9. "Sweat," by Lynn Nottage, at Off Broadway's Public Theater
Factory workers in a Pennsylvania town turn on each other when the economy goes south. Profoundly polemical in its examination of blue-collar white supremacy -- and deserving of its imminent Broadway production.
6. "The Babylon Line," by Richard Greenberg, at Lincoln Center Theater
A failed writer (Josh Radnor) doesn't make a very good creative-writing instructor at an adult-ed class. Regardless, his students show him there's a lot going on behind all those identical front doors in Levittown, Long Island.
4. "A Life," by Adam Bock, at Off Broadway's Playwrights Horizon
The sometimes exhilarating, often nasty rush of life isn't over when the existence of one middle-aged man (David Hyde Pierce) suddenly comes to an abrupt, unexpected end. Most peculiar in a very good way.
3. "Indecent," by Paula Vogel, at Off Broadway's Vineyard Theatre
Sholem Asch's "God of Vengeance" traveled the world in the early 20th century, but its lesbian subject matter didn't upset the censors until the play landed on Broadway in 1923. Dance, music, the original text, and Vogel's musings re-create the hubbub -- no wonder the show is transferring to Broadway in the spring.
2. "The Band's Visit," by David Yazbek and Itamar Moses, at Off Broadway's Atlantic Theater Company
A band of Egyptian musicians (led by Tony Shalhoub) ends up in the wrong town in Israel. This wry, nuanced, and melody-laden comedy never resorts to the usual Broadway bombast of anthems and screeching power ballads.
1. "Hold on to Me Darling," by Kenneth Lonergan, at Off Broadway's Atlantic Theater Company
Lonergan ended the year with a big movie success, "Manchester by the Sea," and he kicked off 2016 with an equally riveting work in the theater, "Hold on to Me Darling," a comedy about a country-and-western star (Timothy Olyphant) who tries but can't go home again.