Contact, McDonald, Betty Top Year-End Lists

News   Contact, McDonald, Betty Top Year-End Lists Susan Stroman and John Weidman's "dance-play," Contact, Christopher Durang's scathing satire Betty's Summer Vacation and the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman are common sightings among the "best of" theatre lists currently being published by U.S. magazines and newspapers.
Boyd Gaines and Deobrah Yates in Contact.
Boyd Gaines and Deobrah Yates in Contact. (Photo by Photo by Paul Kolnik)

Susan Stroman and John Weidman's "dance-play," Contact, Christopher Durang's scathing satire Betty's Summer Vacation and the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman are common sightings among the "best of" theatre lists currently being published by U.S. magazines and newspapers.

Contact, a sold-out hit at Lincoln Center, and soon to transfer to the larger Vivian Beaumont Theatre, was on every critic's top-ten list. Other favored production include the Broadway revivals of The Price, Kiss Me, Kate and The Iceman Cometh. Also receiving multiple mentions were Neil LaBute's trio of brutal one-acts, bash, and David Hare's one-man show, Via Dolorosa.

While most critics specified particular productions as the top theatrical attractions of the year, more than one list featured actress-singer Audra McDonald as an entry -- not Marie Christine, the Broadway musical in which she stars, or "Way Back to Paradise," her debut album, but McDonald herself.

A selection of year-end lists follows:

The New York Times (Ben Brantley):
1. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (a one-night-only reading in New York City, starring Uta Hagen, Jonathan Pryce, Mia Farrow and Matthew Broderick)
2. Susan Stroman and John Weidman's Contact (Off-Broadway) 3. Kiss Me, Kate (Broadway)
4. Not About Nightingales, The Iceman Cometh and Death of a Salesman (all Broadway)
5: Conor McPherson's The Weir (Broadway) and This Lime Tree Bower Off-Broadway's Primary Stages)
6. House/Lights (Off-Off-Broadway's Wooster Group)
7. David Hare's Via Dolorosa (Broadway)
8. Christopher Durang's Betty's Summer Vacation (Off-Broadway's Playwrights Horizons)
9. Audra McDonald USA Today (David Patrick Stearns):
1. Laurie Anderson's Moby Dick (Brooklyn Academy of Music)
2. Audra McDonald
3. Neil LaBute's bash (Off-Broadway)
4. Noel Coward's Sail Away (a concert reading at Carnegie Hall starring Elaine Stritch)
5. Candide (England's Royal National Theatre)
6. Contact (Off-Broadway)
7. Betty's Summer Vacation (Off-Broadway)
8. Cornelius Eady and Dierdre Murray's Running Man (Off-Off Broadway at HERE)
9. Marc Wolf's Another American: Asking and Telling (Off Broadway)
10. The first act of Jonathan Tolins' If Memory Serves (Off Broadway)*

*Stearns listed the second act of If Memory Serves as one of the top-ten worst theatre offerings.

Time:
1. The Iceman Cometh (Broadway)
2. Contact (Off-Broadway)
3. Martin McDonagh's The Lonesome West (Broadway)
4. Annie Get Your Gun/Kiss Me, Kate (Broadway)
5. Rebecca Gilman's Spinning into Butter (Chicago's Goodman Theatre)
6. Arthur Miller (Death of a Salesman, The Price, an opera based on A View From the Bridge)
7. bash (Off-Broadway)
8. Patrick Marber's Closer (Broadway)
9. David Marshall Grant's Snakebit (Off-Broadway)
10. August Wilson's Jitney (various regional productions)

New York Newsday (Aileen Jacobson):
1. Death of a Salesman and The Price (Broadway)
2. Contact (Off-Broadway)
3. The Iceman Cometh (Broadway)
4. Via Dolorosa (Broadway)
5. Kiss Me, Kate (Broadway)
6. bash (Off-Broadway)
7. Amadeus (Broadway)
8. Lee Blessing's Chesapeake (Off-Broadway)
9. Closer (Broadway)
10. Cheryl L. West's Jar the Floor (Off-Broadway's Second Stage)

New York Newsday (Linda Winer):
1. The Iceman Cometh (Broadway)
2. Death of a Salesman (Broadway)
3. Babes in Arms (Off-Broadway's Encores!)
4. Contact (Off-Broadway)
5. Jar the Floor (Off-Broadway)
6. Aviva Jane Carlin's Jodie's Body (Off-Broadway)
7. Marcia L. Leslie's The Trial of One Short-Sighted Black Woman vs. Mammy Louise and Safreeta Mae (Off-Broadway)
8. Caryl Churchill's Blue Heart (Brooklyn Academy of Music)
9. It Ain't Nothin' but the Blues (Broadway)
10. Jeffrey Hatcher's The Turn of the Screw (Off-Broadway's Primary Stages.