1) A Thought in Three Parts (Rubber Repertory) This unashamedly obscene, relatively old Wallace Shawn script was considered by many to be unstageable, until Austin's Rubber Rep took it on. Challenging? You betcha. Risky? Cornered the market. Best show of the year? Without question. Directed by Carlos Treviño, Matt Hislope, and Josh Meyer.
2) Funnyhouse of a Negro (Austin Community College Drama Department/ProArts Collective) The insanity of racism and the self-hatred it engenders, actualized in a theatre. Directed by Marcus McQuirter.
3) Big River (TexARTS) One of the best musicals I've seen in 20 years in Austin. Directed by Franchelle Stewart Dorn.
4) Dance Carousel (Spank Dance Company/Austin Independent Choreographers) Spank's annual FronteraFest contribution. Always different, always innovative, always entertaining. Conceived by Ellen Bartel.
5) Trickster (Vortex Repertory Company) If you didn't see Matt Hislope play the Fool, then you missed one of the outstanding Austin musical performances of this or any other year. Directed by Bonnie Cullum.
6) La Dispute (Capital T Theatre Company) The most consistently funny comedy I saw all year was this relatively ancient Marivaux script. Directed by Mark Pickell.
7) The Ultimate Christmas Musical: The Musical! (Yellow Tape Construction Co.) You want camp? You got camp. And Christmas, too! Directed by Jonathon Morgan.
8) A Beautiful View (the dirigo group) Daniel MacIvor's script about love deferred, staged simply and beautifully. Directed by Lowell Bartholomee.
9) The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? (Different Stages) One of the last productions to grace the stage at play! Theatre was this brilliant American tragedy by Edward Albee. Directed by Norman Blumensaadt.
10) Brilliant Traces (The Vestige Group) Cindy Lou Johnson's strange love story, most notable for the performances by Jen Brown and, especially, Andrew Varenhorst. Directed by Susie Gidseg.
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