Local Pittsburgh theater produced memorable moments in 2012
Good theater can be simultaneously ephemeral and eternal.
Fail to see a show before it closes, and you've missed that production forever.
On the other hand, some shows live on in memory long after the costumes have been packed away and the sets consigned to the warehouse or the dumpster.
A list of the year's best is highly subjective.
Ask any six theatergoers to create a list of the year's top 10 shows, and you'll likely get six different lists plus a request for an extra slot or two.
For theater critics, it's even tougher. We see more shows and a wider selection of genres, companies and styles.
Years ago, someone asked me what kind of theater I liked best.
I think they were expecting a category answer — dramas, comedies, musicals, classics or new works.
My answer was: Plays that surprise me, entertain me or challenge my thinking.
The list below is not ranked in any particular order, because each of them artfully and entertainingly fit all of most of those criteria.
They're the locally produced shows from this year that linger on in memory long after their departure.
• “Strata,” Bricolage Production Company: It took a community to produce this immersive, audience-interactive urban experience that blurred the boundaries between theater and reality with a journey unlike anything else theatergoers experienced this year.
• The Chekhov Celebration, Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre: Two full plays and two programs of shorter works by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov demonstrated that yes, Chekhov can be funny as well as moving.
• “South Side Stories,” City Theatre Company: Tami Dixon, a skilled and versatile artist wrote and performed this highly entertaining one-woman show that captured the nuances, quirks and authenticity of several dozen South Side residents and the neighborhood they — and she — call home.
• “Ruthless The Musical,” CLO Cabaret: A giddy, spoofy over the top farce that skewers the drive for theatrical fame left no laugh unexploited and kept the pace fast, furious and funny.
• “August: Osage County,” The Rep: Actress Mary Rawson's raw and potent performance as the family's manipulative matriarch drove this tense drama of a dysfunctional family, each of whom is unhappy in their own way.
• “Dutchman,” Bricolage Production Company and the August Wilson Center: Director Mark Southers and actors Tami Dixon and Jonathan Berry rekindled the flames of Amiri Baraka's incendiary, painfully discomforting 50-year-old drama on race relations.
• “Ainadamar,” Quantum Theatre: music director Andres Cladera and director Karla Boos created an ephemeral, operatic world where past and present, fact and fable, memory and reality collide in a story of love, loyalty and patriotism.
• “The Pitmen Painters,” Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre: Proving that a play can be both entertaining and thought-provoking, director Andrew S. Paul and a cast of nine created a lively, disarmingly funny discussion of big ideas about what art is, isn't and ought to be.
• “Pop!” City Theatre Company: A musical about Andy Warhol as irreverent, raucous and unpredictable as the pop artist himself. Anthony Rapp embodied the complex, emotionally remote Warhol against a colorful montage of projections that evoked an era, an attitude and an iconic artist.
• “Born Yesterday,” Pittsburgh Public Theater: Melissa Miller, Brandon Lambert and Daniel Krell formed the lively love triangle in this Pittsburgh Public Theater production of Garson Kanin's 66-year-old comedic drama about influence peddling and secret deals in Washington, D.C.
Alice T. Carter is the theater critic for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7808 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates expect high prices in trade market
- Steelers hope new faces breathe life into team
- Tuesday’s scouting report: Pirates at Giants
- Westmoreland women stole thousands to finance dog show appearances
- Latrobe man who admitted role in fatal crash allowed to continue driving
- Inside the ropes: Shazier shows off speed
- Area woman named Mrs. Pennsylvania; targets child bullys
- Rutgers football coach says Scarlet Knights, Big Ten is ‘a tremendous marriage’
- Approval for Wal-Mart closer in McCandless
- Steelers notebook: Team hasn’t called on Keisel, Harrison yet
- 1 intruder killed, other shot and wounded in Carrick home invasion