Top 9 Most Memorable Locally Produced Live Performance Offerings That I Chanced to See in 2009

A theatre year of crazy families, love lost and found, and lots of dancing

<i>Murder Ballad Murder Mystery</i>
Murder Ballad Murder Mystery (Photo courtesy of Kimberley Mead)

1) 'DIONYSUS IN 69' (RUDE MECHANICALS) Ritual performance. Sensuality, nudity, birthing. Group dancing, heterosexuality, homosexuality, orgy. A fitting dismemberment. Cunning. Joyful. Transcendent. Theatre at its absolute best. Directed by Madge Darlington and Shawn Sides.

2) 'MURDER BALLAD MURDER MYSTERY' (TUTTO THEATRE COMPANY/VORTEX REPERTORY COMPANY) A hillbilly band, a pool of water, a fire in a night yard. Ladders and ramps, people swingin' from the ceilin', dancin', singin', murderin', and livin' to tell about it. Directed by Dustin Wills.

3) 'HOUSE OF SEVERAL STORIES' (IMAGINE THAT PRODUCTIONS) A mother (Lauren Lane), a daughter (Meredith McCall), and a son (Martin Burke) bouncing like absurd, comic human bullets around the walls of a Thanksgiving suburban home. Directed by John Boulanger.

4) 'SHOOTING STAR' (ZACH THEATRE) A really sweet and simple Steven Dietz story about love lost, then found, then lost again, with two oh-so-sweet performances by Barbara Chisholm and Jamie Goodwin. Directed by Dietz.

5) 'KILLER JOE' (CAPITAL T THEATRE) Disgusting, repulsive, irredeemable – but what would you expect from a trailer trash odyssey like this? What I won't forget: Joe Reynolds as the patriarch and Travis Dean's ultraviolent fight choreography. Directed by Mark Pickell.

6) 'LA BOHÈME' (AUSTIN LYRIC OPERA) Few things can compete with pure spectacle, and few companies in Austin can produce a spectacle so worthy of Puccini's famous tragedy. Directed by Garnett Bruce and conducted by Richard Buckley.

7) 'RABBIT HOLE' (CITY THEATRE COMPANY) A Pulitzer Prize-winning script and an ensemble of able actors, especially Michael Schnick, treated death gently and wisely. Directed by Stacey Glazer.

8) 'THE PAJAMA GAME' (MARY MOODY NORTHEN THEATRE) Boys! Girls! Love in a pajama factory and all of the usual Broadway song and dance, pulled off neatly by a cast of students. Directed by Michael McKelvey.

9) 'AS YOU LIKE IT' (SCOTTISH RITE THEATRE) Lovers. Clowns. Shakespeare! What more could you require? Well, how about the perfectly set Scottish Rite Theatre and Robert Matney as Jaques? Directed by Beth Burns.

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Top 10, Rude Mechs, Tutto Theatre Company, Zach Theatre, Imagine That Productions, Capital T Theatre, Austin Lyric Opera, City Theatre Company, Mary Moody Northen Theatre, Scottish Rite Theatre

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