Top 10 Broadway Performances of all time?

Steven9
Swing
joined:2/7/13
Just wondering everyone's opinions on the top 10 Broadway performances of all time. My opinion (In no particular order)

Jonathan Pryce in Miss Saigon
Patti LuPone in Gypsy
Audra McDonald in Ragtime
Angela Lansbury in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Joel Grey in Cabaret
Nathan Lane in The Producers
Patti LuPone in Evita
Zero Mostel in Fiddler On the Roof
Colm Wilkinson in Les Miserables
Jennifer Holliday in Dreamgirls.

I know these are debatable, but they are my opinion. What is your Top 10?

Note: Don't mistake this for "favorite" performances. For example, Sutton Foster in Anything Goes is one of my "favorite" performances of ll time, but i do not believe it is one of the "best" performances of all time.

Updated On: 6/24/14 at 08:45 PM
MichelleCraig
Swing
joined:5/28/14
Haven't put 10 together yet, but definitely Deanna Dunagan [Violet Weston]in AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY.
ethan231h
Broadway Star
joined:5/5/11
Patina Miller - Pippin
Andrea Martin - Pippin
Rachel Bay Jones - Pippin
Alice Ripley - Next to Normal
Idina Menzel - If/Then
Jeremy Jordan - Newsies
LaChanze - The Color Purple
Alan Cumming - Cabaret
Linda Emond - Cabaret
Jessie Mueller - Beautiful: The Carol King Musical
Steven9
Swing
joined:2/7/13
Are these your "favorite" performances? The list sounds like basically every recent performance on Broadway...do you have knowledge of the performances of the past?
jnb9872
Broadway Legend
joined:11/24/08
Unless anyone has seen every Broadway performance of all-time, a definitive list (obviously) is impossible. Thus, all lists will be telescoped to an individual's awareness. Either shows they've seen (perhaps they just started seeing Broadway in the last year or so, apparently...) or shows they've read about and formulated a general consensus.
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.
Steven9
Swing
joined:2/7/13
Yes, but there are broadway geeks who are aware of a _lot_ of performances. It's kind of like people will say their favorite movie of all time is "Ferris Bueller's Day off," but if asked if they think that is one of the best movies of all time, hey will say "no." (most of the time haha). There are plenty of "best" lists...especially for cinema, I don't think it's hard to make one. A lot of the performances I listed are not my favorites. But I respect the extra quality in the performances, and I hold them to a higher esteem
chrisampm2
Leading Actor
joined:5/26/07
Steven9, did you see those performances live?
Here's what immediately comes to mind of what I've seen:
Peter Firth - Equus
Alan Cumming - Cabaret
Len Cariou - Sweeney Todd
Angela Lansbury - Sweeney Todd
Janet McTeer - A Doll's House
Amy Morton - August: Osage County
Patti LuPone - Evita
Stockard Channing - Six Degrees of Separation
Lily Tomlin - Search for Signs of Intelligent Life...
Lena Horne - The Lady and Her Music


Updated On: 6/24/14 at 09:45 PM
ghostlight2
Broadway Legend
joined:12/5/04
You can be aware of performances, but unless you've experienced them, you cannot have an opinion on them. Not a valid one, anyway.

I was very impressed with Victoria Clark's Light in the Piazza. Likewise Patti LuPone in Evita. Stephen Dillane in The Real Thing - all very connected performances - but these kinds of lists are mostly an exercise in futility.

I mean seriously - top performances of all time?
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Steven9, I think you want "Favorite performances you've witnessed", not "of all time".

