Year-End 'Best-Of' Lists Feature Producers, Kabul, Stritch

News   Year-End 'Best-Of' Lists Feature Producers, Kabul, Stritch The country's magazines and newspapers have begun to turn out their year-end issues, including the obligatory lists rating the theatre events of the last twelve months.

The country's magazines and newspapers have begun to turn out their year-end issues, including the obligatory lists rating the theatre events of the last twelve months.

Among those coming in for the lion's share of praise are Elaine Stritch's one-person show At Liberty, The Producers and Metamorphoses. 42nd Street, Urinetown! and Noises Off also got their share of mentions. Some shows, such as John Patrick Shanley's Where's My Money? and A Class Act were equally represented on "best of" and "worst of" lists.

Donald Lyons, the Off-Broadway critic for the New York Post, bucked trends by putting two widely lauded productions, Metamorphoses and Kabul/Homebody, on his list of worst shows.

And receiving a surprising amount of brickbats is Edward Albee's once fairly well-received The Play About the Baby. John Simon of New York magazine was particularly kind to Playwrights Horizons, with three of the company's productions making his "best of" list.

Following are a selection of those highly opinionated (are highly variegated) honor rolls. (This article is being updated daily as new lists roll in). THE NEW YORK TIMES
Critic Ben Brantley did not submit a list, but in his year-end article of highlights, he mentioned the following shows (in this order):
Elaine Stritch: At Liberty
The Producers
Noises Off
Metmorphoses
Mamma Mia!
Ghost Sonata (the Ingmar Bergman production at BAM)
Hamlet (both the Peter Brook and John Caird versions at BAM; he called Simon Russell Beale's Hamlet "the dramatic performance of the year")
Hedda Gabler
The Invention of Love
King Hedley II
Caveman and Drummer Wanted by Richard Maxwell
Homebody/Kabul

NEW YORK NEWSDAY
Critic Linda Winer's Top Ten:
1. Invention of Love
2. The Producers
3. The Play About the Baby
4. The Harold Pinter Festival
5. Urinetown
6. Elaine Stritch at Liberty
7. Homebody (but not Kabul)
8. Noises Off
9. 42nd Street
10. Chaucer in Rome

NEW YORK POST
Critic Clive Barnes' Best Top Ten (Broadway, in alphabetical order):
1. Dance of Death
2. 42nd Street
3. Hedda Gabler
4. The Invention of Love
5. King Hedley II
6. Mamma Mia!
7. Major Barbara
8. Noises Off
9. The Producers
10. Urinetown

Worst Top Ten (in alphabetical order):
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Bells Are Ringing
A Class Act
Follies
45 Seconds from Broadway
The Gathering
George Gershwin Alone
Judgment at Nuremberg
Mamma Mia! Thou Shalt Not

Donald Lyons' Best List: (Off-Broadway)
Elaine Stritch: At Liberty
The Shape of Things
The Seagull
The Glory of Living
True Love
The Voice of the Turtle
Othello
Summer of '42

Worst List:
Metamorphoses
Wonder of the World
Psych
Speaking in Tongues
Where's My Money?
Homebody/Kabul

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Critic Howard Kissel’s top 10 (in alphabetical order):
1. A Class Act
2. The Credeaux Canvas
3. Elaine Stritch: At Liberty
4. 42nd Street
5. The Invention of Love
6. Major Barbara
7. Metamorphoses
8. Noises Off
9. The Producers
10. Ten Unknowns

Critic Robert Dominguez’s Top Ten (Off-Broadway):
1. Bat Boy, the Musical
2. A Skull in Connemara
3. The Devil's Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith
4. Lobby Hero
5. Eat the Runt
6. Topdog/Underdog
7. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)
8. Speaking in Tongues
9. True Love
10. Passion Play

USA TODAY
Best Top Ten:
1. The Producers
2. Metamorphoses
3. Major Barbara
4. King Hedley II
5. The Seagull
6. Bat Boy: The Musical
7. Sexaholix!
8. The Invention of Love
9. The Dance of Death
10. Where's My Money?

Worst Top Ten:
1. Urban Zulu Mambo
2. Wonder of the World
3. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
4. Madame Melville
5. A Class Act
6. By Jeeves
7. The Dog Problem
8. Crimes of the Heart
9. Urinetown!
10. If You Ever Leave Me ... I'm Going With You!

TIME MAGAZINE
Top Ten Plays of the Year:
1. Metamorphoses
2. Topdog/Underdog
3. The Producers
4. The Glory of Living
5. The Last Five Years
6. Elaine Stritch at Liberty
7. King Hedley II
8. Urinetown
9. 42nd Street
10. The Drawer Boy
And the worst of the year: The Play About the Baby

NEW YORK MAGAZINE
Critic John Simon's best (and worst) of 2001
Best:
The Credeaux Canvas
Elaine Stritch: At Liberty
Lobby Hero
The Spitfire Grill
The Syringa Tree

Worst
Charles L. Mee's First Love, True Love, and Big Love
Harold Pinter Retrospective at Lincoln Center
The Play About the Baby
Thou Shalt Not
Topdog/Underdog

CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Critic Richard Christensen's Top Ten:
1. The Producers
2. The Gamester, Northlight Theatre
3. Hard Times, Lookingglass Theatre
4. The Last Five Years, Northlight
5. Miss Saigon, Marriot Lincolnshire
6. Sweeney Todd, Ravinia Festival
7. The Visit, the Goodman Theatre
8. Over the Tavern, Northlight
9. Pacific Overtures, Chicago Shakespeare Theater
10. Glengarry Glen Ross, Steppenwolf

L.A. TIMES
Critic Don Shirley's Top Ten:
1. Big River, Deaf West Theatre
2. The Birthday Party, Matrix Theatre
3. Bitter Homes and Gardens, Playwrights' Arena, Los Angeles Theatre Center
4. The Circle, South Coast Repertory
5. Flower Drum Song, Mark Taper Forum
6. Good Thing, Taper, Too at Actors' Gang
7. Hay Fever, A Noise Within
8. Kimberly Akimbo, South Coast Repertory
9. Much Ado About Nothing, South Coast Repertory
10. A New Brain, West Coast Ensemble

—By Robert Simonson