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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Top Ten Plays - New York Magazine

Who knew Fela, South Pacific, Gypsy, On The Town and Hair were "plays?"


Aaron Riccio said...

Oh god. They need a theater critic. No offense to Dan Kois, but not only is that not a list of "plays" (as you point out), but it's a mystery as to how consensus was reached on this list. I can't wait to put together my top ten.

Freeman said...

And, of course, When is a Clock is SORELY overlooked.

bfuqua said...

Good point, but have you seen the current "Gypsy"? I've never been a fan all the umpteen times I've seen it prior. I also wouldn't call it a traditional musical (in a "razzle-dazzle" sense"), but this production is an absolute revelation. (My bf Steve adored it and he detests musicals). The text and songs and (minor) dance is so emotionally grounded that it really does play like a, well, play. Seriously.
It's only running through March so get a ticket while you can.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, at least Gypsy was an electric night at the theater. Hunting and Gathering, not so much...

Ian G said...

Once again, NY Mag holds fast to the belief that theatre in NYC only gets done on Broadway, except when they feel like slumming it and venturing in the the deliciously tatty, seedy world of off-Broadway, like the Public Theater, and Playwrights Horizons, who still practice the old-school shoestring-budget aesthetic. Please. Unless you're a society heiress, NY Mag has printed almost nothing worth reading for about 25 years.

Plus, there are exactly three new works, and that's only if you count "Blasted" (not really new, just new to NYC) and "Fela!" (new-ish, but largely a recreation of an old nightclub act).

Take those out, and you're left with exactly one truly new play.

Seriously? NY Mag's theater journos need to get out more.

Dan said...

No offense taken!

It is, admittedly, hard to put together a top ten list when the magazine's critic left in September. And I would be thrilled if the magazine began paying more attention to smaller shows. That said, we are a weekly with limited space, and are rarely going to cover more than two shows a week, at best, which means that many, many, many shows fall through the cracks.

How did we reach consensus? Through long, long conversations, as you can probably imagine. The lack of a critic means, of course, that the list doesn't really reflect any one person's sensibility, as it would if McCarter had made it, but those are the breaks. Next year's list, presumably made by whoever eventually becomes the full-time critic, will read quite differently, I'm sure.

"Plays": C'mon, dudes.

Freeman said...

Dan -

Thanks for responding, being straight-up, and being such a good sport! Top ten lists are there to inspire just this kind of conversation, for good or ill.

bfuqua said...

Semantics, guys. They did have "plays" on there as well, right?
Maybe the recession forced them to cut down on pages and, consequently, we're having this invigorating discourse.
Ain't it fun?!

Ian G said...

Alright, given the critic-less-ness and consequent last-minute committee decisions, maybe I need to cut 'em some slack.

I still maintain that Top Ten lists are inherently ridiculous unless you've seen literally everything, which is impossible (though it is feasible to see everything on Broadway in a given season). But even so, NY Mag's scope of theatre coverage is much narrower than any other print or online publication's (even the New Yorker ventures into the indie world now and again), and to put out a Top Ten given how little they've actually covered seems particularly odd. But that may not be something any NY Mag arts editor or writer can help much; if they're only given so much space, then that's that.

Martin-nytheatre.com said...

I am shocked by this surprisingly snobbish comment! Of course SOUTH PACIFIC, GYPSY, HAIR, and ON THE TOWN are plays. Musical plays are American drama's great contribution to the artform. Do all the songs in TWELFTH NIGHT keep it from being a play?

Freeman said...

Martin -

Well I guess I'm used to there being a clear difference between "musicals" and "straight plays." It's a distinction that seems made pretty regularly, so I don't view the comment as snobbish. I'm not looking down on Gypsy; I was just being a bit glib about what counts as a "play."

Martin-nytheatre.com said...

Inclusiveness, my friend, that's the key!