Seat Filler: Best New York Theater of 2014

Motherssons Top102014 0

1. Mothers and Sons
Nurtured by Next Fall's Sheryl Kaller, this poignant and powerful drama, gay playwright Terrence McNally's 20th Broadway outing, thoughtfully explores the AIDS epidemic's enduring aftermath. Tyne Daly devastated as a grieving mother visiting her late son's former lover and his younger husband, played respectively by Frederick Weller and out actor Bobby Steggert at their very best. No one writes about AIDS anymore, huh? Good thing McNally never got the memo.
John Golden Theatre, closed.

HONORABLE MENTION:

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Bootycandy
Out actor Phillip James Brannon anchored out writer-director Robert O'Hara's audacious and uproarious satire about the sexual awakening of Sutter, a gay black man who grows up reading Jackie Collins and dressing like Michael Jackson. Stereotype-tackling sketches soured as they got grim — emotionally scarred by white guys, Sutter rapes one with a black dildo — but O'Hara milked huge laughs from a divorcing lesbian named Genitalia and a preacher in drag.

Playwrights Horizons, closed.

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Tail! Spin!
Using only their own words against them, out playwright Mario Correa shoots barreled fish with rib-tickling reenactments of the sex scandals that disgraced politicians Larry Craig, Mark Foley, Anthony Weiner, and Mark Sanford. Arnie Burton particularly humanizes Foley, whose IM exchange with an underage page provides the show's most wince-worthy moments, but SNL's Rachel Dratch earns big laughs as the wives, mistresses, beards, and Barbara Walters.

Culture Project at the Lynn Redgrave Theatre, through January 4.

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Machinal
Lyndsey Turner's remarkable revival of Sophie Treadwell's expressionist drama, in which Rebecca Hall simply killed it as convicted murderer Ruth Snyder, was so vibrant and urgent that it's hard to believe the cautionary tale was first staged in 1928. Even more shocking is the fact that it features a predatory gay man (Arnie Burton) seducing an innocent young thing (Ryan Dinning) in a speakeasy scene, but the original production probably didn't show them kissing in an alley.
Roundabout Theatre Company at the American Airlines Theatre, closed.

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Stage Kiss
In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play)'s Sarah Ruhl blurred the line between life and art, reality and make-believe, in her light but lyrical backstage comedy about ex-lovers — Nurse Jackie's Dominic Fumusa and dazzling Friends alum Jessica Hecht — cast as romantic leads in two laughably lousy plays. A big smooch for out Jack in a Box creator Michael Cyril Creighton, hysterical as an awkward gay understudy worried audiences won't buy him as straight.
Playwrights Horizons, closed.

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Gidion's Knot
Following a gifted but troubled student's suicide, a mother and a fifth-grade teacher (played with grace and gravitas by Karen Leiner and Dara O'Brien) pass blame and Kleenex in Johnna Adams's intimate drama. Stage veteran Austin Pendleton directed the tense, scab-picking parent-teacher conference — was young Gidion secretly in love with the bully writing "faggot" on his Facebook wall? — like the precarious lid on a pot of boiling water.
Good Egg at 59E59 Theaters, closed.

Revisit our top 10 LGBT-inclusive theater picks for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

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