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September 21, 2006

Austinist Picks...

We *dare* you...!

As happens this time every year, the last few months have been pretty slow at Austinist Theatre Central. The 2005-2006 season wrapped by late August or so, including the shorter, simpler summer productions and workshops that seem to be mainstays of so many local theatre companies. Finally the '06-'07 season is well planned and underway, and while we're looking forward to some exciting upcoming productions, we're also in the mood to look back at the madness and mayhem of the last 12 months of theatre. Part of what's got us feeling so misty-eyed and retrospective is the B. Iden Payne nominations. Along with the Austin Critic's Table Awards, the Bippies are Austin's annual theatre kudos. You never know who'll get a nod...and who won't.

Here at your favorite online resource for All Things Theatre, we like to keep it simple. Perhaps you've noticed that we share most of the duties between two writers: Jooley Ann and Jonathon Morgan. We tend to divvy up everything from who sees which shows, to whose turn it is to provide the requisite Editor Backrubs. To that end, we thought two lists of "Best Theatre in Austin" would be better than one. Otherwise we'd have had to resort to name-calling, no-holds-barred thumb warring, and other outrages upon personal dignity to determine who's really tops.

So without further ado, here are our picks for the best of the boards.

Jooley Ann
1. Hyde Park Theatre's Glory of Living. This show came to mind just the other day. Lo these many months later, I still think of it once every few weeks. The story hit me hard. The last scene between Kelsey Kling and Kenneth Wayne Bradley was incredibly moving and so nicely played -- it was one of those super-memorable theatre moments. But the production as a whole was top notch, for which I give kudos to the entire cast as well as director Ken Webster. This one has stuck with me in a very tangible, meaningful way. To me, that's what outstanding theatre is all about.

2. The wacky, fun, and utterly original I Love My Dead Gay Son: The Musical! So memorable. So irreverent. And such a freakin' blast! Sure, my own colleague Jonathon Morgan is Co Artistic Director for the producing company, Yellow Tape Construction. So you can call me biased if you want to. But everyone I know who saw this show thought it was a laugh-riot, as it most certainly was. Not to mention a showcase for some fabulous talent that has recently hit our already impressive theatre scene. Great, fresh work from these new kids on the block. I'm looking forward to seeing what they do next.

3. dirigo group's In On It. I had a dream about this show a few nights ago. Robert Faires was featured heavily, I'm sure because I enjoyed his work so much in this piece. He and Scotty Roberts turned out solid, lingering performances that scaled and plumbed emotional heights and depths. Truly stellar work, doing justice to Lowell Bartholomee's direction Daniel MacIvor's script. Oh, and if you missed it, and if you're very very sad (as well you should be)...a little birdie tells me you'll get another chance to catch this production come early 2007.

Jonathon Morgan
1. Match Play. Best show of the year, plain and simple. Adapted from Deborah Hay’s Bessie Award winning The Match by Kirk Lynn and the rest of the Rude Mechs (directed by Shawn Sides), this was by far the most intelligent and compelling show produced in Austin this year. In true Rude style, Austin’s favorite champions of absurdism managed to be both weird as shit and delightfully, playfully entertaining in one smooth, articulate theatrical tour de awesome.

2. Requiem. Blue Lapis Light (Sally Jacques) hit a home run this time. The ever-so-slightly pretentious noble pacing of Jacques work and her undeniably beautiful imagery finds just the right setting on and above the old Intel Building. Coupled with virtuosic lighting design by Jason Amato, the spectacle of this event was truly stunning. (Good news for you, it’s running again this October, so stay tuned.)

3. Americamisfit. There was an enormous amount going on in Dan Dietz’s explosive examination of Americana, anti-Americana and good ‘ol fashioned revolution. The production wasn’t perfect, but a brilliant new play was born in Salvage Vanguard’s staging, directed by Jason Neulander. A uniformly solid cast with notably exceptional performances by the four young leads (Brent Werzner, Andrea Skola, Jenny Larson and Travis York), played off some bad ass rockabilly music. Oh yeah, and Jason Newman was downright outstanding as the band leader.

Posted by Jooley Ann in Theatre | Recommend this! (2) |

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Comments

Thanks for the inclusion of IN ON IT, Jooley! You make our ears turn red.

And, yes, word is racing through the diminutive bird community. January approaches and so does the return of IOI! Hope to see everyone there!

In On It, best show of the year, in my humble opinion.

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