Waves of Faves

Thirty-Three New York Theater Types Offer Up Their Favorite Productions From the 1999–2000 Season

John Guare A Streetcar Named Desire
"Ivo van Hove took a play I thought could only be done in pale imitations of Brando and Vivian Leigh—in each production the Xerox getting lighter and lighter—and suddenly made it brand-new. A fantastic reading of a great play that restored it to its eternal freshness."

Ellen McLaughlin Another Telepathic Thing
"What I loved about it was its refusal to settle into a single interpretive framework. Annie-B Parson's work is always frankly idiosyncratic and yet never coy. She also uses some of the most interesting and intelligent performers in New York."

Bob McGrath North Atlantic
"The Wooster Group and Elizabeth LeCompte, the work is so unique and so singular and so thorough. All the aspects—from the performances to the sound to the look of it to the lights—you just can't touch it."

Loretta Greco Mythos
"Eugenio Barba and Odin Teatret wove the wake of this young Brazilian revolutionary with all of these famous protagonists—Daedalus, Medea, Oedipus. Viscerally, it was one of the most engaging, mind-boggling, thrilling productions. The company used at least eight different languages and had this incredibly muscular physical and gestural vocabulary."

Richard Foreman Pageant
"The most original work I've seen over the past 12 months was a delirious work in progress by Ken Nintzel entitled Pageant. Against ecstatic music, a horde of cockeyed saints with cardboard wings went through a variety of ecstatic and ludicrous changes. It pushed the envelope."

David Lindsay-Abaire The Waverly Gallery
"Beautifully written, painfully funny, harrowing and genuine. Eileen Heckart kicked me where it counts. I could spend a week watching that lady fold napkins, she's so committed."

Elyse Singer A Streetcar Named Desire
"It was such a passionate and provocative production, each element of character stripped down to its essence. And it revealed things I'd never before seen in the play. The experience of watching Blanche slide, fully dressed, headfirst into the bathtub has stayed with me."

Dylan Baker Fuddy Meers
"Watching J. Smith-Cameron puzzle her way through made me laugh and cry. Mary Louise-Burke's, Patrick Breen's, and Mark McKinney's performances are some I'll never forget."

David Herskovits Bad Boy Nietzsche!
"Each of Foreman's plays is such a distinct experience, and this one was uniquely poignant and personal. Mixing memory and desire like this wrecks my ship, and I love that desperate grasping for the toys of the past. Plus lots of people took off their clothes."

Ruth Maleczech Jennifer Miller and Circus Amok
"I like the public nature of the work, that it's free, that it takes place in the open air. A very inclusive kind of performing. Jennifer Miller is marvelous."

Jerry Tallmer Extreme Girl
"Beauty counts for something in this world, after all, and when you combine extreme beauty with sharp wit and high talent you get—well, you get Barbara Blackburn, whose Extreme Girl denotations . . . went brilliantly to prove that a woman is a terrible thing to waste."

Basil Twist Shockheaded Peter
"There was a tone and a quality about the show, particularly in the performances, that was just so much fun. I don't know what other word to put on it. It could have been ridiculous—or awful, even—but it was just fun."

Nilo Cruz Enter the Night
"I love the structure of the play. And the silent scene where the characters mime the silent film, I'd never seen anything like it."

Joanne Akalaitis Waste
"It was fun to see a play I'd never read, and to see a play with powerful actors talking about ideas and politics. A delight."

Josh Hamilton A Streetcar Named Desire
"I get blown away by things that are so different from what I do. I think, 'How did they do that?' That's how I felt with Streetcar. Ivo van Hove took away the behavioralism and the naturalism and the onus to make things realistic. Deconstruction, when it's done well, can be really exciting."

J. Smith-Cameron The Waverly Gallery
"I'm talking about my fiancé [Kenneth Lonergan], I know, but that was my favorite play on or off Broadway. It's about aging and mortality, and people put their defenses up about those topics. So it really takes artistry to draw people in and make them listen. It sneaks up on you because it's funny. And suddenly you're devastated."

Richard Maxwell Rhymes With Adventure
"Assembled by Ford Wright, it combines the best elements of Dungeons & Dragons medieval adventure role-playing with high school speech competitions. And it's done in song. With ridiculous and fantastic medieval costumes. And faux chain mail."

