Luner on Theatre’s Favorite Theatre Moments of 2011

2011 – what a year. And what a year at theatre for that. If the world events of 2011 didn’t keep you on the edge of your seat, the theatre scene and Broadway business sure as hell did. With hands down one of the greatest years for theatre in recent memory, this year we have experienced almost everything possible on Broadway bigger and better then ever before. With the prospects for 2012 already looking strong, I had to take a moment to look back on some of my favorite theatre experiences of 2011.

When it comes to the Broadway Theatre scene, where does one even begin? Broadway shows stepped up their game this year setting records in ticket sales, attendance and the amount of money ever used to create theatre. New stories were told, old stories were reinvented and the life of the theatre continues on strong. Its honestly so hard for me to go to a Broadway show and hate it. But here were a few of my favorite moments to say the least.

Catch Me If You Can opened on Broadway in April of 2011 and had me chasing after it. A fantastic new musical by the Hairspray duo that didn’t fly with the critics flew with me personally. Filled with boat loads of talent such as Aaron Tveit (Robbed of a Tony Nomination) and Norbert Leo Butz, this tag team really brought to life a fun story on stage in a over the top Broadway musical with sexy show girls, big company numbers and tunes you just can’t resist. A major musical underrated that shuttered on Broadway. Check out my Catch Me If You Can review here.

The Book of Mormon is an obviously choice for anyone in 2011 having little buzz coming to Broadway to only later become all the buzz on Broadway. Sweeping the Tony Awards with the 14 nominations, I looked at this new musical to think “Can all the hype about this be real?”. I made my way to check out the production and found myself wrapped up in the craze like everyone else with this new original musical theatre piece. You simply won’t believe how much this show will change your life. Check out our The Book of Mormon review here.

Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark! This one is hands down the biggest surprise for the list of 2011 but the mega musical, despite major negative buzz from Luner on Theatre, ended up getting its act together in 2011. Seeing Spiderman 1.0 to only think “What in the world am I watching?”, the blockbuster musical eventually shut down, revamped and finally opened but only after breaking a few records and few actors. 187 previews and $75 million dollars later, this musical is now a solid piece running on Broadway for audiences to enjoy including me who plans to return to see this production in its newest form. Check out our Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark review and Entire Section here.

Bonnie & Clyde not only stole money and property but stole the hearts of the Broadway community finally making its way to the New York theatre scene this year to only close less then a month after officially opening. The new stellar Broadway production was robbed of the chance of audiences experiencing an epic tale of blood, violence, love and affection with two of America’s most famous outlaws. Featuring Broadway’s sexiest couple, Jeremy Jordan and Laura Osnes, the duo couldn’t have been more perfect for the show and each other and more talented at that. Hands down the best new musical of 2011! Check out our Bonnie & Clyde review here.

Lysistrata Jones came to Broadway in a new dressed up form and won over my heart in potentially the weirdest way possible. A brand new musical, loosely based off the Greek comedy Lysistrata, this new musical not only reinvented a classic tale but did so in a hilarious 21st century matter that makes assures one that the life of theatre goes on. Even if we can’t invent new stories, we can take old ones, twist up a good new story around it and turn it into a hit. The musical featured pop Broadway music and definitely stands right now on Broadway as the biggest underdog. If you’re looking for a show to see on Broadway, this is the one. Check out our Lysistrata Jones review here.

The Tony Awards are always a special night for Broadway theatre. However, this year the 2011 Tony Awards proved just how good theatre can be. Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, the awards show was hands down the best it had been in years with opening numbers, never ending jokes at shows and closing with a rap? Yup. This year’s Tony Awards showed theatre at its finest and had the audience taking in a business that knows how to put on a great show. Click here to check out The Tony Awards Opening Number, Closing Number, Spiderman Jokes and more misbehaving.

Being a college student at Wagner College, I am so fortunate to work each year with the Wagner College Theatre department on multiple productions each semester. This past year, I was able to enjoy working on such productions as Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Seussical the Musical and Jesus Christ Superstar as well as helping out with all productions however possible through working for the theatre department. Wagner College also has a huge variety of student productions that take place each year. I enjoyed being able to check out CSP’s Hair, SRMT’s Next to Normal and working on my first ever student production of High Fidelity.

I have the honor each summer being able to work at Upper Darby Summer Stage. A theatre program in the suburbs of Philadelphia that each summer is home to over 700 kids performing theatre in 6 children theatre productions, 1 main stage Broadway musical, a night of one acts, a dance troupe and cabaret performance as well as multiple other programs. And while Summer Stage is nothing new to me, this summer shinned especially bright in my heart being able to work in almost every aspect of the program. I rocked out with Disney’s Camp Rock to find myself a week later in China with Disney’s Mulan Jr. I traveled through the wardrobe with Narnia and met up with my old friends the Rugrats in a live adventure. I experienced the beauty of The Secret Garden to only have to fear for my life from dinosaurs in The Dinosaur Musical a week later. And while doing all that was able to enjoy the incredible Titanic which set sail into the hearts of so many summer stagers. This program is a gift and always one of my top theatre experiences in a year no matter what year that may be.

I found myself enjoying theatre this year more then ever and really living more with each theatrical experience I had. Productions got better and better not only on Broadway but with college, student, high school and community productions. Theatre is only getting better and better. And why of course we have a bad show every once in a while, we have to! I mean, what else would we have to make fun of at the Tony Awards? 2012 is already starting to look bright with theatre possibilities and I honestly couldn’t be more excited. I hope everyone gets the chance to experience some form of theatre in 2012 and experience why it is I love this art form so much. Theatre is unlike anything else on this planet. And I think to fully understand that, you have to experience it. 

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