Hairspray, Movin' Out and The Goat On Top and Bottom of 2002 Lists

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31 Dec 2002

The nation's publications — Playbill On-Line not excluded — have begun to spin their year-end reviews including the obligatory lists that rate artistic events of the last twelve months. Among these are a few "best of" (and "worst of") tallies taken from the world of theatre.

Theatre proved an art of taste as Hairspray, Movin' Out and The Goat were listed among both the highlights and lowpoints on different lists. While many news syndicates opted to offer highlights or a review for the year — seasoned, of course, with cynical barbs or gushing praises, — others went with the more traditional "Top Ten" list.

Here's a running list of some of the year's top theatrical contenders:

Entertainment Weekly's "The Best and Worst" of Stage 2002:

Best:
1. Sondheim Celebration (Washington's D.C.'s Kennedy Center)
2. Elaine Stritch At Liberty
3. Take Me Out
4. The Crucible/The Man Who Had All The Luck
5. The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?
6. Homebody/Kabul
7. Cymbeline (Brooklyn Academy of Music)
8. "The Parade of Hats" in Far Away
9. Private Lives
10. Sexaholix... a love story



Worst:
1. Prune Danish
2. The Graduate
3. The Boys From Syracuse
4. Sweet Smell Of Success
5. Hairspray

New York Daily News critic Howard Kissel's "Top 10 Broadway Moments" for 2002:

1. Cherry Jones in Imaginary Friends
2. Harvey Fierstein doing soft shoe in Hairspray
3. The first five minutes of Flower Drum Song where I imagined this would be a serious rewrite of the book for this beautiful score.
4. The appearance of subtitles in Chinese in Thoroughly Modern Millie
5. Faith Prince in A Man of No Importance
6. Jeffrey DeMunn in Our Town
7. Alan Bates' drunk scene in Fortune's Fool
8. John Lee Beatty's sets in Dinner at Eight
9. Laura Linney in The Crucible
10. Lisa Hopkins and Jesus Garcia's duet in La Bohème

New York Daily News critic Robert Dominguez's "Off-Broadway Top 10" for 2002:

1. Debbie Does Dallas
2. Adult Entertainment
3. Take Me Out
4. 36 Views
5. Ricky Jay: On the Stem
6. Betty Rules
7. The Underpants
8. The Mercy Seat
9. 21 Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com.
10. Runt of the Litter

New York Times critic Ben Brantley's "10 Moments in Theater" for 2002(in alphabetical order):

1. La Bohème
2. Def Poetry Jam
3. Far Away
4. The Goat or Who is Sylvia?
5. Hairspray
6. Medea
7. Movin' Out
8. Private Lives
9. The Sondheim Celebration
10. Topdog/Underdog

New York Times critic Bruce Weber's "10 Moments in Theater" for 2002:

1. LAByrinth Theater (Our Lady of 121st Street)
2. Polk County (Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.)
3. "Shine On" (Undersung stage actresses Michele Pawk (Hollywood Arms); Jan Maxwell (My Old Lady, House and Garden); and Harriett D. Foy (Polk County, Crowns)
4. "Accessory Of The Year": Hats (Crowns, Far Away)
5. "Show-Stopper": "Timeless to Me," performed by Dick Latessa and Harvey Fierstein in Hairspray
6. "History Matters": Tina Landau's production of The Time of Your Life at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theater
7. The Guys (Flea Theater)
8. "Most Idiosyncratic Performance": Annabelle Gurwitch in Joe and Betty 9. "Misfires": Smell of the Kill, Burning Blue, Tuesdays With Morrie and Surviving Grace
10. "The year's funniest line": Judy Garland: "Elaine, I never thought I'd say this, but good night." from Elaine Stritch: At Liberty

New York Times critic Margo Jefferson's "10 Moments in Theater" for 2002:

1. The Exonerated
2. Antigone (National Theater of Greece)
3. Yellowman
4. Blue/Orange
5. Movin' Out
6. "Breaking Through": Movin' Out's John Selya
7. Def Poetry Jam
8. "The Monologue": Composer Robert Kapilow's "What Makes It Great" talks
9. Ice Theater Of New York (Dreame, Departures)
10. "A Thought for the New Year": Salute to work found in theaters, clubs, lofts and even living rooms Off-Broadway

Time's "The Best Theater" 2002:

1. Movin' Out
2. The General From America
3. The Exonerated
4. Flower Drum Song
5. Amour
6. The Man Who Had All The Luck
7. Hairspray
8. Moby Dick(Wisconsin's Milwaukee Repertory Theater)
9. Far Away
10. Def Poetry Jam

TimeOut New York editor Jason Zinoman's "The Best and Worst in Theater" 2002:

Best:
1. Our Lady of 121st Street
2. The Dazzle
3. La Bohème
4. Tape
5. Medea
6. Take Me Out
7. Hairspray
8. The Underpants
9. Ricky Jay: On the Stem
10. Death in Venice

Worst:
1. Dance of the Vampires
2. The Graduate
3. An Almost Holy Picture

TimeOut New York writer David Cote's "The Best and Worst in Theater" 2002:

Best:
1. Take Me Out
2. La Bohème
3. To You, the Birdie! (Phèdre)
4. Hairspray
5. Placebo Sunrise
6. Talk
7. Blue/Orange
8. Debbie Does Dallas
9. The Underpants
10. Tape

Worst:
1. Movin' Out
2. Shoppers Carried by Escalators into the Flames
3. The Prince and the Pauper

USA TODAY's The Best and Worst" of 2002:

Best:

1. Medea
2. Barbara Cook in Mostly Sondheim
3. Metamorphoses
4. La Bohème
5. Hairspray

Worst:
1. The Smell of the Kill
2. Dance of the Vampires
3. The Goat or Who Is Sylvia?
4. Amour
5. The Graduate

Also, visit Playbill On-Line's year-end roundups:
Playbill On-Line Selects the Top Theatre Stories of 2002
Playbill On-Line Looks Back at Theatre 2002: A Year in Images
2002 Necrology: Playbill On-Line Recalls Theatre Folk Who Passed On
Playbill On-Line's Goofy Play Titles 2002