PLAYBILL PICKS: The Top Theatre Stories of 2011 From Spider-Man to Sondheim to Site-Specific Shows

By Robert Simonson
23 Dec 2011

Seth Numrich and Joey
photo by Paul Kolnik

BACKED THE RIGHT HORSE: A three-hour English play about a boy and his horse, whose biggest star is a puppet? Lincoln Center Theater probably thought they'd get a nice bit of family fare with a pretty British pedigree when they brought in War Horse from the National Theatre. Instead, they got a hit with no closing date in sight, one with strong enough legs to replace the recently departed South Pacific. Some critics called it sentimental with little in the way of original drama or characterizations. But none complained about the majestic and graceful equine puppets, manipulated by multiple humans into creatures as alive as the actors. And, by Tony time, War Horse had won enough good will to beat out more literary efforts to win Best Play. Handspring Puppet Company got a Special Tony for their work, and a national tour and a Toronto company will soon trot. (A Steven Spielberg film version of the source novel is released Dec. 25.) Here's the Playbill On Opening Night coverage