Daniel Aukin The Bomb-itty of Errors
"One of the most juicily entertaining and surprising nights I've had at the theater in a long time. Deeply witty. I just sat at the show from beginning to end and was totally entertained."

Mark Russell Charlie Victor Romeo
"It was such a lean, economical, and powerful performance. One of those ideas that is very simple, but they did it so well—with great taste, consideration, and focus."

Jessica Hagedorn In the Blood
"Because it was so smart and so fierce and so clear, and I thought what Suzan-Lori Parks did with The Scarlet Letter and the letter A was really marvelous, just the simplicity of it all. Very moving, very funny, very sharp."

Eduardo Machado Oedipus Rex
"The open rehearsal at the Actors Studio starred Al Pacino, Dianne Wiest, and David Strathairn. Watching Al, Dianne, and Dave rehearse was better than watching most people perform."

Kenneth Lonergan Fuddy Meers
"I probably saw it 10 times and never got tired of it ever. I thought it was so inventive and so funny and so moving. I love what David Lindsay-Abaire does with language, he has such an inexhaustible font of inventiveness."

Rome Neal Jitney
"A wonderful play, great direction, lively, wonderful ensemble work. And the language of August Wilson captures the humanity and complexity of his characters very well. It's just hilarious and sad and a strong piece of work."

Daphne Rubin-Vega The Wild Party(MTC)
"I loved the story and I thought it was well directed. Wonderful performances, especially by Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel, though I'm partial. The entire cast was incredibly united and enthusiastic and just pulsating."

Bill Talen (a/k/a The Reverend Billy) Lullaby
"I saw it at Snug Harbor, where performer Trajal Harrell had residency. The performance of his troupe, it told stories so specifically and evocatively: stories of longing and of driving and of loving, heavily lit and costumed vignettes of nocturnal hopes."

Cynthia Nixon Dirty Blonde
"From the moment I walked in and saw that gorgeous set with all that pink and Mae West's flirtatious eyes blown up huge, I knew I would love it. I didn't know that in addition to the story I had come to see—West's gutsy showbiz rise and fall—there would be a painfully tentative present-day love story. And of course Claudia Shear's rendition of Mae West was mind-blowing."

Tony Torn Rodan
"It was created by Radiohole, a collective of four artists, in a loft in Williamsburg. Opening night was extremely disoriented and confused. It was theater done in a kitchen sink and it was wonderful, a new aesthetic, withdrawn from every sort of commercialism—completely creative, free-form, funny, intimate."

Tim Sanford In the Blood
"The development of Suzan-Lori Parks, how her narrative voice and strength of character are building—in addition to her epic vision and sense of language—is very impressive. For such a meaty dramatic tragic piece, it was so ceaselessly human and moving and inventive. And the central performance just knocked my socks off."

Jessica Goldberg The Year of the Baby
"It was nice to see something so big and full that was so simple. Just so honest and really special. I loved the cast—the kids were amazing. And the gynecology scene was incredible."

Steven Rattazzi Inky
"Rinne Groff is a totally new and original voice in playwriting. Astonishingly powerful. Rinne's roots are so varied and she's so smart. She's a great breeding ground of the traditional and the experimental."

Lola Pashalinski Moonlodge
"This one-woman piece, written and performed by Margo Kane, moved me so much with its purity and honesty. In tracing the life of a dispossessed young woman, Kane made palpable the deepest meaning in the idea of home."

Richard Greenberg The Altruists
"Nicky Silver found, I thought, a simple but effective farce structure. I really admire it. Ostensibly a satire of political commitment, the play's real subject, as is always the case with Nicky's plays, is heartbreak."

Jim Findlay The Florida Project
"I thought Tory Vazquez was working on a new level. She's beginning to create a style that is uniquely her own—she did it with a fish tank and a tarp. I also have a soft spot for Florida—I'm from Florida, too."


Complete Coverage of the 45th Annual Village Voice OBIE Awards

View the List of Winners

The Wild Party 3 by Michael Musto

Hamlet, Vegas, and a Big Black Box by Charles McNulty
On the occasion of the 45th Obie Awards, the Voice's Charles McNulty sat down with four theater directors—Graciela Daniele, Brian Kulick, Marianne Weems, and Evan Yionoulis—to hash out the state of their art here at the start of the 21st century


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