Tri-State Theater

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Best Local Theatre for 2014

   It’s always a trick to look back on the year gone by and try to sort out one’s favorite shows - especially since I didn’t see all the shows produced last year.

   It would probably be impossible to see all the shows presented in the Tri-state area in a year. By my count, there were approximately 120 shows presented this year! What a wealth of theatre for our area!

   It was also a heck of a busy year for your pal Chuck - I produced one show and co-directed another, my sons got married this year (one in the spring, the other in the fall), and the whole family took a two-week-long trip to Europe this summer. Whew! So, the only down side to this year of happy events was - I didn’t see nearly as many shows as I’d like.

  And don’t expect me to name Disney’s Aladdin, Jr. as my favorite show. I helped direct the show (with my pal Amy Browning), so I can hardly be expected to be objective. The same is true for the other First Stage shows this year, including Godspell, Dear Edwina, Jr. and Little Women the Musical - all wonderful shows, but I’m on the board of the theatre group, so I’m prejudiced.

   So what was the best of the ones I saw? It’s a tough call, because I saw some excellent shows.

   For musicals, I loved the classic fun and great songs in ARTS’ The Boy Friend, and the lighthearted tale and terrific songs in ARTS’ Crazy for You. I enjoyed the “not exactly a musical and yet it was” of Marshall’s Taming of the Shrew - but my favorite musical of the year title would have to one of my all-time favorites, The Pirates of Penzance (by ARTS). A show loaded with talent, lots of laughs and lighthearted fun (the memory of it alone makes me smile) - and I was amazed to see it all squeezed into the Renaissance Ballroom. 

   For straight plays, there were quite a few terrific shows, including an intense production of 12 Angry Men and a very funny presentation of Much Ado About Nothing, both from ARTS. ACT had some fun (yet moving) shows for young audiences, including A Gift-Bear for the King and Monsters Under My Bed. But the top spot is a virtual tie between Alban Arts’ Venus in Fur and ARTS’s Rabbit Hole. Both terrific productions with amazing acting and smart scripts - but while “Venus” was more fanciful, “Rabbit” hit home a little harder, with its story about a couple coping with the tragic loss of their son - so Rabbit Hole is my pick for Best Play.  

   Obviously, your mileage may vary and your list may be completely different. I invite you to send in your own choices for best shows - either post a comment below or email your list to TheMinskers@aol.com and I'll share your list on this blog. I know I missed lots of great ones (one of my New Year’s resolutions is to see more shows in 2015).

   Here's to another great season of theatre in 2015!


Sarah Diamond Burroway said...

Thanks for including Actors for Children Theatre in your year in review, Chuck! Your Tri-State Theatre blog is a tremendous asset to community theatre in our region! Happy New Year!

Chuck Minsker said...

Thanks, Sarah! Happy New Year!