1. The Birthday Party (Cockroach Theatre) Funny and malevolent staging from director Erik Amblad combined with top-notch performances from the entire cast. You may have wondered what was happening in the play, but there was no doubt about its quality.
2. Stones in His Pockets (British National Theatre of America) Bravura performances from Miles Coleman and Jeff Tribbitt rang sweetly, triumphantly and authentically true when Troy Heard staged this in the back of an Irish pub.
3. Legally Blonde (P.S. Productions) I was shocked by how much I liked this production of the world’s pinkest musical, but it was so much fun and so well done I still find myself revisiting it.
4. Next to Normal (Huntsman Entertainment & Off Strip Productions) Performances by Briona Daugherty, Cory Benway and Kirstin Maki performances captured a family in turmoil and found the electrifying heart to this musical.
5. Normal Heart (Poor Richard’s Players) A strong cast and excellent staging kept this play grounded, heartbreaking and galvanizing despite some over-the-top acting moments.