How could I possibly compare Fanny Brice or Marilyn Miller to Patti LuPone, even if I take into account records and film clips?
Jarethan
Chorus Member
joined:2/10/11
First show at 11, 52 years ago. Here goes, at least for 52 years:

DRAMA:

Colleen Dewhurst -- Moon for the Misbegotten
Irene Worth -- Sweet Bird of Youth
Zoe Caldwell -- Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Vanessa Redgrave -- Long Days Journey
Fiona Shaw -- Madea
Cate Blanchett -- Streetcar (DC)

James Earl Jones -- The Great White Hope
Derek Jacobi -- Cyrano
Jason Robards -- Moon for the Misbegotten
Jim Dale -- Scapino
Ian Mc Kellen -- Amadeus

MUSICAL

Barbara Harris -- The Apple Tree
Angela Lansbury -- Mame
Angela Lansbury -- Gypsy
Glenn Close -- Sunset Blvd
Bebe Neuworth -- Chicago

Nathan Lane -- The Producers
Christopher Plummer -- Cyrano
Hugh Jackman -- The Boy from Oz
Richard Kiley -- Man of La Mancha
Robert Lindsay -- Me and My Girl


The single best -- drama: Colleen Dewburst
The single best -- musical: Angela Lansbury -- Gypsy (ps -- I saw everyone but Merman)





Updated On: 6/24/14 at 10:04 PM
CurtainsUpat8
Understudy
joined:6/1/13
Rosemary Harris in The Royal Family (as Julie)
Angela Lansbury/Len Cariou in Sweeney Todd
Mark Rylance in Jerusalem
Maggie Smith in Lettace and Lovage
Victoria Clark in Light in the Piazza
Jennifer Holliday in Dreamgirls
Charles Busch in The Lady in Question (off broadway)
Jerry Orbach in 42nd Street
Deanna Dunagan in August
Victor Garber in Assassins




Updated On: 6/24/14 at 10:04 PM
Claudia Draper
Understudy
joined:6/14/11
Barbra in Funny Girl
dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
I agree: how can I truly judge/rank a performance I haven't seen.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
Jarethan
Chorus Member
joined:2/10/11
Re Barbra, she was bored by the time I saw it...at 13, I could tell she as going through the motions...she even changed words as she went along, e.g., I talk this way because I'm ... French??
best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
Laurette Taylor in The Glass Menagerie
Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire
Ethel Merman in Gypsy
Yul Brynner in The King and I
Angela Lansbury in Sweeney Todd
Jennifer Holliday in Dreamgirls
Julie Harris in Member of the Wedding
John Raitt in Carousel

Two personal favorites of all-time:

Mary Alice in Fences
Cherry Jones in The Heiress
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3
oncemorewithfeeling2
Stand-by
joined:4/25/13
My personal top 10, of what I've seen in about 16 years I'd theater-going:
(In no particular order)

Mark Rylance In Jerusalem
Deanna Dunagan in A:OC
Audra McDonald in Lady Day (slayed me like something else)
Victoria Clark in A Light in the Piazza
Marin Mazzie in Ragtime

I need to think about the rest. Those 5 hit me right now.
ray-andallthatjazz86
Broadway Legend
joined:8/2/05
Film lends itself more to these type of lists since we can actually go back and watch those performances. It's pretty much impossible to do it for Broadway. There's legendary performances: Ethel Merman in GYPSY, Angela Lansbury in MAME and SWEENEY TODD, Bea Arthur in MAME, Joel Grey in CABARET, Laurette Taylor in THE GLASS MENAGERIE, the cast of A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, Sidney Poitier in A RAISIN IN THE SUN. There's more contemporary ones that people always bring up: Natasha Richardson and Alan Cumming in CABARET, Donna Murphy in PASSION, Audra McDonald in CAROUSEL, Cherry Jones in THE HEIRESS and DOUBT, Christine Ebersole in GREY GARDENS, Jennifer Holliday in DREAMGIRLS, Raul Julia and Anita Morris in NINE, Kelly Bishop in A CHORUS LINE, Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin in SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, etc. So hard to actually track every single one of those down.

