashier way back in August. Fourth way:

Want to know the reason why there are so many Legal Dramas and Medical Dramas and Cop Dramas on television?  Life or Death is a part of every episode – which means high stakes are built into the plot.  It just comes with the genre.  We’d like to think putting on a Broadway musical is life or death, but let’s face it, it ain’t.  Smashhas the challenge of trying to find these same kind of stakes within what it brings to the table.  And that’s gonna be tough.  But I think that’s what it should focus on, because that’s what will lead to more viewers.  Everyone has love/life/death in common. Where/when it’s set doesn’t even have to matter.  Raise up those stakes and ratings will follow.

Others took a look when “Smash” debuted — and, let’s just say, were not inspired to become regular viewers.

JK’s Theatre Scene: 7 Reasons Why Smash May Not Be One

  Jan Simpson’s Broadway and Me: Does it make me a heretic to say that I’m not yet sold on “Smash”?

Rob Weinert-Kendt’s The Wicked Stage: Bashing Smash

The show’s Broadway pedigree is what makes the thundering mediocrity of Smash, whose pilot I barely managed to get through last week, so disappointing. Shaiman, Rebeck, Mayer, and the show’s estimable cast have turned out something so false, tired, and pandering that the word “cliché” is barely adequate. I’m not a snob; I can enjoy trashy, manipulative TV, but Smash doesn’t even satisfy on that level. (I’ll qualify this by admitting that a TV show’s overall quality can’t always be judged by its pilot.)

Three months later, he wrote:

Forgive me if Emily Nussbaum’s walkback on Smash feels like vindication:

Since its delightful pilot, the show has taken a nosedive so deep I’m surprised my ears haven’t popped. All the caveats I noted but dismissed in my earlier review have become the definingly awful features of “Smash.”

Earlier this month, Howard Sherman wrote a blog post entitled Theatre’s Problem With Smash:
“There’s no shortage of criticism of the show from every angle , but I don’t know that I’ve seen anyone get at the overriding sentiment within the theatre community.

“In a word: disappointment.”