My Top 13 Theatre Moments (or Shows!) of 2012

I was going through my theatre-related posts of this year and I couldn’t pick just 10. Since this is my blog and I make the rules, I decided to do 13. 

1. Bring It On: I had my doubts and reservations about this musical, and maybe I’m a little biased after working on it for a few months, but I loved this show. It was visually stunning, fun, and not totally void of meaning. It had a good meaning overall: Life goes on after high school. I love this show, I’m sad it closed yesterday, and I will definitely miss it.

2. Merrily We Roll Along @ Encores: I went to the final performance and it was my first time having seen it – though I’d heard the music before. The cast was fantastic, as was the material. The atmosphere was also electric. Everyone was so excited to be there.

3. The Other Josh Cohen: This was just a gem of a show. I’m so glad I got to see it.

4. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? revival: I had reservations about this too, having seen the last revival with Kathleen Turner, but upon being offered a free ticket, who was I to turn it down? It ended up being pretty incredible. It was probably one of the best things to open on Broadway this fall.

5. Harvey @ Studio 54: A supposed allegory for homosexuality in the mid-20th century, Jim Parsons killed his roll and this show. Loved it.

6. The Bad and the Better (by The Amoralists): I love The Amoralists. This show was a complex story with many layers and a huge cast. It was pretty epic. I don’t know how they afforded to do it, but they definitely did.

7. James Corden in One Man, Two Guv’nors: I loved this play and I probably loved it because James Corden was so goddamn funny. He absolutely killed onstage. He deserved his TONY Award.

8. The Lyons: I saw this play off-Broadway and loved, and saw it twice more on Broadway. I loved it every single time. Probably because Linda Lavin reminded me of my late Jewish grandmother. And… Michael Esper.

9. Once’s Transfer to Broadway: I think the producers transfered this show well. Not much got lost in the bigger space in the Jacobs Theatre and the spirit of the show remained intact. I loved it off-Broadway and it made me cry (twice) on Broadway. I wasn’t sure whether transferring this show was the right thing to do, but I’m happy that they’re doing well ($1 million+/week).  

10. Tribes: This was an off-Broadway show not to be missed. It deserved every bit of praise it received. I loved it a lot possibly because the lead was hearing-impaired so it made it that much more believable, but who knows. It had a healthy run at The Barrow Group and is now going to LA. 

11. Carrie: A cult classic that only existed in bootleg form before MCC revived it. It was cheesy and the music wasn’t so stellar, and I wished there’d been more blood, but it was an experience to be had and seen. I’m definitely glad I paid $20 to sit in the second row. 

12. Jesus Christ Superstar‘s Resurrection: The revival in 2000 wasn’t so good – except for Tony Vincent, duh – but I loved, loved, loved this one, which transferred from the Stratford Theatre Festival. It felt like a digital update, but the incredible rock score was still the intact and the cast was incredible. I don’t care what anyone says, Josh Young was an incredible Judas. I saw this revival twice and my only regret is that I wished I’d seen it again!

13. Assistance: I was an assistant when I saw this so I definitely related. It was hysterical, vulgar, and exaggerated (though I’m sure it’s not so exaggerated for some people). The ending also wins for ‘most unrelated and random ending ever.’ Also: Michael Esper.

That’s my run-down for 2012. There were a dozen or more shows that I saw and didn’t write about (because I suck sometimes), but I’ll try to be better about writing about EVERYTHING in 2013. What were your top theatre moments in 2012? Happy new year!

Yesterday I saw the matinee of Assistance at Playwright’s Horizons. Admittedly I went to see it because of Michael Esper being part of the company and secondly because Assistance is written by Leslye Headland (who wrote the epic play Bachlorette, which premiered at Second Stage’s uptown theatre in 2010). The play told the story of an assistant with hopes of being promoted over the course of 3 years, his assistant, and the couple of interns they have over time. Each of them also go crazy from the stress as time progresses. The play is constructed in an interesting way – you go from scene to a monologue (usually a phone call) and to another scene a year or so later.

At the top of the play, Nick (Michael Esper) has been promoted from first to second assistant when Vince (Lucas Near-Verbrugghe) has been made director of another department within this huge company (owned by a tyrant of a boss, though we never find out what the company actually does). The new second assistant, Nora (Virginia Kull) is nervous but a year later we see that she’s become equally as strung out as Nick.  

Bobby Steggert has a small part as another one of the assistants in the company, Justin, and his biggest moment was his phone call with his therapist where he loses it entirely. Heather (Sue Jean Kim), the intern that lets the bosses expenses become outstanding leading to his AMEX being shut off, has another great phone call during which her complete breakdown occurs after she’s been fired.  

Assistance’s ending is the most surprising part of all. Let’s just say there’s a 4-minute tap number with water thanks to the last intern, Jenny (Amy Rosoff).

I really enjoyed Assistance overall. As an assistant who is sometimes stressed out I could definitely somewhat relate to the story. That being said, this also made me thrilled not to have a high-strung boss who makes my life hell. The cast was thoroughly fantastic. As per usual at Playwrights Horizons, the set was detailed and beautiful.   

If you need some reminder of how good you have it at your job, Assistance is the play for you. Assistance is playing at Playwrights Horizons through March 11th. Click here for more information.