With the marvelous Marisa Tomei in midlife crisis mommy mode, Sarah Ruhl wed poetry and polyamory in her surreal drama about two married straight couples shaken after a dinner party turned into a pansexual orgy fueled by hash brownies. As an enigmatic young huntress in a throuple with two boyfriends, Hedwig and the Angry Inch’s Lena Hall was a enchanting reminder that we’re all just animals.
Lincoln Center Theater’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre, closed.
Queer actor Anna Martine Freeman was luminous in this Olivier-winning import as Fiona, who comes out as trans and begins living as a man, leaving his gobsmacked girlfriend — who just decided to come out to her parents — to question her lesbian identity. But instead of cisplaining gender expression, playwright Jon Brittain was more interested in constructing a rich relationship drama with a twist.
59E59 Theatres, closed.
8. Gently Down the Stream
Bent playwright Martin Sherman returned with another unexpected love story. Directed by Sean Mathias, who helmed the Bent film, this poignant world premiere tracked the evolving relationship between pianist Beau (Harvey Fierstein) and Rufus (Gabriel Ebert), a lawyer more than 30 years his junior. Gazing through that age gap, Sherman explored the triumphs and tragedies of the gay community.
Public Theater, closed.
7. The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias
Referencing a Wikipedia entry about a mythological abduction by Roman warriors, playwright Michael Yates Crowley somehow pulled off a quirky, unflinching satire about rape culture. Shining through the symbolism, Susannah Perkins gave an indelibly fearless performance as Grace, an awkward teen raped by her crush on the football team — also an object of lust for his closeted alpha teammate.
Playwrights Realm at Duke on 42nd Street, closed.
6. Torch Song
Michael Urie, never better, headlined the stirring 35th anniversary revival of Harvey Fierstein’s seminal play Torch Song Trilogy, newly streamlined and renamed Torch Song. Under Moisés Kaufman’s knowing direction, the Ugly Betty alum filled Fierstein’s big stilettos as Arnold, a Jewish drag performer in 1979 New York with a complicated love life and a reproachful mother played by Mercedes Ruehl.
Second Stage Theater, closed.
5. The Treasurer
In Max Posner’s memory play, exquisitely acted and shrewdly directed by David Cromer, an adult son (Peter Friedman) thinks he’s damned because he doesn’t love his mother (Deanna Dunagan); placed in charge of her finances, he resents the lonely, dementia-stricken widow’s careless spending for the sake of human connection. Pun Bandhu made a brief but haunting appearance as a suicidal gay man.
Playwrights Horizons, closed.
4. Harry Clarke
Clearly having a blast, Billy Crudup is an irresistible raconteur in gay monologist David Cale’s enthralling solo show about an unassuming Midwesterner who assumes the fictional persona of cocky Londoner Harry Clarke, a smooth operator who worked for Sade. It’s this louche alter ego that helps him seduce a handsome stranger, an addict struggling with his sexuality, and infiltrate his wealthy family.
Vineyard Theatre, through December 23.
In gay playwright Philip Dawkins’s fierce fact-based drama, enriched by trans director Will Davis, Sandra Caldwell dazzled as Mama Darleena, a 67-year-old trans woman teaching an etiquette class at a Chicago LGBT community center. While our flawed, ailing heroine tried to comprehend nonbinary identities, audiences learned the benefit of getting genderqueer actors to portray genderqueer characters.
MCC at Lucille Lortel Theatre, closed.
2. The Glass Menagerie
Defying text to achieve his audacious vision, naturalistic director Sam Gold stripped the Tennessee Williams memory play to its bleakest bones with a radically stark staging, masterfully gilded by out actor Joe Mantello as gay-coded narrator Tom, Sally Field as suffocating mother Amanda, disabled actress Madison Ferris as sister Laura, and American Horror Story hunk Finn Wittrock as their gentleman caller.
Belasco Theatre, closed.
1. Come From Away
Inspired by the true story of 38 flights diverted to a tiny Newfoundland town after the 9/11 attacks, David Hein and Irene Sankoff’s rousing, remarkably funny musical celebrates resilience and heroic hospitality in the face of tragedy. Led by out actress Jenn Colella as pioneering pilot Beverley Bass, the superb cast includes Chad Kimball and Caesar Samayoa as an anxious gay couple welcomed with open arms.
Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, open-ended.
Breeders (pictured above), New Light Theater Project at Access Theater; Bull in a China Shop, LCT3’s Claire Tow Theater; Daniel’s Husband, Primary Stages at Cherry Lane Theatre; Darren Brown: Secret, Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda Gross Theater; The Great American Drama, NY Neo-Futurists at A.R.T./New York; Lonely Planet, Keen Company at Clurman Theatre; Napoli, Brooklyn, Roundabout Theatre Company’s Laura Pels Theatre; Nibbler, The Amoralists at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater; Six Degrees of Separation at Ethel Barrymore Theatre; and The Town Hall Affair, The Wooster Group at Performing Garage.