Around this time of year, I'm asked what my favorite show of the previous year was and what I'm most looking forward to in 2015. It's a little hard for me because I tend to think more in terms of Tony Awards seasons and less in terms of calendar years. That said, "favorite show" is not "favorite new show;" it is really "favorite show open in 2014," which is easier. Mine are very clear for this past calender year.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is my favorite Broadway play in many years, so it definitely tops 2014. I am often nervous going into highly-hyped productions from overseas; I very rarely leave thinking they were worth the build-up. While Curious Incident isn't perfect, it's pretty genius. It is truly a stunning work of theatrical craftsmanship.
Matilda remains my top musical. I am clearly all about special children. There are plenty of other musicals that I like and recommend to people. But Matilda remains my favorite. Part of that is what is onstage, much of which I think is clever. Part of that is my feeling that Matilda really can inspire young theatergoers. Late last year, over 300 NYC public school students were invited to a presentation of the musical. They were then asked to write a scene or song inspired by the show, with classroom guidance by teachers trained by the Royal Shakespeare Company in the "Write Here, Write Now" program. Some of these scenes were eventually performed onstage at the Shubert by members of the Matilda cast. How cool is that? The show is too scary for young children -- who I send to the entertaining Aladdin -- but for children of the right age, it's great.
What I'm looking forward to in 2015 is a tougher question. There is so much coming up that I want to keep an open mind. Two Broadway shows are opening this week alone. Next fall is also very up-in-the-air. Right now I am excited for my trip to see Gigi and Diner and am curious about some of the readings and workshops I'll be seeing in the next couple of months. I won't look beyond that for a while.