Seat Filler: Best New York Theater of 2013
BY Brandon Voss
December 19 2013 4:55 AM ET
7. A Kid Like Jake
As a conflicted mother, Carla Gugino illuminated Daniel Pearle's intelligent, engrossing play about frazzled parents struggling to make sense of their gender-nonconformist four-year-old son — cleverly unseen onstage — who engages in "gender variant play" rooted in a passion for Disney princesses. While applying to Manhattan's exclusive private schools, tensions flare after a trusted preschool advisor suggests they highlight rather than hide what makes Jake special.
LCT3's Claire Tow Theater, closed.
6. Choir Boy
In addition to lingering locker-room scenes, glorious gospel music elevated out playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney's praiseworthy drama set in a prestigious boarding school for black men. Jeremy Pope dazzled as Pharus, a passionate, provocative choir leader whose limp-wristed loquaciousness invites homophobic taunts and puts him at odds with his headmaster. OMGlee! Recalling Tea and Sympathy, Pharus finds tenderness — and the occasional titillation — from his hot roomie.
Manhattan Theatre Club's Studio at Stage II, closed.
5. Kinky Boots
Based on the 2005 film about Lola, a drag queen who saves a shoe factory, Harvey Fierstein's crowd-pleasing musical isn't just an excuse for flashy drag numbers — although, choreographed by Broadway Bares creator Jerry Mitchell, they are sickening. According to composer-lyricist Cyndi Lauper, "Sex Is in the Heel," but this show's strength is in its heart; as Lola, who's dealing with a bully and daddy issues, out star Billy Porter is actually most affecting without makeup.
Hirschfeld Theatre, open-ended.