Positively Operatic

The Year in Austin Culture

The Longer View

In honor of this milestone year, the Arts team has decided to look back further than just the past year and come up with some critical observations on the past decade, the century, and even the millennium. On the traditional end are my choices for the top theatrical productions in Austin during the Nineties, as well as a list of the 25 Significant American Plays and 25 Significant American Musicals of the past century, as voted by the members of the American Theatre Critics Association. (For what it's worth, I'm not only a voting member, but I tabulated the votes for the organization.) On the what-the-hell-is-this end is the Millennial Musical, a collaboration by myself and Arts writers Ada Calhoun, Dawn Davis, Sarah Hepola, and Robi Polgar. Using the tried-and-true structure of the classic American musical ­ Boy meets Girl, Boy gets Girl, Boy loses Girl, Dream Ballet, Boy gets Girl back ­ we imagined a work that would speak for the past 1,000 years, with contributions from our favorite artists of the past millennium. It doesn't make a lick of sense, but it's fun in its own artsy way. And now, forward into the past ....


Top 10 Austin Theatre Productions of the Nineties

1. Our Town (Big State Productions, 1990)

2. The Bacchae: Torn to Pieces (Hopeful Monsters/Frontera@Hyde Park, 1996)

3. The Gospel at Colonus (Zachary Scott Theatre Center, 1996)

4. Stuff as Dreams Are Made On (Fred Curchack, 1993)

5. The Three Cuckolds (UT Department of Theatre & Dance)

6. Weldon Rising (Frontera@Hyde Park, 1994)

7. The Billy-Club Puppets (Tongue & Groove Theatre, 1995)

8. The Cost of Living Trilogy: Free Trade, Managed Care, Millennium Bug (Frontera@Hyde Park, 1994-99)

9. Red White & Tuna (Greater Tuna Corporation/Paramount Theatre, 1998)

10. Ruthless! The Musical (Zachary Scott Theatre Center, 1997)


The 25 Significant American Plays of the 20th Century

1. A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams

2. Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller

3. Long Day's Journey Into Night, by Eugene O'Neill

4. Our Town, by Thornton Wilder

5. The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams

6. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, by Edward Albee

7. (tie) Angels in America, by Tony Kushner; A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry

9. You Can't Take It With You, by Moss Hart &

George S. Kaufman

10. The Crucible, by Arthur Miller

11. The Little Foxes, by Lillian Hellman

12. (tie) Fences, by August Wilson; The Iceman Cometh, by Eugene O'Neill

14. The Odd Couple, by Neil Simon

15. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, by Tennessee Williams

16. Waiting for Lefty, by Clifford Odets

17. (tie) American Buffalo, by David Mamet; Inherit the Wind, by Jerome S. Lawrence & Robert E. Lee

19. The Skin of Our Teeth, by Thornton Wilder

20. Glengarry Glen Ross, by David Mamet

21. (tie) The Front Page, by Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur; Picnic, by William Inge

23. The Boys in the Band, by Matt Crowley

24. (tie) Buried Child, by Sam Shepard; The Zoo Story, by Edward Albee

1. Oklahoma!, by Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II

2. West Side Story, by Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, & Arthur Laurents

3. (tie) Guys and Dolls, by Frank Loesser, Jo Swerling, & Abe Burrows; Show Boat, by Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II,& P.G. Wodehouse

5. A Chorus Line, by Marvin Hamlisch, Edward Kleban, James Kirkwood, & Nicholas Dante

6. Cabaret, by John Kander, Fred Ebb & Joe Masteroff

7. My Fair Lady, by Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe

8. Porgy and Bess, by George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, & Du Bose Heyward

9. Fiddler on the Roof, by Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick & Joseph Stein

10. (tie) Gypsy, by Jules Styne, Stephen Sondheim, & Arthur Laurents; Hair, by Galt MacDermot, Gerome Ragni, & James Rado; South Pacific, by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II & Josh Logan

13. Carousel, by Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II

14. (tie) Company, by Stephen Sondheim & George Furth; Sweeney Todd, by Stephen Sondheim & Hugh Wheeler

16. The Fantasticks, by Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt

17. Kiss Me, Kate, by Cole Porter, Sam Spewack, & Bella Spewack

18. Pal Joey, by Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart & John O'Hara

19. (tie) Follies, by Stephen Sondheim & James Goldman; The King and I, by Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II

21. Hello, Dolly!, by Jerry Herman & Michael Stewart

22. Chicago, by John Kander, Fred Ebb, & Bob Fosse

23. The Music Man, by Meredith Willson

24. (tie) Anything Goes, by Cole Porter, Guy Bolton, P.G. Wodehouse, Howard Lindsay, & Russel Crouse; A Little Night Music, by Stephen Sondheim & Hugh Wheeler

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