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Monday, January 2, 2017

The Grooviest Theater, Music & Comedy of 2016

Here are my theatrical favorites of 2016 in order of preference:

6) End of the Rainbow
Angela Ingersoll's heartbreaking portrayal of Judy Garland in the Porchlight Music Theatre production was one of the best performances I saw last year (click here to read my review).

5) Company
I always enjoy seeing a production of this Stephen Sondheim musical, and Writers Theatre gave us a great one last summer featuring a charismatic Thom Miller in the lead role (click here to read my review).

4) War Paint
This new musical about rival cosmetic icons Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden debuted last summer at the Goodman Theatre and, of course, I thoroughly enjoyed the lead performances of Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole (click here to purchase tickets to the show, which begins Broadway previews on March 7).

3) Hamilton
So I saw this show in Chicago in October - and I liked it. Not many people are talking about it, which is a shame since it's definitely worth seeing.

2) Wonderful Town
I had a smile on my face from beginning to end while watching this delightful Goodman Theatre production. Bri Sudia and Lauren Molina were beyond wonderful as sisters Ruth and Eileen Sherwood.

1) The SpongeBob Musical
I've never seen an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, so I wasn't planning to see this new musical. But I ended up going - and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved it. Hopefully the colorful characters of Bikini Bottom will find their way to Broadway this year.

Worst Show of 2016: This
Melissa James Gibson's play ends with a woman covering herself with her dead husband's ashes and then apologizing to her sleeping nine-year-old daughter for being such a bad mother. This final scene certainly stayed with me - but not in a good way - and the rest of This wasn't much better.

And below are my favorite music and comedy performances of 2016:

Grooviest Concert: Chris Isaak

Grooviest Concert Runner-Up: Manhattan Transfer & Take 6

Grooviest Comedy Performance: Paula Poundstone (I could go see her every week)

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