Time magazine picked the musical Ragtime -- which has starts Broadway previews Dec. 26 after sold-out success in Toronto and Los Angeles -- as number one on its annual survey, The Best Theatre of 1997. Time wrote that the show could have been "another mega-disappointment. In fact, it turns out to be a landmark American musical."
Time is one of the few mass-circulation magazines to offer such a survey. The unbylined story continued with the following list:
3) The Janet McTeer-starred London production of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House.
4) Space Tina Landau's drama about a psychiatrist dealing with patients who claim to have been abducted by aliens. Now playing at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre. 5) The Life, Cy Coleman and Ira Gasman's Broadway musical about 1980 Times Square, featuring memorable performances by Lilias White, Chuck Cooper and Pamela Isaacs.
6) Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, writer-director Moises Kaufman's Off-Broadway account of the spectacular fall of the gay playwright.
7) The Diary of Anne Frank, which featured Wendy Kesselman's revised script that stuck closer to the dark elements of the original diary, as directed by James Lapine and performed by an all star cast. The production opened in Boston and moved to Broadway.
8) The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Alfred Uhry's comedy-drama about Jewish anti-Semitism in 1939 Atlanta, was a hit on Broadway after its 1996 Atlanta debut.
9) How I Learned to Drive, Paula Vogel's drama about a teenager and the uncle who sexually abused her.
10) Les Miserables, on its 10th anniversary.
Want to write your Top 10 -- or just your favorite theatre experiences of 1996? Playbill On-Line will post them here! E-mail your list to Robert Viagas at email@example.com. Results will be posted starting Dec. 28.
-- By Robert Viagas