Top 10 (+1) Theatrical Joys of 2012

Recalling a year of Shakespeare on bikes, masterful Miller, and a one-woman eco-soap

Keep Austin weird: Liz Beckham in <i>Pride and Prejudice</i>
Keep Austin weird: Liz Beckham in Pride and Prejudice (Photo courtesy of Bret Brookshire)

In chronological order:

1) PUPPET THEATRE Connor Hopkins (Trouble Puppet Theater Company) and Caroline Reck (Glass Half Full Theatre) have done Jim Henson proud this year with original works The Crapstall Street Boys and FupDuck.

2) LIZ BECKHAM The charming actress stormed Austin stages this year in Arcadia, Dividing the Estate, and Pride and Prejudice.

3) 'CL1000P'/'NOW NOW OH NOW' (Rude Mechanicals) The Rudes' colorful February workshop evolved into May's epic mystery, in which the audience accidentally let a character die.

4) 'THE ALIENS' (Hyde Park Theatre) I laughed. I cried. And so did everyone else, thanks to Ken Webster and the dynamic trio of Jon Cook, Jude Hickey, and Joey Hood.

5) 'MIDSUMMER IN MOTION' (Austin Bike Zoo) Killer Queen Rudy Ramirez, who directed, combined well-performed Shakespeare with stunning visuals: Sky Candy stunts and creatures escaped from the Austin Bike Zoo.

6) 'THE SOUND OF MUSIC' (Zilker Theatre Productions) I loved it unequivocally.

7) 'ALL MY SONS' (Palindrome Theatre) The company's penultimate production was a masterful reissue of Arthur Miller's tragedy. Nigel O'Hearn's contributions to Austin theatre will be missed.

8) 'ROSE RAGE' (The Hidden Room Theatre) This famously melted my face off. I am still recovering.

9) ZACH'S TOPFER THEATRE Cheers to Eric Scott's special events team, which produced to perfection two back-to-back celebrations, unhindered by even the most obnoxious thunderstorm.

10) HEATHER WOODBURY'S 'AS THE GLOBE WARMS' (Vortex Repertory Company) The one-woman theatrical soap opera was addictive enough to keep me (and Richard Linklater) coming back for more.

11) 'The POISON SQUAD' (The Duplicates) A beautiful/grotesque workshop production from this theatrical supergroup. Look for a full production at Fusebox 2013.

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Top 10s 2012, Austin theatre, Connor Hopkins, Caroline Reck, Liz Beckham, Rude Mechanicals, Ken Webster, Jon Cook, Jude Hickey, Joey Hood, Rudy Ramirez, Austin Bike Zoo, Zilker Theatre Productions, Nigel O'Hearn, The Hidden Room Theatre, Topfer Theatre, Heather Woodbury, The Duplicates

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