Los Angeles Times

December 26, 1999
LA Times Drama Critic
Michael Phillips'
Top 10 Plays of 1999

In alphabetical order:

The Adding Machine
Sacred Fools Theater Company.
Roaring '20s parable about a zero named Zero added up nicely in Lauren Hollingsworth's staging.

Aliens in America
Tiffany Theater.
Sandra Tsing Loh talks about her father, and other beloved conundrums, in lovely, funny solo polished to a sheen by director David Schweizer.

Collected Stories
Geffen Playhouse.
Juicy two-hander from one of America's best, Donald Margulies, staged (by Gil Cates) and acted (by Linda Lavin and Samantha Mathis) like they knew what they wanted.

Harry Thaw Hates Everybody
Indecent Exposure Theatre Company.
Writer-director Laural Meade's inspired explosion of history, the underside of "Ragtime." If I really had to pick a '99 favorite . . . well, this one and "Arturo Ui" (see below).

Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Henry Fonda Theatre.
Big flop, fun show. Wrong venue? Too loud for the 'burb crowd? Where were you?

Light Up the Sky
Pasadena Playhouse.
If only all chestnuts came roasted so beautifully.

The Philanderer
South Coast Repertory.
Rarely seen Shaw comedy played right into SCR's sweet spots. Solidly acted, freshly felt, handsome design work up and down.

Reefer Madness
Hudson Backstage Theatre.
Act 2 wobbles, but man, if they revise it, this musical tear through the 1936 agitprop yuk-fest could get this entire nation high. Legally, of course.

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui
Berliner Ensemble at UCLA.
Martin Wuttke delivered the performance of the year, inverting and refracting the dictator of the century.

Straight as a Line
Playwrights' Arena.
Luis Alfaro's bittersweet gem unfolded like a troubling, edgy dream, as dreamt by a casino-worker mother and her AIDS-stricken son.

Nos. 11-20: Art Doolittle Theatre; Bells Are Ringing Reprise! at UCLA; Broadway Actors Gang; Cymbeline Old Globe Theatre; Dennis Cleveland Eclectic Orange Fest; Floyd Collins Old Globe Theatre; Measure for Measure Ahmanson Theatre; The Merry Wives of Windsor Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum; The Piano Lesson South Coast Repertory; St. Nicholas Matrix Theatre Company.

Copyright 1999 Los Angeles Times


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