The New York Times is the only newspaper in the world capable of shutting down a theatre show with a bad review. On the flipside, good reviews can propel a show to critical and commercial success.
Theatre critic Ben Brantley is tough. If your show has ended up on his best of list for 2013, you’re doing well. From reworks of The Glass Menagerie and Twelfth Night to the musical Matilda and a radio play by Samuel Beckett that was never meant to hit the stage, 2013 on Broadway and off-Broadway had it all.
With the one exception of Twelfth Night, New York Times colleague Charles Isherwood presents a different array of high quality shows on and off Broadway in 2013. Isherwood’s eclectic list consists of a Brecht classic, a couple of above-par jukebox musicals and an eight-hour work consisting largely of a series of very long telephone conversations.
One common thread both critics shared was the richness and diversity off-Broadway theatre had to offer in 2013.