Theater, Dance, Comedy and Performance in Chicago

Newcity’s Top 5 of Everything 2008: Stage

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Top 5 Shows

“Caroline, or Change,” Court Theatre

“A House with No Walls,” Timeline Theatre

“The Glass Menagerie,” Steppenwolf Theatre

“No Darkness Round My Stone,” Trap Door Theatre

“The Birthday Party,” Signal Theater

—Monica Westin

Top 5 Shows

“Jon,” Collaboraction

“A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant,” A Red Orchid

“Be More Chill,” Griffin Theatre

“Men of Tortuga,” Profiles

“Picked Up,” Neo-Futurists

—Nina Metz

Top 5 Theatrical Experiences

“Caroline, or Change,” Court Theatre

“Columnibus,” Raven Theatre

“As You Like It,” Writers’ Theatre

“The Comedy of Errors,” Chicago Shakespeare Theater

“Romeo y Julieta” (Staged Reading), Chicago Shakespeare Theater/Shakespeare in Español

—Fabrizio O. Almeida

Top 5 Guilty Pleasures

“Jarred: A Hoodoo Comedy” by Tanya Saracho, Teatro Luna

“Speech and Debate” by Stephen Karam, ATC

“Dead Man’s Cell Phone” by Sarah Ruhl, Steppenwolf

“The Little Dog Laughed” by Douglas Carter Beane, About Face Theatre

“After Ashley” by Gina Gionfriddo, Stage Left Theatre

—Fabrizio O. Almeida

Top 5 New Plays

“Kita y Fernanda” by Tanya Saracho, 16th Street Theater

“The U.N. Inspector” by David Farr and James Sherman, Next Theatre

“Dead Man’s Cell Phone” by Sarah Ruhl, Steppenwolf Theatre

“Our Enemies: Lively Scenes of Love and Combat” by Yussef El Guindi, Silk Road Theatre Project

“Superior Donuts” by Tracy Letts, Steppenwolf Theatre

—Fabrizio O. Almeida

Top 5 Revivals

“The Maids,” Writers’ Theatre

“The Lion in Winter,” Writers’ Theatre

“Requiem for a Heavyweight,” Shattered Globe

“Plaza Suite,” Eclipse Theatre Company

“The Birthday Party,” Signal Ensemble Theatre

—Fabrizio O. Almeida

Top 5 Play Revivals

“Our Town,” Hypocrites

“The Lion in Winter,” Writers Theatre

“Requiem for a Heavyweight,” Shattered Globe

“Journey’s End,” Griffin

“M Butterfly,” BoHo

—Dennis Polkow

Top 5 Memorable Productions by a Smaller Theatre Troupe

“Multi-Purpose Doom,” Sandbox Theatre Project

“The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler,” Dog & Pony

“Termen Vox Machina,” Oracle Productions

“On My Parents’ 100th Wedding Anniversary,” Side Project

“The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” (original mounting), Gift Theatre

