The Verdict: Theatre Critics Name the Top Plays and Musicals of 2017

The Verdict   The Verdict: Theatre Critics Name the Top Plays and Musicals of 2017
 
Take a look at the productions that critics listed among the best of the theatrical year—from New York to London.
Bette Midler
Bette Midler Julieta Cervantes

Theatre critics in New York, London, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. have published their “Best of 2017” lists, singling out plays, musicals, operas, and dance productions among their most memorable experiences of the year.

A_Doll's_House_Part_2_Broadway_Production_Photos_2017_09_HR.jpg
Laurie Metcalf in A Doll's House, Part 2 Brigitte Lacombe

Among the most-named Broadway productions were Hello, Dolly! starring Bette Midler, Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2 starring Laurie Metcalf, and the new musicals The Band’s Visit and SpongeBob SquarePants. Bruce Springsteen’s theatrical creation, Springsteen on Broadway, was also a popular pick.

Oft-cited Off-Broadway productions included Barrow Street Theatre’s immersive staging of Sweeney Todd, Amy Herzog’s Mary Jane, and Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves.

Tina Fey’s Broadway-bound musical adaptation of Mean Girls was singled out for its world premiere at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., while London critics were in agreement on Jez Butterworth’s latest drama The Ferryman.

The 2017 Best in Theatre lists follow:

New York Theatre

The Chicago Tribune (Chris Jones, ranked)
1. Springsteen on Broadway
2. Hello, Dolly!
3. The Band’s Visit
4. Oslo
5. A Doll’s House, Part 2
6. Once on This Island
7. Sunset Boulevard
8. Come from Away
9. Sweat
10. SpongeBob SquarePants

Forbes (Lee Seymour, in no specified order)
1. The Band’s Visit
2. Mary Jane
3. SpongeBob SquarePants
4. Jitney
5. Pipeline
6. The Kinsey Sicks’ Things You Shouldn’t Say
7. Oslo
8. Laurie Metcalf in A Doll’s House, Part 2
9. The staging of Once on This Island
10. Sweeney Todd
11. The Play That Goes Wrong

The Hollywood Reporter (David Rooney, ranked)
1. August Wilson's Jitney
2. The Wolves
3. Springsteen on Broadway
4. Sunday in the Park with George
5. A Doll’s House, Part 2
6. Sweeney Todd
7. Mary Jane
8. Hello, Dolly!
9. Once on This Island
10. Pacific Overtures

Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen Rob DeMartin

New York Magazine (Sarah Holdren, in no specified order)
1. Café Müller/The Rite of Spring
2. The Hairy Ape (Park Avenue Armory)
3. Richard III (Brooklyn Academy of Music)
4. Animal Wisdom
5. The Treasurer
6. Burning Doors
7. Frontiéres sans Frontières
8. The Band’s Visit
9. Of Government/What the Constitution Means to Me
10. People, Places & Things

The New York Times
Ben Brantley, listed alphabetically
1. The Band’s Visit
2. The B-Side: “Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons”
3. Burning Doors
4. A Doll’s House, Part 2
5. Escaped Alone
6. Jitney
7. The Red Letter Plays
8. Richard III (Brooklyn Academy of Music)
9. Springsteen on Broadway
10. Sunday in the Park With George

Jesse Green, listed chronologically
1. Escaped Alone
2. A Doll’s House, Part 2
3. Sojourners and Her Portmanteau
4. Cost of Living
5. Master
6. As You Like It
7. Mary Jane
8. Springsteen on Broadway
9. Jesus Hopped the A Train
10. The Band’s Visit

Mary_Jane_NYTW_Production_Photo_2017_Carrie Coon and Susan Pourfar in MARY JANE at New York Theatre Workshop, Photo by Joan Marcus_HR.jpg
Carrie Coon and Susan Pourfar Joan Marcus

Time (Eben Shapiro, in no specified order)
1. Sweat
2. The Band’s Visit
3. Indecent
4. Come From Away
5. A Doll’s House, Part 2
6. Oslo
7. Hamlet (Public Theater)
8. Sunday in the Park With George
9. Sweeney Todd
10. Hello, Dolly!

