1. Bug (Cockroach Theatre) Cockroach had an exceptionally strong year, and I could easily have included more of their productions on this list, but Bug stands out thanks to its buzzing, crackling energy and darkly triumphant finale.
2. A Summons From the Tinker to Assemble the Membership in Secret at the Usual Place (A Public Fit) A Public Fit has made public conversation around theater its mission, and made it the heart of this original production, surrounded by superb performances and a haunting found space.
3. Once on This Island (Broadway in the Hood) Broadway in the Hood impressed with its production of this little-known gem at the Smith Center, then reprised it with an equally spectacular version to kick off an official residency there.
4. Avenue Q (Las Vegas Little Theatre) It’s amazing that a show can be at once dirty, ironic and full of heart, yet this production managed it, and had the sold-out crowds all summer long to prove it.
5. Motel (Table 8 Productions) The fullest realization of director Troy Heard’s ambitious vision was a fever-dream of discomfort and dysfunction, as well as deep emotional (and physical) intimacy.