Least Seen Great Performances: Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson in "Anna Christie," Nigel Hawthorne in "The Madness of George III," Donal McCann in "Wonderful Tennessee," Debra Monk in "Redwood Curtain."

Kudos by the Pound: The longest plays of the year - "Angels in America" (two parts, 3 1/2 hours each), "The Kentucky Cycle" (two parts, three hours each), "Abe Lincoln in Illinois" (31/2 hours) - all won the Pulitzer Prize.Most Sure-Fire Theatrical Path to New York: Via London's Royal National Theater, which expedited the 1993 arrivals "Angels in America: Millennium Approaches" and "The Madness of George III" and will do the same for "Carousel," "An Inspector Calls" and "Arcadia" in 1994-95.

Indelible Specialty Acts: David Shiner and Bill Irwin tripping the light fantastic in "Fool Moon," Claudia Shear transforming her disastrous employment resume into a touching striptease of the soul in "Blown Sideways Through Life.'

Biggest Musical Theater Surprise: The director Des McAnuff, the choreographer Wayne Cilento and the designer John Arnone reinvented "Tommy" as if it were a dazzling new Michael Bennett musical.

Biggest Musical Theater Letdowns: Stephen Sondheim's songs trapped in "Putting It Together," Bernadette Peters' fizz flattened in "The Goodbye Girl."

At Long Last Laughter: In a year of plays heralding the urban apocalypse ("Marisol," "On the Open Road," "The Lights"), cheers for the serious hilarity of Paul Rudnick's "Jeffrey" and John Patrick Shanley's "Four Dogs and a Bone."

Tired Hype: Most boring yet ubiquitous theater stories of the year include the competition to play Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard" on Broadway (is anyone certain this musical is even coming to Broadway?), the return of Chita Rivera (why doesn't she play Norma Desmond?), the standing ovations at "Blood Brothers."

And What Will He Do for an Encore? Following the extraordinary, double-barreled triumph of the epic "Angels in America," about the only way Tony Kushner can lower expectations for his next play is to announce his intention to concoct a two-character heterosexual sex comedy, to be produced under the cut-rate Broadway Alliance.

- Frank Rich

It's a Nice Place to Visit, but . . . In "Marisol," "The Lights" and "The Treatment," New York City took a thrashing from playwrights Jose Rivera, Howard Korder and Martin Crimp. In the musical "The Goodbye Girl," it took a drubbing from the set designer Santo Loquasto.

The Welcome Mat: Julie Andrews, absent from the New York theater for three decades, came back, grace and diction gloriously intact, for the Stephen Sondheim revue "Putting It Together."

It Was a Very Good Year (Part 1): George C. Wolfe successfully guided both parts of "Angels in America" to Broadway, won a Tony and was appointed chief honcho of the Joseph Papp Public Theater.

It Was a Very Good Year (Part 2): Shakespeare was particularly well served by the National Actors Theater ("Timon of Athens"), by the New York Shakespeare Festival ("All's Well That Ends Well") and by actress Lynn Redgrave, whose family memoir, "Shakespeare for My Father," suggested that the Bard is the best therapist of all.

Brent, We Hardly Knew Ye: Having taken the town by storm and garnered a slew of awards for his portrayal of a gay window dresser in the year's best musical, "Kiss of the Spider Woman," Brent Carver left the show after only 155 performances. He was homesick for Canada, a spokeswoman said.

Half a Dozen Unforgettable Performances: Jeanne Paulsen in "The Kentucky Cycle"; Jeffrey Wright in "Angels in America: Perestroika"; Sherry Glaser in "Family Secrets"; Stanley Tucci in "Scapin"; Natasha Richardson in "Anna Christie"; Linda Stephens in "Wings."

Clowns for Our Time: David Shiner and Bill Irwin, singular sensations, were doubly hilarious in "Fool Moon."

You Can't Hold a Good Orphan Down: It took the creators of "Annie" 10 years and countless rewrites to come up with a sprightly sequel - "Annie Warbucks." Then the Broadway financing collapsed and the show had to open Off Broadway.

Most Undervalued Drama: Terrence McNally's "Perfect Ganesh."

- David Richards

Form and Dysfunction: The unhappy American family was seen through the perspective of Wagnerian opera ("The Twilight of the Golds"), musical comedy ("The Loman Family Picnic"), absurdist anthropology ("Pterodactyls") and vintage domestic melodrama ("Any Given Day").

And No One Called Him King-Boy, Either: Richard Thomas delivered a dynamic, convention-reversing "Richard II" at the Shakespeare Theater in Washington.

Attack of the Singing Ciphers: Character lost out to technology in the souped-up Classic Comics-like musicals "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and "Cyrano."

Best Performance by a Naked Swedish Actor Impersonating an Animal: No question. Peter Stormare in the title role of "The Swan."

Bad Bard Makes Good: Sketchy, problematic Shakespearean plays were turned into dazzling theater via directorial auteurism (Richard Jones's "All's Well That Ends Well") and heroic star turns (Brian Bedford in "Timon of Athens").

Sandy Dennis Memorial Award for Most Charming Portrayal of a Manic Neurotic: Hope Davis in "Pterodactyls" and Christine Baranski in "The Loman Family Picnic."

Einstein Laughed: David Ives translated the theory of relativity into six compellingly funny one-act comedies in "All in the Timing."

I'm Still Here: The small Signature Theater Company brought Edward Albee back into the spotlight with a season of his seldom-seen works.

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So When Will They Get the Plays They Deserve? Julie Harris and Sada Thompson returned to the stage in "The Fiery Furnace" and "Any Given Day."

Life Is a Teleplay, Old Chum: Sitcom humor and dialogue left the small screen for the big stage in "Mixed Emotions," "A Quarrel of Sparrows" and "Greetings!"

My City, Myself: Twenty-two-year-old Danny Hoch gave stunning life to New York's Babel of ethnic voices in his solo show "Some People."

- Ben Brantley

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