Favorite Plays

I’m going to come back to this thread, I’m sure, when I get home and look at my books, but here’s an impromptu list of my favorite things to read, watch, and/or act in.

Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and The Illusion by Tony Kushner
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard
Betrayal by Harold Pinter
Savages, Treats, and The Philanthropist by Christopher Hampton
Antigone by Jean Anouilh
True West by Sam Shepard
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams
All in the Timing by David Ives
Jeffrey by Paul Rudnick
Beyond Therapy by Christopher Durang
Here by Michael Frayn
Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley
Otherwise Engaged and Butley by Simon Gray
Van Gogh/Gauguin by Johnny Simons
Five Guys Named Moe by Clarke Peters
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged by The RSC

Hmm, looking back, the list is disturbingly dominated by white guys. And, for the most part, British white guys or gay white guys. :smiley: That’s the history of theater for you, I suppose…anyway, I haven’t acted for two years, so I’m probably not up on the latest playwrights.

How 'bout the rest of you? Favorite plays?

My wife and I saw a few plays at the Shakespeare Theatre in DC the last few years. Enjoyed them all. They were:

[li]Othello, starring Patrick Stewart[/li][li]Peer Gynt[/li][li]Merry Wives of Windsor[/li][li]Sweet Bird of Youth[/li][/ul]

Also, I like musicals:
[li]Oliver[/li][li]The Sound of Music[/li][li]West Side Story[/li][li]Brigadoon[/li][/ul]

Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel
Blue Man Group (I haven’t seen it yet but the music is great so I’m looking forward to it)
The Tempest Shakespeare
Godbaby A local Chicgo production-I cried with laughter

I’m sure I’ll think of more, but I’ve got to make dinner now…

A Streetcar Named Desire By Tennesse Williams

The Glass Menagerie by Tennesse Williams

He rocks!!

I’ve been in a Shakespeare Ensemble nd a Gradate Engineering Student group. My favorites:

“A Man for All Seasons” by Robert Bolt. Bolt’s one of my favorite screenwriters, too (Man for all Seasons, Dr. Zhivago, Lawrene of Arabia, The Mission, The Bounty…), but his stage plays are ver different - AMFAS on stage is a vastly different experience, and a lot of his plays never becam movies (“Vivat! Vivat Regina!” about Elizabeth I, “State of Revolution” about Lenin)

“Sleuth” by Anthony Shaeffer (He, too, was a screenwriter, adapting Sleuth fo the screen and writing Hitchcock’s “Frenzy”. But “Sleuth” on stage was better – I don’t want to give it away, but there are things you can do in a play that you can’t d in the movies.)

“Amadeus” by Peter Shaeffer, Anthony’s brother. The stage version is so cmpletely different from the movie that they’re really two different stories. I much prefer the play. I also loved “Equus” and “The Royal Hunt of the Sun” by Shaeffer.(A lot of people made the mistake f thinking that “Amadeus” was meant to be a historicall accurate life of Mzart and Saieri. It wasn’t. Shaeffer’s plays are all inspired by historical events, but he doesn’t disguise the fact that he liberally twists facts. His plays are really about God and Man. That’s why the play is called “Amadeus”, and not “Mozart”, or even “Salieri”. “Th Royal Hunt of the Sun” takes the same liberties with the story of Pizarro and Atahuallpa, nd “Equus” isn’t about the real case where a stable boy blinded the horses in his care.)

“Macbeth” and “The Tempest” by William Shakeseare
“1776” by Peter Stone and Sherman Edwards. I love musicals, but I like “1776” because its music has never been played as Easy Listening". Stone, too is a gifted screenwriter (I think that “Charade” and “Mirage” are masterpieces). He also wrote the “book” for the recent musical “Titanic” (which I have not seen).

“The Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Bloated, but I’ve alays had a soft spot for the original Gaston Leroux and the Lon Chaney phantom, not the acid-scarred figure of the Claude Reins/Herbert Lom/ Phantom of the Paradise bastardizations. Bsides, Mrs. Cal loves this one. I once dressed up as The Phantom (makeup and all) and serenaded her with “Music of the Night”.

“Pygmalion”, “Man and Superman”, and “Saint Joan” I love George Bernard Shaw. I like his other works, too, but I especially like these three (actually, only the “Don Jua in Hell” seqence from M&S)I was lucy enough t see a live performance of Pygmalio before I saw ANY version of My Fair Lady.

“Fiddler on the Roof” I saw it on its original Broadway run (with relacement Tevye Harry Goz), then later with Zero Mostel in revival and with Topol (after he did the movie). I know it’s schmaltzy, but it’s also very good. Bette Midler and Bert Convy and Bea Arthur starred in it during its initial Broaday run!

“Man of la Mancha” by Dale Wasserman and Mitch Leigh. So what if it cndenses an immensely thick book into an incredibly brief play. It’s wonderful stagecraft, and I like the songs. On the day I was to see Richard Kiley reprise the role, he was sick. There’s a record album of Jim Nabors (yes!), Marilyn Horne, and Jack Gilford performing the lead roles (they never did it on stage – only on record) which I love.

I have a host of favorites, but I’ll nominate "Da’ " by Hugh Leonard.

I grant you, your enjoyment of this play will depend, in part, on whether you’re Irish (I am).

