Saturday, December 28, 2019

From the Desk of Jim R, Take 2, Column 234, "The Best Plays of 2019 (Non Equity)"

By James V. Ruocco


The beauty of live theatre is always one that's full of excitement and surprise.

All things considered, reviewed and processed, non-Equity theater in Connecticut over the last twelve months of 2019 was chock full of plays tailored to suit everyone's tastes, budgets, talents and entertainment choices.

Most of them worked.
A few drowned in overkill and pretension.
Another put an entire audience to sleep.
One prompted a cry of "vendetta" from a local actress who was "called out" for a performance that was so over-the-top, she self-destructed in ways that gave new meaning to the word "amateur." Not to worry though. The play was not a total loss even when audience members likened her dramatic performance to comedy skits from "Saturday Night Live" after the final curtain calls. Ouch!

Regardless, that was a minor blip in an otherwise great season of shows where kind words, great performances and standing ovations were commonplace.

With that in mind, let's get started.

What stood out the most?
What didn't?

After about a day or two of much-needed deliberation and scanning through an endless variety of content and playbills, things fell neatly into place, one by one, line by line.

My choices are as follows:

Please note: Both productions of "Admissions" tied for first place in this year's round-up.    

The Best Plays of 2019

"Admissions" (St. Luke's School)
director: Jason Peck

"Admissions" (Square One Theatre Company)
director: Tom Holehan

"Macbeth" (Brookfield Theatre for the Arts)
director: Jane Farnol

"Wait Until Dark" (Connecticut Cabaret Theatre)
director: Kris McMurray

"Sylvia" (Connecticut Cabaret Theatre)
director: Kris McMurray

"Calendar Girls" (Connecticut Cabaret Theatre)
director: Kris McMurray

"The Dinner Party" (Orange Players)
director: Chelsea Dacey

"The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)" (Castle Craig Players)
director: Melanie Del Sole

"A Good Old Fashioned Redneck Country Christmas" (Connecticut Cabaret Theatre)
director: Kris McMurray

"The Complete History of Comedy (Abridged)" (Connecticut Cabaret Theatre)
director: Kris McMurray

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