Since Sunday is Oscar night, I thought I would include a series of posts this week about my favorite movies, music, books, and plays of 2006.

I’ll start with plays. Considering that I live in the middle of a national forest, I saw a surprising number of plays in 2006, including ones in here in Athens and in London, Oxford, and New York. Here are my top five plays of the year:

  1. Billy Elliott the Musical: PJ, my sister, and I saw it in London in July. As the title suggests, it is a musical version of the film Billy Elliott. I love the movie, so I was a bit wary of seeing the play. It was great. Elton John’s music was excellent — I especially like the number “Merry Christmas, Maggie Thatcher.” The acting was also wonderful — the actor playing Billy Elliott was fantastic! And the writer did a great job of adapting the film’s plot to the stage; I thought they did an especially good job with the grandmother. She has a great song in the first act that helps inspire Billy to dance. It’s definitely worth seeing when it comes to America.
  2. The Little Dog Laughed: Since I’ve already blogged about this play, I’ll just refer to my earlier comments. Unfortunately, this play is closing soon (if not already), but it’s really great. Apparently, it had trouble finding an audience, which is too bad. Julie White is amazing!
  3. The Seagull: We saw this in London this summer too. It starred Juliet Stephenson. She was great and the production was excellent. I was especially impressed by the set design. It was amazing, but it was also obviously difficult to arrange between scenes — the audience often had to wait a few minutes for them to rearrange everything, which wasn’t always good for the theatrical flow. But overall the production was very good.
  4. A Midsummer Night’s Dream: I hate this play, but the production we saw in the park in London this summer really made me forget that fact. I think that warrants a shout out! I especially liked that this production imagined the fairies as goth-punk kids. It really worked.
  5. Man of La Mancha: I’ve also written about this already, so I’ll refer to my previous comments again. Even though it’s a traveling company, I liked what they did. Besides, if you live in a national forest, you can’t be too picky about the theater that comes to town!

Hopefully, 2007 will be as theatrically successful as 2006 was. Whether it is or not, I’m sure I’ll write about it eventually! (P.S. The worst production I saw this year was an outdoor production of The Merchant of Venice in Oxford. It was laughably terrible!)