Critics and award judges have been talking about it for weeks: The sheer amount of high quality work has made evaluating the last 12 months unusually challenging, but also an opportunity to remember one of the most rewarding calendar years in recent memory. So here’s a supremely subjective stab by all three critics here at Florida Theater On Stage at recognizing the shows and performances that stood out from a pack of productions.
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Tagged 1776, A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay about the Death of Walt Disney, Actors Playhouse, After, Alex Alvarez, An Act of God, Andre' L Gainey, Anna Lise Jensen, Area Stage Co., Arts Garage, Arturo Rossi, Avery Sommers, Aygemang Clay, Barbara Bradshaw, Ben Bagby. The Normal Heart, Bert Rodriguez, Bessie Smith: The Devils’ Music, Betsy Graver, Broward Stage Door, Buyer & Cellar, Caryl Fantel, Charlie Cinnamon, Chris Crawford, Clay Cartland, Conor Walton, Dan Knechtges, David Arisco, David Nagy, Deana Butler-Rahming Ja’Nia Harden, Deborah Zoe Laufer, Elizabeth Dimon, Evening Star Productions, Feeding The Bear, Florida Grand Opera, GableStage, Genie Croft, Gregg Weiner, Gretchen Porro, Ground Up and Rising, Hand To God, Heathers, Helen Gregory, I Love A Piano, Island City Stage, James Brennan, Jeni Hacker, Jim Gibbons, Jodi Dellaventura, John Harden II, Joseph Adler, Julie Kleiner Davis, Karen Stephens, Keith Garsson, Kevin Black, Kristian Bikic, Larry Buzzeo, Laura Hodos, Lindsey Corey, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Louis Tyrrell, Lourelene Snedeker, Mad Cat Theatre Company, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Marco Ramirez, Margery Lowe, Maria Elena Garcia, Mark Duncan, Matt Loehr, Matthew Korinko, Maureen Anderman, Me and My Girl, Mia Matthews, Michael Aman, Michael McKeever, Million Dollar Quartet, Mud, Murdered To Death, New Theatre, Nicholas Richberg, Nicole Stodard, Niki Fridh, Our Lady of 121st Street, outre theatre company, Palm Beach Dramaworks, Parallel Lives Chris Crawford, Passion, Patrick Fitzwater, Paul Tei, Perfect Arrangement, Peter Galman, Peter Lovello, Putting It Together, Rapture Blister Burn, Ricky J. Martinez, Ron Hutchins, Roof, Rudi Goblen, Sarah Gracel Anderson, Shein Mompremier, Simply Simone: The Music of Nina Simone, Skye Whitcomb, Slow Burn Theatre Company, Smoke, Sondheim On Sondheim, Spring Awakening, Stuart Meltzer, Teddy Harrell, The Flick, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Minister’s Wife, The Nether, The Passenger, The Realistic Joneses, The Royale, The Soul of Motor City, The Wick Theatre, The World Goes Round, Theatre At Arts Garage, Theatre Lab at Florida Atlantic University, Thinking Cap Theatre, This Random World, Three Sisters of Weekhauken, Toddra Brunson, Tom Wahl, Wesley Slade, West Side Story, William Hayes
The Maltz’s 2016 production of a 1948 classic Kiss Me Kate is a skilled homage to that post-war period of theater when everyone knew which war you were talking about. A mixture of classic theater tropes leavened with a sophisticated satirical tone, this musical-within-a-musical-within-a-musical often lets its then-hip veneer slip to expose a lushly romantic soul.
If it’s about as substantial as cotton candy that doesn’t stick to your ribs very long, the Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s co-production with the Papermill Playhouse of Throughly Modern Millie is a delightfully sweet confection whipped up by some very talented folks.