Best plays of 2012

In my annual list of favorite theater, a few awkward questions pop out. First, what does it say about the season's staying power that only three productions are still running? What does it say about new musicals that only one -- "Once" -- makes the list? And how about a year when, unquestionably, the best theater came from previous work from the masters -- Edward Albee, Arthur Miller, Anton Chekhov, Athol Fugard, August Wilson, Clifford Odets?

On the brighter side -- and there is, in fact, a bright side -- eight of my picks are American playwrights in a category long dominated by the English. Better yet, five are actually alive. --LINDA WINER, linda.winer@newsday.com

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