Top 10 Most Memorable Locally Produced Live Performance Offerings That I Chanced to See in 2008

Chronicle Arts writer Barry Pineo on the most memorable moments onstage in 2008

<i>Hamilton Township</i>
Hamilton Township

1) Hamilton Township (Salvage Vanguard Theater) This original production of Jason Grote's savagely funny play, with a stunning lead turn by Jude Hickey, was by far the best live theatre production I saw this past year. Directed by Jenny Larson.

2) Five.Two.Ten (Ariel Dance Theatre) Short, sweet dances that were simply stunningly beautiful. With music by Peter Stopschinski and Graham Reynolds and projections by Nick Keene and Colin Lowry. Directed by Andrea Ariel.

3) Always ... Patsy Cline (TexARTS) TexARTS' first show in its new Lakeway space was a rip-roarin', foot-stompin', hand-clappin' success. With a star-making turn by Selena Rosanbalm. Directed by Todd Dellinger.

4) Cinderella (Austin Lyric Opera) The first opera I'd ever seen and hopefully not the last. Starring the Long Center's Dell Hall. Directed by Garnett Bruce.

5) Crimes of the Heart (City Theatre Company) Beth Henley's comedy-drama given the sweet and gentle treatment it so greatly deserves. Directed by Jennifer McKenna.

6) The Nina Variations (Gobotrick Theatre Company) A funny, moving two-hander featuring two characters from Chekhov's The Seagull. Directed by Will Hollis Snider.

7) Big Love (UT Department of Theatre & Dance) Charles Mee's "modern reconstruction" of a trilogy of Aeschylus tragedies. Directed by Franchelle Stewart Dorn.

8) Garden District (Different Stages) I don't often see successful stagings of Tennessee Williams' plays, but these two one-acts were exceptions to the rule. Directed by Norman Blumensaadt.

9) The Casket of Passing Fancy (Rubber Repertory) While it felt somehow incomplete, this parlor game-cum-interactive theatre piece was the most original production I saw last year. Directed by Josh Meyer and Matt Hislope.

10) Stones in His Pockets (Austin Play­house) Another funny, moving two-hander, this time with the actors playing multiple roles, about Hollywood invading a small Irish town. Directed by Don Toner.

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Top 10 Arts2008, Salvage Vanguard Theater, Ariel Dance Theatre, TexARTS, City Theatre Company, Austin Lyric Opera, Gobotrick Theatre Company

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