2018 Favorites: Broadway

Every critic who publishes a “Best Theatre of the Year” list in December is a Benedict Arnold to the counter-culture of their chosen art form.

On second thought…since today we’re talking about the best of Broadway…the least counterculture sector of New York’s theatre scene; thanks, Disney!..um…can we at least agree the medium’s ROOTS are counter-culture through and through?

Which is why no one should evaluate theater seasons conforming to the calendar year; each begins and ends around the Tony Awards in June!

But should that stop us from sharing half-season awards? Of course not (I want those #clicks just as much as everyone else)!

As such, it’s time for the Half-Stevens!

(…you know, like the Tonys, except I’m the one and only voter?)

19 shows opened between last summer’s Tonys and the end of 2018 (sorry, Choir Boy, the only show that’s already opened not on this list, because A) it opened in 2019, and B) I haven’t seen it yet).

Below, I start with the Musical awards, and then the Plays, and then Miscellaneous awards of my own invention, ending with my power rankings of all 19 shows.

As you’ll see, I simplify how the Tonys word their official categories to avoid needless confusion. Oh, and also, if you don’t see one of their categories, that means I don’t think anyone’s work so far this season deserves recognition in that category. Harsh, I know.

On that note…

Let’s do it!


Best Actress

  1. Samantha Barks, Pretty Woman

Best Actor

  1. Andy Karl, Pretty Woman

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Eric Anderson, Pretty Woman

Best Choreography

  1. Light Balance, The Illusionists—Magic of the Holidays
  2. Spencer Liff, Head Over Heels
  3. Jerry Mitchell, Pretty Woman
  4. Faye Driscoll, Straight White Men

Best Costumes

  1. Light Balance, The Illusionists—Magic of the Holidays
  2. Arianne Phillips, Head Over Heels
  3. Gregg Barnes, Pretty Woman

Best Lighting

  1. Peter Mumford, King Kong
  2. Light Balance, The Illusionists—Magic of the Holidays

Best Orchestrations

  1. Will Van Dyke, Pretty Woman

Best Score

  1. Eric Sleichim, Network
  2. Bryan Adams & Jim Vallance, Pretty Woman

Best Sound Design

  1. Peter Hylenski, King Kong


Best Actress

  1. Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery
  2. Laura Donnelly, The Ferryman

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Joan Allen, The Waverly Gallery
  2. Mercedes Ruehl, Torch Song

Best Actor

  1. Lucas Hedges, The Waverly Gallery
  2. Bryan Cranston, Network
  3. Jim Parsons, The Boys in the Band
  4. Mike Birbiglia, The New One

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Robin De Jesùs, The Boys in the Band
  2. Zachary Quinto, The Boys in the Band
  3. David Cromer, The Waverly Gallery
  4. Michael Cera, The Waverly Gallery

Best Costume

  1. David Zinn, The Boys in the Band

Best Director

  1. Ivo van Hove, Network
  2. Lila Neugebauer, The Waverly Gallery
  3. Joe Mantello, The Boys in the Band
  4. Sam Mendes, The Ferryman
  5. Seth Barrish, The New One

Best Lighting

  1. Jan Versweyveld, Network
  2. Aaron Copp, The New One
  3. Peter Mumford, The Ferryman

Best Set Design

  1. Jan Versweyveld, Network
  2. David Zinn, The Boys in the Band
  3. Beowulf Boritt, Bernhardt/Hamlet
  4. David Zinn, The Waverly Gallery
  5. Beowulf Boritt, The New One
  6. Todd Rosenthal, Straight White Men

Best Sound Design

  1. Eric Sleichim, Network


Best Chorus

  1. Head Over Heels

Best Comedy/Funniest

(Truthfully, I’m unsure of the difference, but I feel like there IS one. Luckily, since yucks are rare on Broadway nowadays — shamefully so! — this egregiousness affords me some more time to keep thinking about it…)

  1. The New One

Best Ensemble

  1. The Waverly Gallery
  2. The Boys in the Band
  3. The Ferryman

Best/Most Hamstrung Ensemble

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird

Best Pre-Show Soundtrack

  1. Straight White Men
  2. The Boys in the Band

Best Projections

  1. Tal Yarden, Network
  2. Tal Yarden, The Waverly Gallery
  3. Peter England, King Kong

Best Title

  1. The New One
  2. Straight White Men
  3. The Ferryman

Best Transitions

  1. The Waverly Gallery
  2. Straight White Men

  1. The Waverly Gallery
  2. The New One
  3. Network
  4. Straight White Men
  5. The Boys in the Band
  6. The Ferryman
  7. Lifespan of a Fact
  8. King Kong
  9. The Prom
  10. Pretty Woman
  11. The Nap
  12. To Kill a Mockingbird
  13. Torch Song
  14. Bernhardt/Hamlet
  15. American Son
  16. The Illusionists—Magic of the Holidays
  17. Head Over Heels
  18. Gettin’ the Band Back Together
  19. The Cher Show

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