PLAYBILL PICKS: The Memory of All That! Playbill Contributors Choose Unforgettable Experiences of 2012

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21 Dec 2012

Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis in The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess.
Photo by Michael J. Lutch

ANDREW GANS, Senior Editor

The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess: Though I knew much of the classic Gershwin score, I had never before seen a full production of Porgy and Bess, and the much-in-the-news Broadway revival — starring Audra McDonald, who deservedly nabbed her fifth Tony Award for her soaring work as the ill-fated Bess, and the golden-voiced Norm Lewis — was a gorgeously sung, thoroughly moving one.

Linda Lavin in The Lyons: Lavin never fails to impress, and she brought Rita Lyons to full life, wringing every ounce of humor from Nicky Silver's script. The Tony-winning actress also managed to be extremely touching, especially in her scenes with the terrific Michael Esper.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: Pure emotional fireworks may be the best way to describe this Edward Albee revival that boasts a spectacular cast headed by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts, who proves he's as gifted an actor — providing a new take on George — as he is a writer.

Clybourne Park: This Pulitzer Prize-winning play had a circuitous route to Broadway, but it was certainly worth the wait. Witty, achingly human and at times hilariously funny, Bruce Norris' "sequel" to Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun was a thought-provoking gem.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood: This thrillingly sung and acted revival, led by a cast of musical theatre pros, is a simply enchanting theatrical evening. The fun starts the moment one enters the theatre and continues through the audience vote and rousing finale.

Golden Boy: A stellar cast, including Seth Numrich, Tony Shalhoub and Yvonne Strahovski, in her Broadway debut, prove that this Clifford Odets drama remains a powerful piece of theatre. Terrific sets and great period music also add to the proceedings.

There may have been no more moving piece of theatre this past season than Nina Raine's hit family drama Tribes, which beautifully explored the challenges faced by a deaf man and his family as they all fought to, literally and figuratively, hear each other.

For Gans' diva picks of the year, click here.


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