Editor’s note: This is the third in a continuing series featuring Top 10 of the Decade lists from local experts.
30 best from the stage
American Theatre Critics Association member and reviewer at GailSez.org.
10 Best Stage Comedies
All of these were just hilarious. Shakespeare and Company is the clear winner in this category, and two of their four shows were free outdoor offerings on the tented Rose Footprint Theatre.
Beyond Therapy, 2000, Victory Street Productions (sadly now defunct)
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, 2000, 2001 and 2003, Shakespeare and Company
The Hound of the Baskervilles, 2009, Shakespeare and Company
The Imaginary Invalid, 2007, Bakerloo Theatre Project
The Importance of Being Earnest, 2003, Theatre Company at Hubbard Hall
The Miser, 2007, Theatre Company at Hubbard Hall
The Mystery of Irma Vep, 2000, Weston Playhouse Theatre Company
Rumors, 2002, Ghent Playhouse
Scapin, 2007, Shakespeare and Company
The Servant of Two Masters, 2006, Shakespeare and Company
10 Best Stage Dramas
Eight of my picks in this category were staged by community theaters or non-Equity companies, most utilizing local talent. The professional companies stage fine productions of meaningful dramas, but that’s what you expect them to do. When you see your next-door neighbor get up on the stage and move you to tears, that’s special.
A Body of Water, 2007, Oldcastle Theatre Company
All My Sons, 2009, Main Street Stage
The Beauty Queen of Leenane, 2003, Ghent Playhouse
The Elephant Man, 2007, The Theatre Company at Hubbard Hall
Hamlet: What Dreams May Come, 2009, Bakerloo Theatre Project
Molly Sweeney, 2006, Town Players of Pittsfield
The Retreat from Moscow, 2005, Chester Theatre Company
The Tempest, 2008, Cap and Bells
Uncle Vanya, 2007, The Theatre Company at Hubbard Hall
Waiting for Godot, 2008, Berkshire Theatre Festival
10 Best Stage Musicals
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, 2004 and 2008, Barrington Stage Company
What fun to see a musical in the making! I slithered through February slush from Williamstown to Sheffield to see the workshop production in 2004, which was unforgettable.
Ain’t Misbehavin’, 2006, C-R Productions at the Cohoes Music Hall
C-R Productions is one of the few companies in the region to regularly present shows with large numbers of African-American performers. This was my favorite, but "Ragtime" and "Dreamgirls" were also excellent showcases for an underutilized pool of regional talent.
Falsettos, 2002, Barrington Stage Company
"Follies" was a close runner-up for BSC, but this smaller, quieter musical really moved me.
Henry’s House, 2002, Theatre Company at Hubbard Hall
Weird, wild and wonderful! The book was incoherent, but the rock music was exciting and the cast, almost all of whom were under 20, was amazing.
La Cage Aux Folles, 2006 and 2008, C-R Productions at the Cohoes Music Hall
The Mac-Haydn Theatre
The Mac-Haydn, which produces nothing but musicals, routinely mounts one or two really excellent productions each summer. I found it impossible to choose a favorite!
Pippin, 2007, Mill City Productions
Ragtime, 2003, Weston Playhouse Theatre Company
She Loves Me, 2008, Williamstown Theatre Festival
Urinetown, 2006, Theater Barn
The Barn routinely stages a couple of smart, small musicals each August.