10. Wild With Happy
Big Gay Sketch Show alum Colman Domingo shone as both playwright and star of this very funny and fanciful semiautobiographical story of loss. Domingo was a hoot as prickly, guilt-ridden Gil, a struggling gay actor who, while coping with the death of his mother, winds up on an ultimately sentimental road trip to Disney World with his flirty funeral director, his outrageously animated aunt Glo, and a scene-stealing Maurice McRae as his flamboyant best friend.
Public Theater, closed.
9. End of the Rainbow
Tracie Bennett was an unbridled force, a tornado of tragedy, as she eerily, exhilaratingly inhabited Judy Garland in Peter Quilter’s lean but powerful bio-drama about the performer’s drug-addled decline during her 1968 London comeback concerts. Accompanied by her enabling young fiancé, Garland was also bolstered by a sobering Michael Cumpsty as her pianist and confidant, a gentle Scot symbolizing all gay men who love their Judy tortured.
Belasco Theatre, closed.
8. The Lyons
A patriarch’s death propelled this swift, satisfying dysfunctional family comedy about human disconnection by gay playwright Nicky Silver. With priceless reactions and line readings, Linda Lavin milked every possible laugh from Rita, the unappreciated mother of two emotionally damaged grown children. Michael Esper, who memorably played a gay escort in iHo, was a standout as Rita’s awkward gay son, a bitter loner obsessed with his hunky gay neighbor (Gregory Wooddell).
Cort Theatre, closed.