The Top Shows of 2016—As Chosen By the Stars | Playbill

Special Features The Top Shows of 2016—As Chosen By the Stars Patti LuPone, Laura Osnes, John Benjamin Hickey and more stars of Broadway’s upcoming 2017 season name their favorite shows of 2016.

The critics have spoken, with writers for outlets from the New York Times to The Hollywood Reporter weighing in on their favorite theatre from 2016. But what topped the lists of the theatre-makers of the community? found out.

David Henry Hwang, playwright
Coming in 2017: M. Butterfly, coming fall 2017
Favorite Show of 2016: Sweat, Off-Broadway
“Asked to single out one show out of the many I loved in 2016, my vote goes to Sweat by Lynn Nottage at the Public Theater. Many have characterized this as a play about white economic anxiety, but I also see it as a work about how global economic changes devastate across communities, and trigger latent racism. Moreover, I’m inspired by the gorgeous craftsmanship in Lynn’s dramatic structure and writing.”

Paula Vogel, playwright
Coming in 2017: Indecent, previews begin April 4 at the Cort Theatre
Favorite Show of 2016: The Band’s Visit, Off-Broadway
“I loved The Band’s Visit. What a joy to see a musical that acts with the emotional logic of music itself rather than the worn Lego blocks of plot. Katrina Lenk’s performance is revelatory, as is the entire cast: nuanced, layered, sublime. The Band’s Visit with its beautiful score, lyrics, and book has a wise soul that knows that the arousal of desire, rather than the fulfillment of desire, is a greater, albeit wistful pleasure.”

John Benjamin Hickey
Coming in 2017: Six Degrees of Separation, previews begin April 5 at the Barrymore Theatre
Favorite Show of 2016: The Humans, Broadway
“I loved The Humans, Stephen Karam’s funny and sad and scary portrait of a family vanishing before our very eyes. A perfect ensemble of actors, and Joe Mantello’s finest production yet (which is saying quite a lot).”

Laura Osnes
Coming in 2017: Bandstand, previews begin March 31 at the Jacobs Theatre
Favorite Show of 2016: Waitress, Broadway
“My favorite show this past year was Waitress. I absolutely fell in love with the music—in fact, I got the album first, which is what truly motivated me to go see the show. And when I finally saw it, I felt all the feels and was absolutely blown away. The show strikes every chord—deeply relatable characters giving us hilarious comedy, exciting romance, and heart-wrenching drama... all to the tunes of the brilliant Sara Bareilles. The cast was spot-on, each giving memorable performances I felt couldn’t be repeated or replaced by anyone else! I’ve wept all three times I’ve seen it. And I’d go back again tonight if you gave me a ticket.”


Lonny Price, director
Coming in 2017: Sunset Boulevard, previews begin February 2 at the Palace Theatre
Favorite Show of 2016: Falsettos, Broadway
“I don’t think it is only because of nostalgia. When I was younger, I had been so knocked out by Bill Finn’s earlier work, In Trousers, that I left a paying gig to do a reading of the first incarnation of the show at Playwrights Horizons, then titled March of the Falsettos. (Bill Finn played Marvin, if you can believe that!) Then and now, the material strikes me as totally unique, with Bill’s uncompromising original voice, and the addition of James’ masterful direction. I was overcome sitting in the theatre by the second act. I do think that this is one of the great contributions to the form. Though I played the role of Mendel Off-Broadway, Brandon Uranowitz was so terrific I didn’t miss me at all.”

Patti LuPone
Coming in 2017: War Paint, previews begin March 7 at the Nederlander Theatre
Favorite Show of 2016: Shuffle Along or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 And All That Followed, Broadway
“It was a great season and I would be remiss not mentioning Hamilton and The Humans. I believe the last show I saw before going to Chicago for War Paint was Shuffle Along. Two thoughts ran through me head as I was watching this magnificent production: That is the superior race onstage and I wish I was black. The principals were outstanding, sublime, but the unsung heroes of this production were the corps of young, committed, extremely talented, energized dancers. I haven’t been that moved by a group of dancers, as well as a featured cast, since A Chorus Line. It inspired me to the extent that I wept in the realization that our musical theater is still a vibrant force because of these kids. And they are kids. Kudos to George Wolfe and Savion Glover.”

Jenn Colella
Coming in 2017: Come From Away, previews begin February 18 at the Schoenfeld Theatre
Favorite Show of 2016: Falsettos, Broadway
“My favorite show of the 2016 season was, without a doubt, Falsettos. That cast was absolutely phenomenal. I understand why folks may think I’m biased, as a great many of them are my pals, but I was truly blown away. Stephanie J. Block is a master. Christian Borle and Andrew Rannell’s chemistry was sexy and palpable. Betsy Wolfe and Tracie Thoms as the hot lesbians next door?? Come. On. That cast album will be a staple in my household.”

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