2015 began with Constellations, opening Jan. 13, and came to an end with Fiddler on the Roof, opening on Dec. 20. Here are the top 5 theatrical moments that had the theatre world a-buzz in 2015.
5. Accessibility in Theatre
This September, Broadway was abuzz with the revival of “Spring Awakening”. This production was an outstanding revival of the 2006 musical, reimagined by Deaf West Theater, a company dedicated to providing “exposure and access to professional theatre, filling a void for deaf artists and audiences.” [DWT Mission Statement] Integrating ASL into their choreography and with a cast of both Deaf and hearing actors and actors with disabilities, Spring Awakening brought a new level of meaning to the musical. Hopefully we continue to see diversity of this kind in casting.
4. Patti LuPone, 2; Cell Phones, 0
In 2009, Patti LuPone stopped in the middle of a performance of Gypsy to berate an audience member who had chosen to disregard all rules and take photos on their phone during the show. “Stop taking pictures right now!” she yelled as she waiting for house management to remove the audience member.
(You can listen to the event here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WruzPfJ9Rys )
During the July 8th performance of Shows for Days, LuPone once again took her revenge on a cell-phone-using-theatregoer. A young lady in the front row was texting. Patti LuPone snatched the phone out of the stunned theatregoer’s mitts and walked offstage. The event made national headlines and she issued a statement: “We work hard on stage to create a world that is being totally destroyed by a few, rude, self-absorbed and inconsiderate audience members who are controlled by their phones… I am so defeated by this issue that I seriously question whether I want to work on stage anymore.”
3. Fun Home Sweeps the Tonys
With Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Book of a Musical, Best Direction of a Musical Fun Home was Broadway’s shining star at the beginning of 2015.
2. Women Triumph at the Tonys
Every few years, a woman in theatre wins a Tony outside of the usual “female actress” categories, but 2015 takes the cake in regards to women’s triumphs. Fun Home’s wins included awards for Best Book of Musical prize for Lisa Kron and a Best Original Score statue for Kron and Jeanine Tesori. Together, they were the first all-female writing team to win for a musical’s score ever. Marianne Elliott, director of the play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, won for the play. In her acceptance speech, she said, “When I was growing up, I didn’t know any female directors, I assumed you had to be a man.” Hopefully in the next few years, we will have women winning in these categories so often that it isn’t a news story.
Lin Manuel Miranda’s smash hit about America’s “ten dollar founding father” opened February 17th at the Public Theatre and the world will never be the same. It’s popularity exploded and moved to the Richard Rogers Broadway theatre on August 6th. With tickets almost completely sold out until July 2016, Hamilton is sure to be making waves on Broadway for the next several years.