Top 10 in 2015: Best in theater
AP Drama Writer
NEW YORK — This year’s best-in-theater lists are going to be anticlimactic. There’s one listing that will surely be at the top of every critic’s round-up. But there was plenty of other great stuff, including shows about an English king and a Thai king and an Arthur Miller revival that will take your breath away. Our list of the best in theater in 2015:
1. “Hamilton” — It’s simply a phenomenon, attracting hordes on Broadway, having an entire category on “Jeopardy!,” getting mentioned on “Saturday Night Live,” being watched by a sitting president and quoted by a candidate hoping to replace him. The cast album became the No. 1 rap album in America and also was the first CD included in The J.P. Morgan’s Holiday Reading List. The game has been changed.
2. “Fun Home” — This Tony Award-winning adaptation from Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel about growing up in a funeral home with a closeted gay dad is fresh, heartfelt and brilliant. Coming to Broadway, it got even better.
3. “An American in Paris” — Inspired by the multiple Oscar-winning 1950 musical by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, this musical is helmed by top director and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon and is gloriously inventive and balletic.
4. “King Charles III” — Much like “Hamilton” uses hip-hop and R&B to retell the story of Alexander Hamilton, here Mike Bartlett borrows from William Shakespeare to frame a tale about what might happen when the current English queen dies. It crackles with intrigue and ideas.
5. “The King and I” — This elegant, thoughtful revival courtesy of Lincoln Center Theater has a cast of 51, a nice political edge, 11 adorable kids and a winning Kelli O’Hara. Everything about it sings.
6. “Constellations” — Nick Payne’s touching, playful drama takes on some big topics — the nature of time and mortality — through his unconventional presentation of a love story that keeps being remade.
7. “A View From the Bridge” — Director Ivo van Hove has stripped Arthur Miller’s dark classic and made it vibrant. The barefoot cast members warily circle each other in a revival that will shock and move.
8. “Something Rotten!” — Written by three guys making their Broadway debuts, this musical is fresh and hysterical and irreverent, mocking Shakespeare and “Les Miserables” alike.
9. “Skylight” — A tormented Carey Mulligan, a spectacularly spiky Bill Nighy, the marvelous newcomer Matthew Beard and director Stephen Daldry made alchemy onstage with this revival of David Hare’s play about two former lovers reconnecting.
10. “Spring Awakening” — This revival mixes hearing and deaf performers with elegant ease, adding new depth to a show about the dangers of failing to communicate. Applaud the nonprofit Deaf West Theatre in Los Angeles for making inclusionary, astonishingly alive work.