It was a pretty extraordinary year for theater in New York, from some remarkable new plays to some truly innovative revivals. But first, some honorable mentions: Theresa Rebeck’s “Bernhardt/Hamlet” on Broadway; Jez Butterworth’s “The Ferryman” on Broadway; The Mad Ones’ “Miles for Mary” Off Broadway, “My Fair Lady” at Broadway’s Lincoln Center; and the musicalized “Twelfth Night” at the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park.
11. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” (Broadway) For stagecraft alone, this two-night epic piece of fantasy fan fiction is a revelation. It’s also an absorbing and entertaining return to J.K. Rowling’s magical world that wonderfully exploits the live-theatrical medium.
10. “Three Tall Women” (Broadway) The incomparable 81-year-old Glenda Jackson dominated the first act of Edward Albee’s play, but Joe Mantello managed to turn the final act into an ensemble effort balancing Jackson with Laurie Metcalf and Allison Pill.
9. “What the Constitution Means to Me” (New York Theatre Workshop, Off Broadway) Heidi Schreck offers a guided tour through national and personal history in this winding but focused (and timely) look at the U.S. Constitution.
8. “Dance Nation” (Playwrights Horizons, Off Broadway) Lee Sunday Evans deploys nontraditional, age-blind casting to remarkable effect in her production of Clare Barron’s smart and revealing new play about a preadolescent dance group in a remote corner of the Midwest.
7. “Amy and the Orphans” (Roundabout, Off Broadway) Lindsey Ferrentino’s domestic dramedy has Neil Simon touches and many a narrative twist — but Jamie Brewer (“American Horror Story”) astonishes as a no-nonsense woman meeting a family she barely remembers who suddenly try to assert control over her future.
6. “Angels in America” (Broadway) Director Marianne Elliott plumbs all the fantastical elements of Tony Kushner’s acclaimed 1993 epic about AIDS and God and America and Mormons and the cantankerous, maddening, scene-stealing hypocrite named Roy Cohn (brilliantly played by Nathan Lane).
5. “The Jungle” (St. Ann’s Warehouse, Off Broadway) This immersive British import, set in a refugee camp whose residents are seeking asylum in the U.K., is that rarest of theatrical experiences. It makes us think, it makes us feel and it challenges us to find the human faces in the masses of images we see on newscasts.
3-4. “Oklahoma!” (St. Ann’s Warehouse, Off Broadway) / “Carmen Jones” (Classic Stage Company, Off Broadway) Oscar Hammerstein inspired two great revivals this year. Daniel Fish’s stripped-down (and Broadway-bound) revival of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Oklahoma!” mines the violence and sexuality that always seemed to be simmering just beneath the surface. And John Doyle deserves a Broadway transfer for Hammerstein’s reworking of the Bizet opera, set in a WWII-era African American community — particularly if Anika Noni Rose returns as the title seductress.
2. “The House That Will Not Stand” (New York Theatre Workshop, Off Broadway) At times hilarious, at times achingly tragic, Marcus Gardley’s play explores a family of free women of color in 1813 New Orleans on the verge of losing their rights with the transfer of Louisiana to the United States. Exquisite.
1. “The Low Road” (Public Theater, Off Broadway) Bruce Norris’ picaresque tale about an 18th-century foundling in colonial America is a sui generis masterpiece, smart and ambitious and ripping good fun.