2017 Wrap-Up: Best Shows

It’s been an embarrassment of riches on
the main stem this year and this list has been incredibly hard, and
controversial, to put together. Here are Broadway.com’s shows of the year. –The hottest
ticket of the season turned out to be worth every precious penny in your
pocket. Jerry Herman’s Hello Dolly made a triumphant return to the boards in a
gloriously old-fashioned revival. Directed by Jerry Zaks and starring the
incomparable Bette Midler leading a dream cast. There was nothing to pick apart in
this unforgettable production, which made us only prouder than ever to call
ourselves Broadway fans. –David Yazbek and Itamar Moises’ The Band’s
Visit transported audiences to a desert wasteland teeming with quirky and
likable characters. When an Egyptian police band ends up stranded in a
desolate Israeli town, surprising friendships bloom and Arabs and Israelis
find common ground. The result is a quietly charming show with a Middle
Eastern beat and a highly unusual love story at its core. –A kaleidoscope of
playful comedy, pop music, and sincere hopefulness, Spongebob Squarepants is a
musical worth worshiping. Conceived by Tina Landau, who tapped over a dozen
popular music artists like Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, and David Bowie to
contribute to the score, and anchored by Ethan Slater’s impressive performance as
the titular sponge, the show has transformed the Palace Theatre into a
deep-sea treasure trove of fun. It’s no secret that SpongeBob SquarePants is
more than a simple musical. –Let’s not forget the plays, here. A Doll’s House Part Two received 8 2017 Tony nominations, the most of any play. The entire cast garnered
nods, and Laurie Metcalf finally took home her first Tony for her performance
as Nora. Winning over critics and audiences alike,
Lucas Hnath’s skilled amusing touching and thought-provoking follow-up to its Ibsen’s
classic was a delight. –Our favorite show of 2017 opened just a few weeks before
years end. Once on this Island was a small beautiful fable of a musical when
it premiered on Broadway in 1990 but has been gloriously rethought by one of
theaters most inventive directors Michael Arden.
His stirring new staging is in the round and features junk yard costumes, dirt, fire,
and water and yes live animals, but what really made this stunner shine was it’s
heartbreaking story, which made our heart sing all over again as only a Broadway
triumph can. That’s our list! Here’s two more theater magic in 2018.


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