With the world seeming to spin off its axis in this first year of the Trump administration, anxious New Yorkers found themselves searching desperately for anchors, for balance, for a sense of order. If they looked to their theaters, all those elements were present, though not necessarily in the expected shapes and sizes. What follows are 10 shows, listed alphabetically, that left me breathless — and deeply grateful for the refuge that theater can provide. Immaculately staged by Kate Valk, and featuring the remarkable Eric Berryman as a sort of transcendental disc jockey, this was conceptual theater at its purest and most precise.
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Of course, "Hamilton" continues to dominate, but a few blockbuster openings this year are giving "Hamilton" a run for its money. And I'm happy to report that among the 41 new productions that opened this year, a significant number found critical, if not commercial, success. In alphabetical order, here are my Top 10 new shows on Broadway in It's an off-beat sequel of sorts based on the Henrik Ibsen classic turned into a crowd pleaser, earning Laurie Metcalf this year's Tony Award for Best Actress. It takes Ibsen's 19th Century masterwork, slathers a modern veneer over its central conceit — the subjugation of women — and picks up after Nora famously slams the door.
Barring last-minute announcements — unlikely because every available theater is booked — 24 productions are scheduled to open on Broadway between now and the Tony Awards cutoff at the end of April. More than five times as many will open Off Broadway during that same window. Without counting the hundreds of smaller events popping up all around the city, or most of what happens in May and beyond, which is still too foggy to bet on, that leaves a vast landscape of stage activity to enjoy. How will they make a musical of it? Andy Karl, a smash in the London production, stars. Hello, Dolly! But obviously the biggest reason is Bette Midler in the title role; will she descend the Harmonia Gardens staircase in a mermaid outfit?
While we are in the middle of the Broadway season, it's time to take a look back at the best shows of the year. Best of Top 10 Broadway special events. Best of Top 10 NJ arts and entertainment stories.