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Entertainment Weekly's 50 Best Plays (and 10 Greatest Musicals) Over the Past 100 Years

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NewYorkTheater
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Entertainment Weekly's latest issue has "The 100 All-Time Greatest"...movies, TV shows, music books -- and the 50 best plays -- over the past 100 years, as determined by their critics. (I don't know why it's only 50 for the plays). They didn't put this online, so I did (just the list, not their descriptions of the shows)
The top five, in order:
1. Death of A Salesman
2. A Streetcar Named Desire
3. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
4. Long Day’s Journey Into Night
5. Fences
Top 5 musicals
1. Guys and Dolls
2. Gypsy
3. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
4. Oklahoma!
5. West Side Story
The rest of the list below
The 50 Best Plays Of The Past 100 Years, According to Entertainment Weekly
blaxx Profile Photo
blaxx
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joined:6/28/05
LOL, EW.

ReNt and The Book of Mormon. I think they just Googled "Best Musical" and that's what they got.
Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE
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ACL2006
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joined:2/11/06
Haha...Guys & Dolls at #1.
A Chorus Line played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013.
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blaxx
Broadway Legend
joined:6/28/05
Oh, Guys and Dolls can be number one in most people's lists. It's a perfect show on paper.
Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE
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Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
I want to see the list but I'm not clicking on that trolls link.
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blaxx
Broadway Legend
joined:6/28/05
1. Death of A Salesman (1949) by Arthur Miller

2. A Streetcar Named Desire (1947) by Tennessee Williams

3. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962) by Edward Albee

4. Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1956) by Eugene O’Neill

5. Fences (1985) by August Wilson

6. Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes (1993-94) by Tony Kushner

7. Waiting for Godot (1953) by Samuel Beckett

8. Pygmalion (1913) by George Bernard Shaw

9. A Raisin in the Sun (1959) by Lorraine Hansberry

10. Our Town (193 by Thornton Wilder

11. Six Characters in Search of An Author (1921) by Luigi Pirandello

12. The Glass Menagerie (1944) by Tennessee Williams

13. Glengarry Glen Ross (1984) by David Mamet

14. August: Osage County (2007) by Tracy Letts

15. True West (1980) by Sam Shepard

16.The Iceman Cometh (1946) by Eugene O’Neill

17. Look Back in Anger (1956) by John Osborne

18. A View From The Bridge (1955) by Arthur Miller

19. The Little Foxes (1939) by Lillian Hellman

20. The Real Thing (1982) by Tom Stoppard

21. Master Harold and the Boys (1982) by Athol Fugard

22. The Homecoming (1965) by Harold Pinter

23. Ruined (200 by Lynn Nottage

24. Mother Courage and Her Children (1941) by Bertolt Brecht

25. Six Degrees of Separation (1990) by John Guare

26. Doubt (2004) by John Patrick Shanley

27. Top Girls (1982) by Caryl Churchill

28. Present Laughter (1942) by Noel Coward

29. Noises Off (1982) by Michael Frayn

30. Marat/Sade (1964) by Peter Weiss

31. The Lieutenant of Inishmore (2001) by Martin McDonagh

32. Machinal (192 by Sophie Treadwell

33. The Norman Conquests (1973) by Alan Ayckbourn

34. The Bald Soprano (1950) by Eugene Ionesco

35. M. Butterfly (198 by David Henry Hwang

36. The Dybbuk (1920) by S Ansky

37. Saved (1965) by Edward Bond

38. Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks

39. The Front Page (192 by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur

40. Accidental Death of an Anarchist (1970) by Dario Fo.

41. Picnic (1953) by William Inge

42. Journey’s End (192 by R.C. Sherriff

43 The Odd Couple (1965) by Neil Simon

44. The Orphans Home Cycle (1962-2009) by Horton Foote

45. The Women (1936) by Clare Boothe Luce

46. What The Butler Saw (1969) by Joe Orton

47. Awake and Sing! (1935) by Clifford Odets

48. The Piano Lesson (1987) by August Wilson

49. Uncommon Women and Others (1977) by Wendy Wasserstein

50 The Weir (1997) by Conor McPherson

The 10 Greatest Musicals, according to EW

1. Guys and Dolls

2. Gypsy

3. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

4. Oklahoma!

5. West Side Story

6. Cabaret

7. A Chorus Line

8. Rent

9. Carousel

10. The Book of Mormon
Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE
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NewYorkTheater
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Please don't call me names Jordan
broadway guy
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How the Heck did GUYS AND DOLLS beat GYPSY AND WSS? Also why is BOM on the list?

Updated On: 6/27/13 at 09:34 PM
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blaxx
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joined:6/28/05
How I wish your parents would take away your internet privileges!
Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE
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GavestonPS
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joined:6/10/12
GUYS AND DOLLS and BOOK OF MORMON, but no MY FAIR LADY, HELLO, DOLLY! or FIDDLER?

