December 31, 2014

Favorite Performances of 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR to my followers!  At this time of year, I like to reflect on my theatre-going experiences of the past twelve months. In 2014, I had significantly less theatre-going experiences compared to previous years, largely due to my academic responsibilities as I slowwwwwly work toward my PhD in nursing. Fortunately, I was able to see all of the new Broadway musicals prior to the Tony Awards in June, as well as the entire Broadway Series at the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC). 

Despite the reduction in my NYC theatre excursions, I would still consider 2014 to be a fruitful year in the theatre! I crossed one item off my bucket list; that is, seeing Cabaret on Broadway, something I’ve been anticipating eagerly since age fifteen! It was thrilling, especially with Mr. Alan Cumming as the Emcee! I also saw Idina Menzel perform on a Broadway stage for the first time in If/Then, which has since become one of my favorite cast recordings. I am patiently waiting for a rather long list of musicals to be revived on Broadway (aren’t we all?)- Side Show has been taken off this list as of last week, and I must say, I am in love with the story and the score. I also learned that I hate boxing but I love Rocky- at least when Andy Karl is singing the role. I saw some “oldies but goodies”, such as the ever-dependable Wicked, Camelot on tour, and Les Miserables on Broadway. And I FINALLY joined the club and saw The Book of Mormon. Yes, it’s been a good year. I cannot complain. 

In celebration of the culmination of 2014, I will list my five favorite performances of the year below. Please comment and share your own theatre-going experiences as well- I would love to hear from you!

1.) Alan Cumming, Emcee, Cabaret

I grew up listening to the 1998 revival cast recording of Cabaret starring Alan Cumming, and when I finally witnessed him in his Tony Award-winning role at Studio 54 in August, it was one of the most thrilling theatrical moments for me. No one embodies the role of Emcee like Alan Cumming. For more comments on Alan’s performance, click here

2.) Idina Menzel, Elizabeth, If/Then

I was never a Fanzel (or whatever Idina’s fans call themselves) until I saw her perform in If/Then. Finally, I understand what all the fuss is about after years of hearing shrill, off-key renditions of “Defying Gravity” at her live concerts and listening to under-whelming YouTube videos from her Wicked days. In this more well-suited role, Idina shines. Truly, the role was made for her. (So stop watching YouTube videos and check out If/Then). 

3.) Side Show (the entire production, with special attention to Erin Davie and Emily Padgett as Violet and Daisy Hilton)

I will never understand why the best shows on Broadway close early. Slotted to close on January 4, the revival of Side Show is one of the most poignant and heart-wrenching stories of 2014, with an impressive score by Henry Krieger. Erin Davie and Emily Padgett are outstanding as the Hilton sisters, twins conjoined at the hip who are objectified as a side show exhibit before moving on to vaudeville and movies.   

4.) Andy Karl, Rocky, Rocky

Remember Rocky? I felt that Rocky was under-appreciated by Broadway audiences, especially its mega-talented star, Andy Karl (although he was nominated for a Tony Award!). Rocky had a great book, a catchy score, and the show as a whole had a lot of heart. This character was an ideal role for Andy Karl to showcase his unique talent. 

5.) Alysha Umphress, Hildy, On the Town

I include Alysha Umphress as my fifth favorite performance for three reasons. First, I had no idea who she was before I saw On the Town, and now I’m a big fan. Second, she is Funny with a capital F. Lastly, her riffing is insane. I rest my case. 

Goodbye to 2014 and Hello to many more enjoyable theatre performances in 2015!  Happy New Year, everyone! 

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