The highlights from what I've actually seen live:

Amy Morton in AUGUST: OC
Amy Morton and Tracy Letts in WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?
Christine Ebersole and Mary-Louise Wilson in GREY GARDENS
Laura Benanti in GYPSY
Geoffrey Rush in EXIT THE KING
Liev Schreiber, Jessica Hecht and Scarlett Johansson in A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE
Cherry Jones in THE GLASS MENAGERIE
Sophie Okonedo and Anika Noni Rose in A RAISIN IN THE SUN
Audra McDonald in LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR & GRILL
"Some people can thrive and bloom living life in a living room, that's perfect for some people of one hundred and five. But I at least gotta try, when I think of all the sights that I gotta see, all the places I gotta play, all the things that I gotta be at"
mjohnson2
Broadway Star
joined:11/2/13
Audra McDonald - Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill
Celia Keenan-Bolger - The Glass Menagerie
Alice Ripley - Next to Normal
Alan Cumming - Cabaret
Michelle Williams - Cabaret (shoot me, I don't care)
Toni Colette - The Wild Party
Mandy Patinkin - The Wild Party
Tonya Pinkins - Caroline, or Change
Joe Mantello - The Normal Heart
Entire Cast - The Scottsboro Boys
You taste the silver Sara, you taste the crown, you thirst for blood from the roses in hand, oh you spoil for sash and scepter doing a dance, as they crown you queen of High School Land.
FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
I would say using 1850 as a starting point through to the end of this season, it's pretty easy to say what The Top 10 Broadway Performances (not counting replacements) of All Time Are:

Stephen Spinella "Millennium Approaches/Perestroika"
Bert Lahr "Waiting for Godot"
Joe Mantello "The Normal Heart"
Stanley Tucci "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune"
Mark Rylance "Twelfth Night"
Lily Tomlin "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe"
Patti Lupone "Gypsy"
Harvey Fierstein "Torch Song Trilogy"
Kelly Bishop "A Chorus Line"
Betty Buckley "Carrie"
yes, you
mjohnson2
Broadway Star
joined:11/2/13
Namo, are you 164 years old?
You taste the silver Sara, you taste the crown, you thirst for blood from the roses in hand, oh you spoil for sash and scepter doing a dance, as they crown you queen of High School Land.
LittleEdieFan
Chorus Member
joined:12/21/13
Christine Ebersole in Grey Gardens
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Seeing Zero Mostel and Barbra Streisand discussed above, I am struck that even if one is 164 and has seen every show to play on Broadway, one cannot have seen every showing of every show.

And some of the most acclaimed performances--Marlon Brando in STREETCAR, for instance--were quite famously one performance per week "on" and seven performances "flat" or "off".
qolbinau
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/08
I'm only going to comment on those I've seen live (not in any order), and many/most/all are probably in the "favourite" rather than "best" territory, but whatever.

Angela Lansbury - DRIVING MISS DAISY*

Bernadette Peters - A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC

Marin Mazzie - NEXT TO NORMAL

Alice Ripley - NEXT TO NORMAL

Amy Morton - AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY

Kelli O'Hara - BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY

Geoffrey Rush - A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO A FORUM*

Bernadette Peters - FOLLIES

* I just realised this is meant to be Broadway-specific, but whatever

Updated On: 6/25/14 at 06:21 AM
madbrian
Broadway Legend
joined:6/1/06
Elaine Stritch - Company
William Daniels - 1776
Christine Ebersole - Grey Gardens
Kelly Bishop - A Chorus Line
Angela Lansbury - Sweeney Todd
Colm Wilkinson - Les Miserables
Tovah Feldshuh - Irena's Vow
Audra McDonald - Lady Day
Lea Salonga - Miss Saigon
Joanna Gleason - Into The Woods
"It does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg." -- Thomas Jefferson
goldenboy
Broadway Legend
joined:7/15/05
My top two

Gwen Verdon in Sweet Charity
Cliff Gorman in Lenny

Amazing.
FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
I would have liked to have seen Lenny.
yes, you

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