Methinks that list was not compiled by a musical theater lover. (Maybe that's why they only included 10.)

As for the plays, I've taught most of them and, while I'd rearrange the order, I think they did a pretty good job in terms of American and Western European plays. Contrary to popular conception, however, there were also great plays written in Australia, Nigeria, Japan and elsewhere.
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NewYorkTheater
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Gaveston, I'm curious about your rearrangement. What would be, say, your top 5 plays?
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blaxx
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Guys & Dolls has the perfect book, can only come under Gypsy.

Either or is superior to any others mentioned.
Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE
broadway guy
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joined:8/5/11
"GUYS AND DOLLS and BOOK OF MORMON, but no MY FAIR LADY, HELLO, DOLLY! or FIDDLER?"

My thoughts exactly.
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frontrowcentre2
Broadway Legend
joined:2/20/05
Why the "ha-ha" at GUYS AND DOLLS being #1?

Back around 2000 a critics poll was taken to choose the best musicals of the 20th Century and GUYS AND DOLLS topped that list as well. (Time Magazine did its own poll and CAROUSEL won the top position there.)

GUYS AND DOLLS still plays very well. The script it tight and balances good comedy scenes with an enjoyable romantic plot. The score is Frank Loesser at his very best. Maybe not every song became a standard but go through the cast album... every song is a gem.

I agree BOOK OF MORMON doesn't belong on the list, and neither does RENT. But at least EW resisted the temptation to put WICKED in the top 10.

Cast albums are NOT "soundtracks."
Live theatre does not use a "soundtrack." If it did, it wouldn't be live theatre!

I host a weekly one-hour radio program featuring cast album selections as well as songs by cabaret, jazz and theatre artists. The program, FRONT ROW CENTRE is heard Sundays 9 to 10 am and also Saturdays from 8 to 9 am (eastern times) on www.proudfm.com

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blaxx
Broadway Legend
joined:6/28/05
"GUYS AND DOLLS and BOOK OF MORMON, but no MY FAIR LADY, HELLO, DOLLY! or FIDDLER?"

My thoughts exactly.


You think?!
Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE
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Brave Sir Robin2
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joined:5/20/07
The fact that Book of Mormon is on the list is laughable. Especially over Into the Woods, Follies, Les Miserables, Parade, and Ragtime.
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Kelly2
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Before I read this, I said "If Carousel isn't on this list, it's not valid". So at least there's that.
"Get mad, then get over it." - Colin Powell
broadway guy
Broadway Legend
joined:8/5/11
Its interesting that not a single ALW show is on the list. Neither is Les Mis. hmmmm
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all that jazz
Broadway Legend
joined:4/5/12
Wow! Not a single ALW show...

And how could Sweeney top WSS, Cabaret, and ACL?!?

Edit: Sorry guy, I didn't saw your post.



Updated On: 6/27/13 at 09:55 PM
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blaxx
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Lord, take this tweens away from what was a perfectly fine message board.
Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE
broadway guy
Broadway Legend
joined:8/5/11
No Problem Jazz :). Completely agree about SWEENEY.
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jnb9872
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joined:11/24/08
That plays list reads like a syllabus for a (great) higher education course in Drama Literature. Really good mix of "important" plays with beautiful poetries, emotional devastations and uproarious comedies (really glad NOISES OFF and WHAT THE BUTLER SAW made the list... it's easy to forget how hard transcendant farce is to write, and those two are masterpieces every bit as deserving as a spot on that list as anything by O'Neill, Williams, or Miller.)

Also glad there's modern work represented there. Specifically DOUBT and INISHMORE, which I've studied in a classroom setting and are truly precision-engineering texts, like clockwork, they are so finely constructed there isn't an ounce of useless material.

If I complain about anything, it's missing ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD, but THE REAL THING is a fine Stoppard. I just don't hold it as dear to me as I do R&G, which would probably be in my personal Top 5.
Words don't deserve that kind of malarkey. They're innocent, neutral, precise, standing for this, describing that, meaning the other, so if you look after them you can build bridges across incomprehension and chaos. But when they get their corners knocked off, they're no good anymore…I don't think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.
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Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
Why, specifically, did they decide to do a "best of the last hundred years" in 2013?

...Was 1913 some sort of defining point in theatre that I was ignorant of?
Ed_Mottershead
Broadway Legend
joined:10/20/05
Ridiculous that Carousel was not on the list; I may vomit.
BroadwayEd
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DramaTeach
Stand-by
joined:3/17/13
Guys and Dolls is my favorite show. When done well, it can be hilarious, emotional, and so lively. Find yourselves a copy of the 90s version with Nathan Lane and Faith Prince. Perfection.
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blaxx
Broadway Legend
joined:6/28/05
Ridiculous that Carousel was not on the list; I may vomit.

Don't vomit too much, it is on the list.
Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE

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