A few more best of 2008 lists to check out

Saturday, January 10, 2009 Leave a Comment

If you've already checked out Patrick Lee's Best of 2008 list at Just Shows To Go You, go and check out Aaron Riccio's list at That Sounds Cool, James Comtois' at Jamespeak, Zack Calhoon's at Visible Soul, and Elizabeth Vincentelli's at The Determined Dilettante. Whatever the challenges of making theatre in this difficult city during a hard recession may be, these five lists are reminders of how lucky we are. Great work is being done and finding a passionate audience.

If I had to find to make a non-Flux Top Ten list for myself, it might go something like this:

10. Hal Brook's claustrophobic (and yet somehow mythic) staging of Ariel Dorfman's Widows at Reverie Productions.
9. The timing and chemistry between Jessica Kaye and Lucas Kravner in Jerry Ruiz's direction of The King is Dead by Caroline McGraw.
8. Jon Levenson's tortuous journey from good humor to violence as William Brown in Michael Rau's version of The Great God Brown.
7. John Hurley's surprisingly terrifying direction of my short play 19 Words, my contribution to Gideon Production's Blueprint Project. A selfish pick, yes, but I wish there had been more than four performances, and I will never forget how he staged the awakening, nor the simplicity of the end of the world, so beautifully played by Cotton Wright.
6. Patrick Shearer's performance in A Colorful World at Nosedive Productions - an understated performance of an enigmatic super hero that boiled over with menace and power.
5. Scott Ebersold's evocative and nostalgia-drenched direction of The October Crisis in the Fringe for Packawallop.
4. The design team of Blasted - an astonishing and terrifying accomplishment (my feelings for the play itself are very different, however.)
3. April Yvette Thomspon's playing her father as if possessed by his spirit in NYTW Liberty City.
2. Karen Sternberg's emotionally wrenching performance as Teri in David Ian Lee's Sleeper. Her character's pain and hope were stunningly present and transparent.
1. APAC's reading of Johnna Adams Sans Merci, directed by Jessi D. Hill. Yup, I know, I'm a huge Johnna Adams' fan, and is it really fair to call this a non-Flux pick after staging three of her plays? That I don't know. What I can say is that in a church gym in Astoria, three actors picked up her play after only a few hours of rehearsal, and I wept with gratitude for the pain and beauty of this play; wept in a way I have not since seeing A Moon for the Misbegotten.

Any other year-end lists to recommend? Post 'em in the comments!


  • DPS said:  

    Wow, Gus, thanks! I'm honored. And the thing that makes me happiest is that the character continues to live on in someone's memory, now that he's left the stage.

    Thanks again!


  • Philip Emeott said:  

    Karen Sternberg's performance in SLEEPER was woefully under-recognized by indie critics during the run. Glad to see it included here.

  • Johnna Adams said:  

    Total agreement on that Sleeper performance. In general Sleeper did not get half the praise or attention it deserves. I really hope it gets pitcked up again.

    Gus, thanks so much for the reading praise! That was unexpected. I don't know if I really qualify for a non-Flux list, either. But I am very grateful for it ;-) Jessi is amazing, isn't she?

    I would add to your list a show you might not have got to at the end of the year, Jeff Lewonczyk's THE GRANDUNCLE QUADRILOGY. (He had to one up our 'trilogy' I guess by going for four.). It was an utter, magical delight and one of the highlights of my year of theater.

  • August Schulenburg said:  

    I went to see GRANDUNCLE and they had to cancel the performance because of an actress being sick! Totally sad. Though Jeff did give us a tour of the backstage, including a truly impressive walrus prop.