Top 10 Arts Events of 2012

Remembering the year onstage in dynamic acting, atmospheric design, and unexpected beauty

Dueling puppets: Zac Crofford in <i>Toil and Trouble</i>
Dueling puppets: Zac Crofford in Toil and Trouble (Photo courtesy of Trouble Puppet Theater Company)

In no order:

1) FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY FOR 'TOIL AND TROUBLE' (Trouble Puppet Theater Company) Trouble Puppet has proven itself good at everything, and when it pulls off the unexpected – like compelling, well-articulated stage combat – it just serves notice that they're still finding new ways to impress you.

2) NOEL GAULIN IN EVERYTHING Gaulin had a hell of a year – screaming, jumping, moving-as-if-on-strings, and otherwise turning himself into a live-action cartoon character in The Bear, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, and Vodka, Fucking, and Television.

3) RACHEL WEISE'S DIRECTION Yeah, my wife wrote one of the lovely plays Weise directed this year, The Man Who Planted Trees. But I also loved her staging of The Bear by Anton Chekhov, and I've never even met him.

4) THE SCRIPT FOR 'MESSENGER NO. 4 (OR ... HOW TO SURVIVE A GREEK TRAGEDY)' (Cambiare Productions) Will Hollis Snider's charming and inventive epic blended Back to the Future, The Matrix, and Euripedes into something altogether new.

5) THE FINAL MINUTES OF 'JUBILEE' (Rub­ber Repertory) Making your cast jump up and down for an interminable amount of time sounds boring, and making boring-sounding things beautiful was what Jubilee did best.

6) THE ATMOSPHERE OF 'DREAM CABINET' (Salvage Vanguard Theater) Few productions set a mood more effectively.

7) EVERYTHING ABOUT 'LEGALLY BLONDE: THE MUSICAL' (Summer Stock Austin) I'm not made of stone, you guys.

8) BETH BRODERICK IN 'JUST OUTSIDE REDEMPTION' (Theatre en Bloc) Broderick stole every scene by balancing charm, humor, and gravity.

9) KACY TODD IN 'HOLIER THAN THOU' (Poison Apple Initiative) Todd carried the emotional climax of a play consisting of interconnected monologues – no mean feat.

10) SOUND DESIGN FOR 'SPACESTATION1985' (Natalie George Presents) I didn't love the play, but the sound by Buzz Moran made the outer space setting come to life.

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Top 10s 2012, Austin theatre, Trouble Puppet Theater Company, Noel Gaulin, Rachel Weise, Will Hollis Snider, Rubber Repertory, Salvage Vanguard Theater, Summer Stock Austin, Beth Broderick, Kacy Todd, Buzz Moran

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