TheWrap critic Robert Hofler selects the year's biggest onstage clunkers
10. "Alice by Heart," by Duncan Sheik, Steven Sater and Jessie Nelson (Off Broadway, MCC Theater)
Lewis Carroll's young heroine now finds herself stuck in a London tube during World War II. To follow Alice down this rabbit hole, you needed to have memorized the original novel.
9. "Scotland, PA," by Michael Mitnick and Adam Gwon (Off Broadway, Roundabout)
A contemporary Macbeth flips burgers in this McDreadful new musical, based on the 2001 cult movie in which James LeGros and Christopher Walken display real black-and-white grit. The singing actors here were slathered in fast-food primary colors.
8. "Broadway Bounty Hunter," by Joe Iconis, Lance Rubin and Jason SweetTooth Williams (Off Broadway, Greenwich House Theater)
Annie Golden was very effective playing herself, an actress of a certain age who can't get work. This musical stumbled when she turned into a kung-fu fighter set loose on a dangerous mission among drug lords in the jungles of South America.
7. "Merrily We Roll Along," by George Furth and Stephen Sondheim (Off Broadway, Roundabout)
Since its disastrous 1981 Broadway premiere, the musical has been graced by a few revivals (Menier Chocolate Factory's being one of them) that managed to make dramatic sense of this story told in reverse, about theater people who sell out. This puny revival, from the Fiasco Theater, wasn't one of them.
6. "Beetlejuice," by Eddie Perfect, Scott Brown and Anthony King (Broadway)
The 1988 movie is embalmed by Perfect's score and Alex Timbers's direction. Taking over for Michael Keaton, the talented Alex Brightman survives the burial scene around him.
5. "Sunday," by Jack Thorne (Off Broadway, Atlantic Theater Company)
After winning the Tony for "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," Thorne continued his downward spiral with last year's "King Kong" and this year's desultory play about college grads who gather to discuss famous novels.
4. "Norma Jean Baker of Troy," by Anne Carson (Off Broadway, The Shed)
Ben Whishaw and Renee Fleming were trapped in an office where she typed out his translation of Euripides's "Helen" while he dressed up like Marilyn Monroe in "The Seven Year Itch." That synopsis sounds fun; the show was not. Winner of the year's most walk-outs before the final curtain.
3. "Bat Out of Hell," by Jim Steinman (City Center)
Songs from the Meatloaf album have been adapted to tell the story of a futuristic Peter Pan who is forever young. It turned out to be a curse in more ways than one.
2. "Only Human," by Jess Carson, Jesse Murphy, and Mike Squillante (Off Broadway, Theatre St. Clement's)
Madonna can finally relax. She's no longer the recipient of the Worst Performance in recent memory, for "Speed-the-Plow" in 1988. The baton has been passed to Gary Busey, who played God no less, in a musical very much worth his talents.
1. "Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise," by Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger and Sia (Off Broadway, The Shed)
You had to read the program to know this musical extravaganza was about "a secret sect in Flushing, Queens, that possesses the magic power to extend human life." Big, loud, static, empty.