New York Theatre Wire Critics Choose Their
Ten Best Shows of 2003-04 Season

By Philippa Wehle

New York Theatre Wire has once again asked its reviewers to choose their top ten shows, seen between May 1, 2003 and May 1, 2004, on, Off and Off-off Broadway. Their choices are based on artistic merit alone. This year seven NYTW theater writers participated in the ballot. Final results were determined by calculating a numerical consensus from all the ballots received. (The publisher always disqualifies himself ex officio.)

This is our eighth annual critics' poll. As always, there was much variety among the critics' choices, ranging from operas ("Benvenuto Cellini") and musicals ("Wonderful Town") to one man shows and full length dramas. Interestingly, four shows were tied for second place (Stephen Sondheim's "Assassins," Doug Wright's "I Am My Own Wife," Stoppard's "Jumpers" and Lynn Nottage's "Intimate Apparel"), and two were tied for fourth place ("Bridge and Tunnel" and "Wicked"). It was hard to find a trend among the shows on our critics top ten lists other than the number of revivals chosen by some of our reviewers ("Wonderful Town," "Big River" and "Master Harold and the Boys," among them). One reviewer commented on the number of AIDS-related plays that he found quite powerful this season, particularly "the truly exceptional revival by David Esbjornson of Larry Kramer's "The Normal Heart."

Top Ten Shows of the 2003-2004 Season

"Bobrauschenbergamerica" by Charles L. Mee, The SITI Company, Brooklyn Academy of Music
"Assassins" by Stephen Sondheim, Roundabout Theatre
"I Am My Own Wife" by Doug Wright, Playwright's Horizons
"Intimate Apparel" by Lynn Nottage, Roudabout Theatre Company
"Jumpers" by Tom Stoppard, Brooks Atkinson Theatre
"The Normal Heart" by Larry Kramer, Worth Street Theater
"Bridge and Tunnel" by Sarah Jones, 45 Bleecker Street Theatre
"Wicked" by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman, Gershwin Theatre
"Frozen" by Bryony Lavery, MCC East Thirteenth St. Theatre
"Avenue Q" by by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx , Golden Theater

Our congratulations to the winners.

© copyright 2004 Metro New Media, Inc.

Further information please contact: Philippa Wehle, author of this article, at: (212) 864-6642.

Senior Columnist: Glenn Loney. Feature Writer: Jerry Tallmer. Columnists: Marilyn Abalos (Asian Theatre), Randy Gener (Theatre), Susan Haskins (Broadway), Larry Litt (Comedy). Critics: Perry Bialor, Dorothy Chansky, Margaret Croyden, Randy Gener, Melinda Guttmann, Lucy Komisar, Robert Hicks, Brandon Judell, Larry Litt, Ed Rubin, Paulanne Simmons, Ben Spatz, Philippa Wehle.


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