PJ and I saw some great productions this year. We saw plays here in Ohio, in New York City, and in London. Usually our London trip gives us the opportunity to see some great plays, but this year the works we saw there were rather weak on the whole. New York was much better. Ohio University’s School of Theater also regularly puts on interesting work.

So, here’s my annual list of favorite plays:

  1. August: Osage County. I’ve already reviewed this production from our New York trip, but I’ll reiterate here how much I enjoyed this play. It borrows a lot from other great American plays, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining. Indeed, part of the fun is listening for those echoes. I definitely want to plan a trip to Chicago sometime to see another production by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. If August is any indication of the kind of work they do, it will definitely be worth the trip!
  2. Betty’s Summer Vacation. I didn’t get a chance to blog about this OU School of Theater production of Christopher Durang’s satire on contemporary media. This website provides some interesting information about the play and Durang’s vision in writing it. I particularly liked the play’s comic satire. All of the performances in the local production were great, but one really stood out: Shelley Delaney, a faculty member in the School of Theater, starred as Mrs. Siezmagraff, the owner of the beach house that Betty and three other college-aged people rent for their vacation. Mrs. Siezmagraff is a rather off-beat character whose comic antics ultimately become kind of tragic, and Delaney played the part perfectly. It was an excellent production.
  3. Spring Awakening. We also saw this musical in New York. This is a different kind of musical; it took me a little while to warm up to it. But ultimately, I’m a sucker for musicals so I did warm up to it. Here’s my review of the plays we saw on that trip.
  4. The Seafarer. This is another play we saw in New York. I was expecting more of this play — I expected to like it even more than I did. I enjoyed it, but based on the reviews it was getting I thought it would really knock me out. It didn’t do that, but I liked it. Here’s my review of the plays we saw on that trip.
  5. The Drowsy Chaperone. This was the only London production we saw last year that I liked. It’s more a traditional musical than Spring Awakening, and I enjoyed parts of it immensely. I can’t help but put it lower on my list than SA due to its lack of boldness in depicting gayness and gay men’s love of musicals. I’ve already reviewed it too.

While I like these plays, they’re not as strong as the ones on my list from 2006. We won’t be going to London this year, and we may not make it to New York either.  However, we do hope to make a trip to the Stratford, Ontario Shakespeare Festival this summer and there are always terrific local productions to see.  So I should have theater to write about this year.

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