The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Moonsigns  |  Band Guide  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
Books  |  Comedy  |  Dance  |  Museum And Gallery  |  Theater

Boston’s Best Theater Productions of 2010

Busting out all over
By CAROLYN CLAY  |  January 4, 2011

THE ALIENS: Beckett meets Bogosian in this “Shirley, VT” play from Annie Baker, but the real news was that three Boston companies teamed up to give us the entire Shirley trilogy.

Renovation and reanimation were the news this year, and that led one to wonder: if the Fabulous Invalid is so sick, why does it need so many new cribs? On Washington Street alone, spring saw the opening of Emerson College’s beautifully restored Paramount Center and fall the opening of Suffolk University’s Modern Theatre, both rescued from Combat Zone squalor by knights of academe. Then in June, new presenter ArtsEmerson announced inaugural programming for the Paramount’s two stages that promised to knock theatergoers’ socks off, ranging from Ireland’s leading theaters to productions by legendary director Peter Brook. Also returned from the dead is North Shore Music Theatre, which had canceled its 2009 season, only to be up and singing again in 2010. But enough about real estate and on to the most memorable of what went on behind the fourth wall.

The first of several marathons this year, GATZ stretched itself across six and a half hours and the Loeb Drama Center stage in an Elevator Repair Service production presented by the American Repertory Theatre. The dingy office setting looked more 1990s than Roaring ’20s, but the script of this mesmeric tour de force consisted of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby read, every gorgeous phoneme, in its entirety, often amid a swirl of file cabinets and flying paper. A spellbinding experience in which the elegantly conjured events of the book gradually overtook the mundane doings of the workplace, the piece was both a testament to the power of prose and a reflection on the quixotic, ephemeral nature of performance.

The Huntington Theatre Company proved itself master of the family drama with stellar productions of Arthur Miller’s ALL MY SONS, directed by David Esbjornson, and Lydia R. Diamond’s STICK FLY, directed by Kenny Leon. Wrenchingly acted by Karen MacDonald and Will Lyman, this Sons captured not just the Ibsen but also the anguished O’Neill in Miller’s moral drama. And Diamond, peeking into the closets of an upper-class African-American family, proved you can also add a splash of O’Neill to an audacious cocktail of Cosby and cultural anthropology.

Desperation clashed with decorum in two proofs that if the heart is a lonely hunter, it is also a ruthless one. The Publick Theatre revived Joe Orton’s deliciously Freudian 1964 absurdist comedy ENTERTAINING MR. SLOANE, in which middle-aged siblings war in doily-covered Brit surroundings for the sexual ministrations of a sly young pick-up. Eric Engel directed an excellent cast led by Sandra Shipley’s dowdy mix of doormat and cougar. In Terrence McNally’s less archly written but even grittier game of seduction, FRANKIE AND JOHNNY IN THE CLAIR DE LUNE, Anne Gottlieb and Robert Pemberton made beautiful losers of the title pair in Antonio Ocampo-Guzman’s staging for New Repertory Theatre.

1  |  2  |   next >
Related: 2010: The Year In Pop Music, The Top 10 Films of 2010, 4 New Obscure Music Subgenres of 2010, More more >
  Topics: Theater , Theater, Paramount Theatre, Stick Fly,  More more >
| More
Add Comment
HTML Prohibited

 Friends' Activity   Popular   Most Viewed 
[ 02/22 ]   Amy Chua  @ Harvard Book Store
[ 02/22 ]   BU Cinematheque  @ Boston University College of Communication
[ 02/22 ]   "John La Farge's Second Paradise: Voyages in the South Seas, 1890–1891"  @ Addison Gallery of American Art
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   REVIEW: THE DRUID’S FINE TRIP TO INISHMAAN  |  February 04, 2011
    Although Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan is the least likely of his plays to provoke a riot, as John Millington Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World did at its 1907 Dublin premiere, it is the most Synge-like of the Anglo-Irish dramatist’s works.
  •   REVIEW: SPEAKEASY MAKES THE BEST OF NINE  |  February 01, 2011
    Music had better be the food of love in Nine , because there's little else in the Tony-winning show to indicate why its middle-aged, three-timing protagonist is such a chick magnet.
  •   HISTORY AND MYSTERY  |  January 27, 2011
    In 1975 in Philadelphia, R. Buckminster Fuller delivered a 42-hour talk titled "Everything I Know." Even in this day of marathon theater events, that might be a hard sell.
    I've seen a lot of musicals in development; this is the first I've seen about development.
  •   REVIEW: THE HUNTINGTON'S RUINED  |  January 18, 2011
    Even if it did not ride piggyback on the monumental shoulders of Bertolt Brecht, Lynn Nottage's 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner, Ruined , would stand tall.

 See all articles by: CAROLYN CLAY

RSS Feed of for the most popular articles
 Most Viewed   Most Emailed 

  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
Copyright © 2011 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group