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New York Theatre Wire Critics Choose
10 Best Shows of 1998-99 Season

by Philippa Wehle

The New York Theatre Wire has once more asked its reviewers to choose their top ten shows, seen between May 1, 1998 and May 1, 1999, on, Off and Off-off Broadway. The choices were based on artistic merit alone. This year five NYTW theater writers participated in the ballot. The publisher disqualified himself ex officio.

Interestingly, Ping Chong's "Kwaidan," which had received such glowing reviews from NYTW writers last fall fulfilled its promise. It was the standout show, with "Wit" as a close second. "Swan Lake" was high on the list of three of our reviewers as was the reprise of "The Mystery of Irma Vep," starring Everett Quinton. Another favored choice was Andrei Serban's staging of "Cymbeline" in Central Park last summer. Beyond these favorites, a number of shows received individual high marks: Declan Donnelan's "Le Cid" at BAM, for example, or Serban's "Fragments of a Greek Trilogy," another revival, at La MaMa.

As always, our reviewers proved to be individualists with diverse tastes and a variety of views. Judging from the choices, however, one might venture to say that the majority favors a "return to the classics."

"Top Ten" Shows of the 1999-99 Season

KWAIDAN (La MaMa E.T.C./The Center for Puppetry Arts, Atlanta/International Festival of Puppet Theater presented by the Jim Henson Foundation)
WIT (MCC/Bernard Telsey/Daryl Roth/Long Wharf Theatre)
SWAN LAKE (Adventures in Motion Pictures/Cameron Mackintosh)
CYMBELINE (New York Shakespeare Festival)
LE CID (Brooklyn Academy of Music)
THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP (SteveAsher/Richard Frankel/Thomas Viertel/Steven Baruch/Marc Routh)
SIDEMAN (Weissberger Theater Group/Peter Manning/Ron Kastner/James Cushing/Joan Stein)
DEATH OF A SALESMAN (Richard Richenthal/Allan Gordon/Fox Theatricals)
NOT ABOUT NIGHTINGALES (Carole Shorenstein Hayes/Stuart Thompson/Marsha Garces Williams/Lou Gonda/Royal National Theater/Alley Theater/Moving Theater)

Congratulations to the winners!

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© copyright 1999 Metro New Media, Inc.

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