Best in Show: Year-End Lists Rank Grey Gardens and Spring Awakening at Top of 2006

News   Best in Show: Year-End Lists Rank Grey Gardens and Spring Awakening at Top of 2006 Before 2006 officially ends, several New York publications are posting their year-end "Top 10" or "Best of" lists. Among the front-runners are the Off-Broadway-to-Broadway musical transfers of Grey Gardens and Spring Awakening.

Jonathan Groff in Spring Awakening.
Jonathan Groff in Spring Awakening.

Among other popular titles that land on the lists — some in numerical order, others opt for the more diplomatic alphabetical — include The History Boys, Shining City, Company, Stuff Happens, The Lieutenant of Inishmore and [title of show].

Two theatre columnists mentioned the omission of The Coast of Utopia from their lists (as portions of the trilogy are yet to be seen on the New York stage), while others merited the individual works.

With the good, come the bad and the ugly, so many listmakers included the worst shows of the year along with their top choices. Among those (dis)honored more than once are The Times They Are A-Changin', Lestat and The Threepenny Opera revival.

Here's a running list of 2006's top theatrical contenders:
(updated as more lists are published)


Entertainment Weekly:
1. The History Boys
2. Grey Gardens
3. The Coast of Utopia: Voyage
4. Company
5. Rabbit Hole
6. Awake and Sing!
7. Shining City
8. Durango
9. The Clean House
10. A Chorus Line Worst:
1. The Times They Are A-Changin'
2. Lestat
3. Ring of Fire
4. Almost, Maine
5. The Threepenny Opera

Reader's Poll (Best Broadway Show):
The History Boys

The Hollywood Reporter's Robert Hofler (no particular order):


  • The History Boys
  • Grey Gardens
  • Sweeney Todd
  • Awake and Sing!
  • The Pajama Game
  • The Drowsy Chaperone
  • New York Magazine's Jeremy McCarter:
    10. The Four-Way Speech in Young Jean Lee's Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven
    9. Bill T. Jones's Choreography in Spring Awakening
    8. The Coast of Utopia
    7. The Nightmare Scene in Will Power's The Seven
    6. The Wild Duck at BAM
    5. "Immigration Restrictions Proved to Be a Bad Idea" (Canadian Bob Martin in The Drowsy Chaperone and Irish Brían F. O'Byrne in Shining City) 4. John Doyle's Revival of Company
    3. "Actor-Playwrights Got Over Themselves" (non-biographical solo shows: Sarah Jones' Bridge & Tunnel, Nilaja Sun's No Child and Daniel Beaty's Emergence-See!)
    2. Christine Ebersole in Grey Gardens
    1. The Lieutenant of Inishmore

    The New York Sun's Eric Grode:
    1. The Thugs
    2. Bridge and Tunnel
    3. Spring Awakening
    4. Waiting for Godot (Dublin's Gate Theatre and Classical Theatre of Harlem)
    5. The History Boys
    6. Billy The Mime
    7. The Drowsy Chaperone
    8. Indian Blood
    9. The Pain and the Itch
    10. [title of show]

    Runners-Up (in alphabetical order): A Chorus Line, The Emperor Jones, Heddatron, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Satellites, The Seven, Shining City, Tuesdays & Sundays, Two Trains Running and Well.

    The New York Times' Ben Brantley (in alphabetical order):


  • The Coast of Utopia, Part I — Voyage
  • Company
  • Grey Gardens
  • The History Boys
  • Kiki and Herb: Alive on Broadway
  • The Lieutenant of Inishmore
  • The Little Dog Laughed
  • The Pajama Game
  • Shining City
  • Spring Awakening Mentions: Twelfth Night (Brooklyn Academy of Music), Stuff Happens (Public Theater) and Seven Guitars - Signature Theater Company.

    The New York Times' Charles Isherwood (alphabetical order):


  • Awake and Sing
  • Bridge & Tunnel
  • The Clean House and Eurydice
  • Druidsynge
  • Heartbreak House
  • The History Boys
  • King Lear (Goodman)
  • Shining City
  • Spring Awakening
  • [title of show] The Star-Ledger's Michael Sommers (in alphabetical order):


  • A Chorus Line
  • The Drowsy Chaperone
  • Grey Gardens
  • The Lieutenant of Inishmore
  • The Little Dog Laughed
  • Rabbit Hole
  • Spring Awakening
  • [title of show]
  • Two Trains Running
  • Well Time's Richard Zoglin:
    1. Grey Gardens
    2. Spring Awakening
    3. Mary Poppins
    4. Shining City
    5. 365 Days/365 Plays
    6. Musical Revivals (American style) (A Chorus Line, The Pajama Game)
    7. Musical Revivals (British style) (Sweeney Todd, Company)
    8. Festen
    9. The Vertical Hour
    10. Martin Short's Fame Becomes Me

    TimeOut New York's David Cote (in alphabetical order):


  • Grey Gardens
  • The Mistakes Madeline Made
  • The Pain and the Itch
  • Red Light Winter
  • The Sewers
  • Shining City
  • Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven
  • Spring Awakening
  • Stuff Happens
  • The Thugs
  • [title of show] Worst (also alphabetically):


  • Hot Feet
  • Lestat
  • The Times They Are A-Changin’ TimeOut New York's Adam Feldman (in alphabetical order):


  • The Busy World Is Hushed
  • DruidSynge
  • Faith Healer
  • Grey Gardens
  • The History Boys
  • Measure for Pleasure
  • Mother Courage and Her Children
  • The Seven
  • Spring Awakening
  • Stuff Happens
  • The Thugs Worst (also alphabetically):


  • High Fidelity
  • The Threepenny Opera
  • The Treatment Also visit Playbill.com's other year-end roundup theatre stories:
    Playbill.com Picks the Top Theatre Stories of 2006
    In Memoriam: Playbill.com Remembers Those We Lost in 2006.

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