Friday, December 11, 2009

My Favorite Musicals of the '00s

The main list of this category covers only newly created stage musicals of the '00s (not movies), and I am only including ones I saw, although that was most of the major ones, whether on Broadway, in London or in Chicago as a touring or local professional production.

Revivals are ineligible (although I follow the main list with a ranking of local musical productions of any type) and while there may be some fudge factor about eligibility if this were any kind of officious ranking--e.g. Mamma Mia opened in London in 1999, but didn't play in America or hit Broadway until this decade; Bat Boy was created in 1997 but didn't hit off-Broadway until 2001 and the London production that I saw and enjoyed opened in 2004, etc.--if it's on my list, I've obviously counted it as chronologically eligible.

Finally, any level (from Broadway to a one-time regional run) or type (including those based on old movie musicals or using old pop songs) are equally eligible for the purposes of my list below, of...

Favorite New Musicals of the '00s:

1. The Producers - I saw it 11 times--beginning with its pre-Broadway Chicago run in 2001--and though the Nathan Lane/Matthew Broderick original cast was by far the best, it's held up well even as it's made it's way to the local level.
2. Avenue Q
3. Hairspray
4. Wicked
5. The Visit - This Kander & Ebb musical has still only had two runs, 2001 at Chicago's Goodman Theatre and 2008 at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA. I saw and loved both productions (both starring Chita Rivera) and don't know why it hasn't hit Broadway.
6. Spring Awakening
7. Billy Elliot
8. Legally Blonde
9. Bat Boy

10. In the Heights

Honorable Mention:

Mary Poppins
Adding Machine - debuted in Evanston and played off-Broadway
Mamma Mia
Jersey Boys
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Caroline, or Change
Million Dollar Quartet
Bounce - A Sondheim creation that debuted at the Goodman and has morphed into Road Show, still yet to hit Broadway
Thoroughly Modern Millie

The Drowsy Chaperone

...Tick, Tick, Boom

The Best Local (non-touring) Musical Productions of Any Type
(*if show was newly created at theatre cited; **if a show from this decade; the rest were productions of older shows)

1. Pacific Overtures - Chicago Shakespeare Theatre Studio
2. Les Miserables - Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire

3. Fiorello - Timeline Theatre (Chicago)

4. The Visit* - Goodman Theatre (Chicago)

5. Adding Machine* - Next Theatre (Evanston)

6. A Little Night Music - Chicago Shakespeare Theatre Studio

7. Million Dollar Quartet* - Goodman Theatre

8. Dangerous Beauty* - American Musical Theatre Project, Northwestern U.

9. Caroline, or Change** - Court Theatre (Chicago)
10. Bounce* - Goodman Theatre

Honorable Mention:

My Fair Lady - Court Theatre (Chicago)
Passion - Chicago Shakespeare Theatre Studio

A Little Night Music - Light Opera Works (Evanston)

The Who's Tommy - Circle Theatre (Forest Park)

Floyd & Clea Under the Western Sky* - Goodman Theatre

The Hunchback of Notre Dame* - Bailiwick Theatre (Chicago)

Sunday in the Park with George - Chicago Shakespeare Theatre Studio

Cabaret - Drury Lane Oakbrook

The Producers** - Theatre at the Center (Munster, IN)
A Man of No Importance** - Apple Tree Theatre (Highland Park)

Parade - Bailiwick Theatre (Chicago)

Ragtime - Light Opera Works (Evanston)

Man of La Mancha - Court Theatre (Chicago)

West Side Story - Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire

Cats - Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire

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