This has been one of my favorite Theatre seasons in New York, though it’s possible that I say those words every year. Let’s face it – there are winners, losers and those where the cast is great but the writing is so-so, and vice versa. Nothing was a loser but there was some in between.
Many of the plays on the top of my list were Round About Theatre productions.
Lost Girls was my favorite off-Broadway play of the season. Piper Perabo known for her turn as a spy in the TV show Covert Affairs drew me to the play but the well-rounded cast held my attention. The story revolves around a struggling mom and three generations of women who haven’t always made the best choices – and there’s a whole lot of potty mouth.
The Roundabout Theatre Company produced Ugly Lies the Bone in their black box theatre. Though not my favorite play of the season, the performance by Mamie Gummer as the wounded war veteran suffering from intense chronic pain and emotional distress was a standout performance. Gummer’s fiery portrayal of this resolute young woman struggling to piece her life together after war was captivating.
The play Old Times, produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company made me want to read the entire Harold Pinter catalog of plays. The performances by Clive Owen, Kelly Reilly and Eve Best are fantastic. Riley and Best are former roommates who haven’t seen each other in 20 years. There is a tension and an underlying sense of discomfort that the characters exude while telling different versions of past experiences. Owen finally reveals that he had his own past with Best’s character. The reminiscing captivated the audience but at times the changes in the set were a distraction.
Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge is a must see classic. It has a fantastic cast — Nicola Walker and Mark Strong lead a strong ensemble. This reimagined version has a stark set and relies solely on the actors to tell the story of a Brooklyn longshoreman trying to keep his inner demons at bay while housing illegal Italian immigrants related to his wife. It’s an intense two-hour play but the time passed quickly.
Thérèse Raquin is a gothic melodrama about a woman who is resigned to her fate. She is quiet and faraway for the first half of the play until she enters into an affair. She is only happy momentarily though, because the man she has an affair with murders her husband. When they try to build a life after her husband’s death, he haunts them and she plunges into misery again. Keira Knightley, Matt Ryan, Gabriel Ebert, Judith Light and more make up this fantastic ensemble.
My guilty pleasure of 2015 – Chicago – featured Amra-faye Wright and Rumer Willis. Ever since watching Willis dance on DWTS, I’ve wanted to see her in something else – she didn’t disappoint. Along with being a dancer, she also has a fantastic voice. Chicago is a classic, which I’ve seen before but it’s a fun show — fairly long though, so prepare to settle in if you want to see it.
Closing out 2015, is one of my top three dance companies – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Normally, I attend three different nights so that I can catch all of the premieres and also watch other pieces that I’ve never seen before. Unfortunately, I was only able to attend one night this season but the line up was all work I had never seen before. I’m so happy I finally saw Polish Pieces (1996). No Longer Silent (Ailey premiere 2015) was fantastic, but Untitled America: First Movement (2015) and Exodus (2015) were just stunning.