The best (and worst) theater of 2012

A slew of splendid Broadway revivals and boundary-busting experiments Off Broadway made for a great year.

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Adam Feldman's ten best shows of 2012

1

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Composer Dave Malloy and director Rachel Chavkin served an exquisite slice of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, suffused with bittersweet wit and ravishing notes of grace.

2

The Piano Lesson

Roslyn Ruff, Chuck Cooper and the rest of the Signature cast teach a master class in the soul-stirring musicality of August Wilson’s 1990 classic.

3

Tribes

Nina Raine turns a deft ear to questions of individuation and self-expression in a resonant family drama, superbly staged in the round by David Cromer.

4

Golden Boy

This elegant revival of Clifford Odets’s 1937 morality play, gorgeously acted by an ensemble of pros under Bartlett Sher’s direction, proves that artistry and punch are not mutually exclusive.

5

We Are Proud to Present a Presentation…

Jackie Sibblies Drury’s sharply devised script and Eric Ting’s carefully layered direction fanned this investigation of racial tension to a searing conflagration.

6

The Material World

Slacker anxiety, diva entitlement, Kabbalistic mysticism and socialist dogma collided to mind-swelling effect in Dan Fishback’s Kushnerian folk-pop musical.

7

A Map of Virtue

Director Ken Rus Schmoll fashioned a perfect setting of eerie plainness for Erin Courtney’s exquisitely shaped gem of a play.

8

Hurt Village

Katori Hall restuffed the mama-on-the-couch play in a bold, dynamic look at life for a black family in the slums of South Memphis.

9

The Twenty-Seventh Man

Nathan Englander channeled the animating spirit of Yiddish literary tradition in a chilling elegy for a culture crushed by Stalin’s boot.

10

3C

Sitcom farce returned as tragedy in David Adjmi’s hilarious and discomfiting vivisection of fear and loathing in Three’s Company.


Adam Feldman's worst shows of 2012

Bullet for Adolf

Writer-director Woody Harrelson shot himself in the foot with a harebrained vanity farce.




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