Time Out New York (Adam Feldman, ranked)
1. Mary Jane
2. Hello, Dolly!
3. A Doll’s House, Part 2
4. Escaped Alone
5. Springsteen on Broadway
6. The Band’s Visit
7. The Antipodes
8. Villa
9. SpongeBob SquarePants
10. Say Something Bunny!

Variety (Marilyn Stasio, ranked)
1. The Band’s Visit
2. Once on This Island
3. The Wolves
4. Jitney
5. Pacific Overtures
6. SpongeBob SquarePants
7. Sweeney Todd
8. A Doll’s House, Part 2
9. Sunset Boulevard
10. Hello, Dolly!

The Wrap (Robert Hofler, in no specified order)
1. A Doll’s House, Part 2
2. If I Forget
3. The Antipodes
4. The Glass Menagerie
5. Illyria
6. Jitney
7. The Children
8. Oedipus El Rey
9. Werther
10. Harry Clarke

New York and Los Angeles Theatre

The Los Angeles Times (Charles McNulty, in no specified order)
1. A Doll’s House, Part 2
2. The Band’s Visit
3. Every Brilliant Thing
4. Fun Home
5. Gem of the Ocean (South Coast Repertory)
6. Hamilton (National Tour)
7. Hello, Dolly!
8. King Charles III (Pasadena Playhouse)
9. Springsteen on Broadway
10. The Town Hall Affair (Redcat)

Washington, D.C. Theatre

The Washington Post (Nelson Pressley, ranked)
1. A Little Night Music (Signature Theatre)
2. King Charles III (Shakespeare Theatre Company)
3. In the Heights (Round House-Olney Theatre)
4. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Ford’s Theatre)
5. Fun Home (National Tour)
6. Mean Girls (Pre-Broadway World Premiere)
7. Hooded: Or Being Black for Dummies (Mosaic Theater)
8. The Gabriels (The Kennedy Center)
9. Love and Information (Forum Theatre)
10. Jesus Hopped the A Train (1st Stage)

Ashley Park, Taylor Louderman, Kate Rockwell, and Erika Henningsen
Ashley Park, Taylor Louderman, Kate Rockwell, and Erika Henningsen Joan Marcus

London Theatre

The Guardian

Michael Billington, ranked
1. The Ferryman (Royal Court and Gielgud, London)
2. Albion (Almeida, London)
3. Girl from the North Country (Old Vic, London)
4. Network (Lyttelton, London)
5. Imperium (The Swan, Stratford-Upon-Avon)
6. Follies (Olivier Theatre, London)
7. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Harold Pinter Theatre, London)
8. The Gabriels (Attenborough Center, Brighton)
9. An Octoroon (Orange Tree, Richmond)
10. Consent (Dorfman, London)


Susannah Clap, in no specified order
1. Girl from the North Country (The Old Vic)
2. The Tin Drum (Everyman, Liverpool)
3. Hamlet (Almeida)
4. The Suppliant Woman (Young Vic,
5. The Ferryman (Royal Court)
6. Flight (Churchill Theatre Studio, Edinburgh)
7. Consent (Dorfman)
8. This Beautiful Future (The Yard)
9. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (Crucible, Sheffield; Apollo, London)
10. The Welcoming Party (1830 Warehouse, Manchester)

Lyn Gardner, ranked
1. Our Town (Royal Exchange, Manchester)
2. The Ferryman (Gielgud, London)
3. Palmyra (Summerhall, Edinburgh)
4. Killology (Sherman, Cardiff)
5. This Beautiful Future (The Yard, London)
6. The Cherry Orchard (Sherman, Cardiff)
7. Barber Shop Chronicles (Dorfman, London)
8. Hamlet (Harold Pinter Theatre, London)
9. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (Apollo, London)
10. Real Magic (Inbetween Time Festival, Bristol)

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