10 That Get 10s in 2003

Pepe Romero
Pepe Romero

1) Ron Berry and The North Project (Refraction Arts Project) Ron Berry led a talented creative team on a quest through the Blue Theater to discover our fascination with all things North. Arctic and cathartic, this total-theatre journey will linger long after the last snows have melted.

2) Pepe Romero (Austin Classical Guitar Society) Mesmerizing, inspirational, and affable, Romero is classical guitar's leading light, and dazzle us he did.

3) Garry Peters in Hedda (the dirigo group) At the climax of the dirigo group's reinvention of Hedda Gabler, Peters, as the manipulative and increasingly looming Judge Brack, slowly turned to look at Christa Kimlicko Jones' Hedda, and, in a mind-numbingly methodical instant, All Was Made Dreadfully Clear. Brilliant.

4) Alegría (Cirque du Soleil) Could anything top the pure theatrical spectacle of this touring show? Nope. From the first glimpse of the white peaks of tent tops on Robert Mueller's derelict horizon to the blasts of color, sound, movement, and imagination within, the show was pure exuberant escapism and a total thrill.

5) Paul Badura-Skoda (A. Mozart Fest) If Pepe Romero is God's gift to the classical guitar, can this Austrian maestro be anything less to the piano? AMF brought Badura-Skoda back to town for a second concert in two years. Could we be lucky enough for a hat trick?

6) Jenifer Thyssen in Earthly Delights (La Follia) Love was the musical theme in this La Follia concert, and guest soprano Thyssen sang all love's delightful aspects with precision, grace, warmth, and, ahem, the occasional earthiness.

7) Allison Orr's Sextet (Sharir+Bustamante Danceworks) Choreographer Orr's contribution to S+BD's States of Grace program partnered two dancers with two blind men and their seeing-eye dogs -- with audio description -- for some whimsical and touchingly clever choreography.

8) Fran Dorn in Mrs. Warren's Profession (State Theater Company) A more powerful performance you did not see in 2003 (unless you caught her as Martha in Zach's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?). Dorn took this riveting State Theater production by storm.

9) The Kodoskys -- Donors to Austin Arts The Kodosky name appears in practically every playbill in town. Thank you to Gail and Jeff, and the many like them, who give to a wide range of local arts groups.

10) The Woman in Black (State Theater Company) A lush, spine-chilling story woven by a talented team of theatre artists including Christopher McCollum (set), Richard Winkler (lights), Buffy Manners (costumes), Rachel Magee (props), the Gunn Brothers (sound), and actors Corey Gagne and Paul Norton, all excellently directed by Michelle Polgar. (Yes, yes; that's me missus! At least I left it until the end, eh?)

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