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Friday, December 29, 2017

Ten Best Theatre Productions of 2017

By Patrick Maley For NJ Advance Media

McCarter offered up its best production of the season

Since we were limited this year in the number of plays we were able to review,  in fairness we’ve omitted our NJ Footlights Awards for this year.

However, Patrick Maley the theater reviewer for Star Ledger/ Advance Media has published his picks for the top ten. Please read his complete article.


“Let black women lead the way: that's the lesson from 2017 in New Jersey theater.

Not only did productions of black female playwrights provide the best work in state theaters this year, but the clear high point of the year came from an all-female artistic team.

While there is still certainly much room to spread the net of representation and opportunity more widely in New Jersey theaters, 2017 proved that an investment in the work and stories of underrepresented voices brings with it renewed vigor and urgency. Even the best Shakespeare of the year was made great not by its white male title character, but by the superb Shylock and stellar Jessica.

New Jersey's best play of the year was McCarter's elegant "Intimate Apparel," directed by Jade King Carroll. Mounted by an all-female production team, Lynn Nottage's superb play sung with an evocative spirit. Quincy Tyler Bernstine crafted a deeply human Esther, the play's demanding lead, as admirable as she was heartbreaking.

McCarter offered up its best production of the season

Pulitzer-winner Lynn Nottage's delicate play "Intimate Apparel" is a shining achievement at the McCarter in Princeton

The McCarter was also the location of another great story of an ambitious, long-enduring woman, Bedlam's "Saint Joan," directed by Eric Tucker and starring the powerful Andrus Nichols. This show was as stellar in Princeton as it was in much smaller New York spaces.


In Red Bank, a classic of American theater penned by a black radical feminist shined with a fresh light. Two River's production of Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun" featured astute direction by Carl Cofield and arresting performances by Brandon J. Dirden, Crystal A. Dickinson, and Brenda Pressley (who was also excellent in the cast of "Intimate Apparel").


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