Among other milestones, 2010 was the year that StageGrade was officially born (after gestating for more than a year as a blog called Critic-O-Meter). Since our launch took place in April, we can't quite muster the sort of year-end top-graded-shows feature as we did last year (we switched from average to median scores around then, for one thing). Then again, the whole concept of a calendar-year-end list runs against the grain of theater season and awards schedules. Unlike movie awards, which consider films released in discrete calendar years, the Tonys, the Obies, and the rest measure a year from spring to spring, so that a look back from December considers roughly half of last season and half of the one we're in (give or take a summer).
Still, that doesn't stop theater critics (some of them, at least) from compiling year-end best lists, and in particular lists of "Top 10." We thought this mathematical rubric would give us enough pretext for some delicious numbers-crunching, and so we present to you our 2010 Meta-Top-10 List.
A word about our methodology: We combed critics' Top 10 lists (sources listed below) and assigned points according to whether they ranked shows or not: i.e., a show in the No. 1 slot on a properly ranked Top 10 list received the maximum points, while shows on unranked lists all received equal median points.
Without further ado, the consensus on the best shows in New York in 2010:
1. A View From the Bridge
2. The Merchant of Venice
3. The Scottsboro Boys
4. Clybourne Park
5. The Little Foxes
6. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (the Broadway version, which a few lists insisted on distinguishing from the Off-Broadway run)
8. Angels in America
9. La Cage Aux Folles
Interestingly, quick click-throughs on these titles will reveal that these weren't necessarily the highest-graded shows of the year.
For a good chuckle, here is John Simon's characteristically cantankerous piece on why he'll have none of this insidious list-making.
And a Happy New Year!
Sources consulted: Ben Brantley, Scott Brown, David Cote, Joe Dziemianowicz, Adam Feldman, Charles Isherwood, L Magazine, John Lahr, Charles McNulty, Matthew Murray, Aaron Riccio, David Rooney, Frank Scheck, Helen Shaw, TheaterMania, Roma Torre, Elisabeth Vincentelli, Matt Windman, Linda Winer, and Richard Zoglin