Thursday, November 13, 2014

Most Produced Plays This Season

American Theatre magazine came out with their list of “American Theatre’s Top 10 Most-Produced Plays Of 2014-15 (Actually 11 because of ties).”

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang: 27**
Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley: 10
Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon: 8***
Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz: 8****
Around the World in 80 Days adapted from the novel by Jules Verne: 7(note, 6 for the Mark Brown adaptation and 1 for the Toby Hulse adaptation)
Peter and the Starcatcher adapted by Rick Elice from Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson: 7
The Whipping Man by Matthew Lopez: 7
Tribes by Nina Raine: 7*****
4000 Miles by Amy Herzog: 6
Into the Woods, book by James Lapine, music and lyricsby Stephen Sondheim: 6
Venus in Fur by David Ives: 6
*American Theatre omits Shakespeare productions and holiday-themed shows A Christmas Carol and Santaland Diaries from the list. But if you really want to know, this season, Christmas Carol is getting 46 productions, Santaland Diaries is getting 8 productions and the most-produced Shakespeare plays are A Midsummer Night’s Dream (10) and Romeo and Juliet (8).
**Christopher Durang’s Chekhovian Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike made the Top 10 list last year in eighth place, with 11 productions. That list, plus a 2013 best-play Tony Award, was apparently enough to propel Durang’s play to the top this year.
***American Theatre has printed the complete playscript to two of the Top 10 plays—Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon and 4000 Miles by Amy Herzog. We’re not saying we’re arbiters of not-for-profit theatre tastes, but…
****This marks the third year in a row that Jon Robin Baitz and Matthew Lopez and their plays (Other Desert Cities and The Whipping Man, respectively) have made the Top 10 list. Congratulations on those royalty checks, guys!
*****It seems last year’s female-packed Top 10 list was a temporary trend (last year, women made up half the list). The male/female ratio of this year’s list is 8:2.
This information is tallied from 404 theatres that self-reported their season to us. There were 1,876 entries that credited a playwright and/or a composer, and all productions are playing from Oct. 1, 2014, to Sept. 30, 2015. For the numbers from past Top 10 lists, click here

We have seen 9 of the 11 listed plays in the last couple years. Apparently no theatre in the San Francisco Bay Area is currently scheduled to do “Outside Mullingar” by John Patrick Shanley. “Around the World in 80 Days” which was the other play we have not seen was last done in 2008 by the now defunct San Jose Repertory Theatre.

Outside Mullingar” was just on Broadway stage this past winter. It featured Debra Messing in her Broadway debut. Synopsis of the show: “Anthony and Rosemary are two introverted misfits straddling 40. Anthony has spent his entire life on a cattle farm in rural Ireland. Rosemary lives right next door, determined to have him, watching the years slip away. With Anthony’s father threatening to disinherit him and a land feud simmering between their families, Rosemary has every reason to fear romantic catastrophe.”

All 9 of the above plays that we have seen, we highly recommend them. We have even seen 3 of them (Peter and the Starcatcher, Tribes and Into the Woods) twice done by different theatres.

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