—Fabrizio O. Almeida

Top 5 Directors

Ann Filmer for “Kita y Fernanda,” 16th Street Theater

Charles Newell for “Caroline, or Change,” Court Theatre

Sean Graney for “Edward II,” Chicago Shakespeare Theater

William Brown for “As You Like It,” Writers’ Theatre

Greg Kolack for “Columbinus,” Raven Theatre

—Fabrizio O. Almeida

Top 5 Musicals

“Caroline, or Change,” Court Theatre

“Grey Gardens,” Northlight Theatre

“Tell Me On A Sunday,” Bailiwick Theater

“The Full Monty,” Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre

“All Shook Up,” Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre

—Fabrizio O. Almeida

Top 5 New Musicals

“Caroline, or Change,” Court Theatre

“Grey Gardens,” Northlight Theatre

“Songs for a New World,” Porchlight

“The Ballad of Emmett Till,” Goodman Theatre

“I Am Who I Am: The Story of Teddy Pendergrass,” Black Ensemble Theater

—Dennis Polkow

Top 5 Musical Revivals

“Tell Me on a Sunday,” Bailiwick Theater

“Sweet Charity,” Drury Lane Oakbrook

“1776,” Signal Ensemble

“Jacques Brel’s Lonesome Lovers of the Night,” Theo Ubique

“Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” Circle Theatre

—Dennis Polkow

Top 5 Worst Musicals

“Shout! The Mod Musical,” Drury Lane Water Tower

“Avenue Q,” Broadway in Chicago

“Dirty Dancing,” Broadway in Chicago

“Russian on the Side,” Royal George Theater

“Gutenberg! The Musical,” Royal George Theater

—Dennis Polkow

Top 5 Worst Musicals

“Dirty Dancing,” Broadway in Chicago

“The Kid from Brooklyn,” Mercury Theater

“Gutenberg! The Musical!,” Royal George Theatre

“Jekyll & Hyde—The Musical,” Bohemian Theatre Ensemble

“Sweeney Todd,” Broadway in Chicago

—Fabrizio O. Almeida

Top 5 Operas

“Manon,” Lyric Opera

“The Abduction From the Seraglio,” Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Ravinia

“Lulu,” Lyric Opera

“Porgy and Bess,” Lyric Opera (second cast)

“Don Giovanni,” Chicago Opera Theater

—Dennis Polkow

Top 5 Productions of Shakespeare

“As You Like It,” Writers Theatre

“Comedy of Errors,” Chicago Shakespeare

“Much Ado About Nothing,” First Folio

“Merchant of Venice,” Boho

“Twelfth Night,” City Lit

—Dennis Polkow

Top 5 Touring Shows

“Saint Joan,” Shaw Festival Canada, Chicago Shakespeare

“Cirque du Soleil: Kooza,” United Center

“The Drowsy Chaperone,” Broadway in Chicago

“My Fair Lady,” National Theatre London, Broadway in Chicago

“Jesus Christ Superstar,” Broadway in Chicago

—Dennis Polkow

Top 5 Holiday Shows

“The Christmas Schooner,” Bailiwick Theater

“A Dublin Carol,” Steppenwolf Theatre

“A Christmas Carol,” Writers Theatre

“Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular,” Rosemont Theatre

“The Seafarer,” Steppenwolf Theatre

—Dennis Polkow

Top 5 Comedy Shows

“Impress These Apes,” Blewt!

“Shatter,” Pat O’Brien’s solo show at Second City e.t.c.

Steve and Jordan, Respectively” i.O. Theater

“Brother, Can You Spare Some Change?” Second City e.t.c.

“PennyBear: A Collection of Miniature Plays and Curious Diversions,” Apollo Theater Studio

—Nina Metz

Top 5 Female Performances

Janet Ulrich Brooks, “Golda’s Balcony,” Pegasus Players

Christina Anthony, “Brother, Can You Spare Some Change?” Second City e.t.c.

Erin Barlow, “Red Angel,” LiveWire

Sarah Goeden, “13 Dead Husbands,” Sansculottes Theater

Rachel Quinn, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” Circle Theatre

—Nina Metz

Top 5 Male Performances

David Cromer, “Our Town,” The Hypocrites

Usman Ally, “Celebrity Row,” American Theater Company

Steve Wilson, “Red Angel,” LiveWire

Edward Thomas-Herrera, “The Last Days of Beast,” Live Bait’s Fillet of Solo Festival

Daniel Behrendt, “Beggars in the House of Plenty,” Mary-Arrchie

—Nina Metz

Top 5 Out-of-the-Box Performances

“Inner Space,” Joffrey Ballet’s American Moderns

“Walking Mad,” Hubbard Street Dance Winter Series

“The Young Ladies Of…,” About Face Theatre

“Dr. Egg and the Man With No Ear,” Redmoon Theater

“One on One,” Hubbard Street Dance Winter Series

—William Rogers

Top 5 Dance Shows by Chicago Companies

“The Sky Hangs Down Too Close,” Lucky Plush Productions

“Nuevo Folk,” Luna Negra Dance Theater

“De-Evolution of Mudwoman,” Breakbone DanceCo

“Vintage Modern,” Same Planet Different World Dance

“American Moderns,” Joffrey Ballet

—Sharon Hoyer

Top 5 Overrated Productions

“Dave DaVinci Saves the Universe,” House Theatre

“Dirty Dancing,” Broadway in Chicago

“Shining City,” Goodman Theatre

“The Glass Menagerie,” Shattered Globe Theatre

“Scenes from the Big Picture,” Seanachai Theatre

—Fabrizio O. Almeida

Top 5 Theatrical Disappointments

“Dirty Dancing,” Broadway in Chicago

“Les Miserables,” Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre

“Yohen,” Silk Road Theatre Project

“Richard III,” Strawdog Theatre

“Macbeth,” Greasy Joan & Co.

—Fabrizio O. Almeida

 

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