Barnard Hughes was playing the title role when I first saw this show on Broadway, and the moment he took the stage, picked up a tea kettle, and wailed, “Jayzus, Mary and Joseph, that’s hot,” I was hooked. The characterizations were dead-on… for a few hours, it was as if my grandparents had been resurrected and were on stage in front of me.

I’m reading “Art” by Yasmina Reza right now; it’s next to be done at a local theatre. (I didn’t think I would like it, but it’s really good.)

In addition to most of the ones already mentions (especially A Man For All Seasons):
(Short list, off the top of my head)
Henry V
Six Characters in Search of an Author
(did I spell that right?)
A Doll’s House

I read Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde before seeing it. Very powerful; I highly recommend it. It’s fun watching macho high school students trying to wipe away a tear without anyone noticing.

Another local company did an adaptation of Moby Dick - for the most part, very well adapted (about 2h25m with a 15 minute intermission) and excellent reviews (I read them after I see the show). A couple minor “Hanh?!” moments, but other than that, quite well done. I’ll see if I can find the playwright’s name.

CalMeacham - Fiddler on the Roof is playing this week with Theodore Bikel. Trying desperatly to get a ticket for Saturday afternoon, but that may not be possible. If I get to go, I’ll think of you.

I adore Rosencrantz and Guildernstern Are Dead, as well as Arcadia, by Tom Stoppard. (I’ve been asking for the movie version of the former for years, but my mom hasn’t been able to find a copy. :frowning: )

I’m also a big fan of anything Shakespeare, but I’m especially fond of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as that was the first Shakespearean play I was exposed to.

Ibsen’s Ghosts was also good.

To read - The Crucible.
To see - Anything by Andrew Lloyd Webber (especially Joseph), and Rent.

Believe it or not, my absolute favorite is NOT Shakespeare:

The Lion in Winter

Though otherwise, it’s pretty dominated by the Bard:

Julius Caesar
Richard II, Richard III, Henry IV (both parts), V and VI (all parts)–I’m an English History fan, OK?
Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
Titus Andronicus

[sub]OK, I’m just kidding about the last one[/sub]


Bang the Drum Slowly
Damn Yankees
Kiss Me Kate (This last I saw for the first time on Thanksgiving Weekend. Thought of a certain poster here…but I don’t tell tales out of school.)
N.B.: Many, probably MOST of these I’ve seen only as teleplays.

Another Lloyd Webber person checking in.

I love Jesus Christ Superstar, Phantom of the Opera, and his latest, Beautiful Game. However, I consider EVITA to
be his best, cause on a scale of 1 to 10 for originality,
it scores about 37!

I tend to prefer musicals:

Kiss Me, Kate
My Fair Lady
Guys and Dolls
The King and I
Les Miserables
The Music Man
A Chorus Line

Straight plays:

Cyrano de Bergerac
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Henry V
Anything by Ring Lardner :wink:
The Iceman Cometh

Vampire Lesbians of Sodom by Charles Busch
Either that or Hamlet.

I forgot three:

Loot by Joe Orton (hey, he’s gay and British!)
Laughter on the 23rd Floor by Neil Simon (I’m not a big Simon fan, but this is a fantastic play)
The Duck Variations by David Mamet

I’m an actress and theatre fanatic so I’ll see just about anything. I like a lot of plays and enjoy doing critiques on them. There are only a few that I can really consider “favorites”.

Arcadia by Tom Stoppard
(serendipity! It’s nice to see someone else who knows this one!)
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard
Winter’s Tale by Shakespeare
Titus Andronicus by Shakespeare
Blythe Spirit by Noel Coward
Amadeus by Peter Shaeffer
Chairs by someone whose name escapes me

The smallest, but most fun role I have ever played was the Porter in Macbeth.

Melpomene: Is the Chairs you’re thinking of the one by Eugene Ionesco? (Two characters, an old man and an old woman) If so, that’s a great play.

Roles I would kill to play (and indeed will kill to play, if a local theater group puts these on)—

• Sadie Thompson in “Rain” (“Sadie Thompson is on her way to HELL!”)

• The Emcee in “Cabaret” (always wanted to play that role as what Sally Bowles would become in 20 years—no reason why it has to be a man!)

• Katharine in “Taming of the Shrew” (only Shakespeare I’d like to do)

• Amanda in “Private Lives”

• Sylvia in “The Women” (the Ros Russell role)

There we go! That’s his name! Thank you! :smiley:

I was just off trying to find it on the net, but doing a search for “chairs” doesn’t exactly narrow it down. :wink:

I believe Rhinoceros is his more well-known play.

That and The Bald Soprano (which is about as much an exercise in surrealism as you’re likely to find in modern theater, with written stage directions like, “The clock strikes as many times as it likes” and “The clock doesn’t strike at all”).

My favorite line from Rhinocerous happens to be one of my favorite lines, period. Keeping in mind I last read the play about five years ago, I believe it goes like this: “Do you deny the rhinocerotic evidence?” Made in reference, of course, to a rhinocerous charging through the streets of a small town, one which most people don’t bother to acknowledge. :slight_smile:

[li]Thyestes - - Seneca[/li][li]Arcadia – Tom Stoppard[/li][li]Philoktetes – Sophocles[/li][li]Hedda Gabler – Henrik Ibsen[/li][li]A Man For All Seasons – Robert Bolt[/li][li]Henry V --Shakespeare[/ul][/li]
There are plenty more, but I can’t summon them up right now.