Oh, 2011, I am so glad you are over. Yet, while there is a lot that went wrong in the past year, theatre is not one of them. I had a goal to surpass my 2010 tally of 48 theatrical shows seen. I am proud to say that at the close of 2011, I have seen 56 theatrical productions from San Diego, Los Angeles, to Portland and San Francisco. I was happy to see everything from young adult productions to full glitzy professional productions.
As recap, here are a few of my favorite productions from 2011. (no idea why some areas are highlighted…sorry)
Ahmanson Theatre – Bring It On!
This show was a hot mess, but it was fun, bright and a good time at the theatre (and sometimes that all that counts, right?). The cheerleading was amazing and the crowd went wild.
The Old Vic – Richard the III (San Francisco, Curran Theatre)
What else to say but “Wow”, this show was epic in everyway. The cast from The Old Vic breathed life into this Shakespearian classic, Chuk Iwuji played the “deep revolving Buckingham” like a slick politico or infomercial salesman superbly, but it was the star Kevin Spacey who made this world his own. Falsely innocent, heartlessly ambitious and completely self-loathing, he didn’t just portray this person; he gave him a depth and charm that made you kind of want him as king.
Coronado School of the Arts- The Laramie Project
This encore performance staged reading featuring students from the Coronado School of the Arts was a stirring reminder of a story of a town touched by hate and a showcased some amazingly talented kids.
Cygnet Theatre – Cabaret
Karson St. John’s Emcee goes from comic and friendly to terrifying and sinister and was the anchor to the wonderful cast in this gritty and entertaining production.
The Old Globe – Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show
This rollicking musical was a fun revival of a cult classic. The cast, the fabulous Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter and the audience interaction all added up to one fun time at the theatre.
La Jolla Playhouse – Jesus Christ Superstar
Sing hosanna, this revival, fresh from the Stratford Shakespeare Festival before going to Broadway, was a much more contemporary retelling of the last week of Jesus’ life. The three lead performers made their acting match the soaring music and brought the show to a sharp and poignant focus.
Chinese Pirate Productions – Dr. Horrible’ Sing Along Blog
This shows fun and inventive staging and strong performances from the cast made this show a blast to watch. Who doesn’t like to root for the villain, jeer the hero and support a local theatre in the process?
Cygnet Theatre- Little Shop of Horrors
This fun musical referenced every production of this show, from its B-movie origins to the 80’s musical movie with 50’s camp in between. The monochrome staging made this all about the only thing in color, the plant from outer space and what its plans are for Earth.
The Old Globe –Jane Austen’s Emma – A Romantic Musical Comedy
This charming and fun musical was a sweet portrayal of Austen’s favorite meddling matchmaker. The set, the costumes and the songs all seemed to finally hit their stride in this production (the show had traveled and been revised quite a bit prior to this one).
La Jolla Playhouse – Little Miss Sunshine
This ultimate dysfunctional family road trip had a fun cast and a way of making this crazy car trip entertaining. With an inventive way of making a car trip theatrical and some entertaining (if uneven) numbers and pacing this was a fun new show.
In the end, I am excited to start 2012 for a variety of reasons, but mostly I am excited to sample some more fun and fabulous theatre. I don’t believe I can beat 56 productions in a year without quitting my job and dedicating myself to the task, which I am not against but my husband is (so mean) so I hope to match that number if I am able.
I am not one for resolutions, but hopefully I will be as consistent in posting here as I would like and I look forward to hearing from you, my tens of readers J
Have a fabulous new year and happy theatre viewing!