Now that the Christmas rush has passed and New Year's looms large, it's time to assess this past year's theatrical offerings and to consider what were among the very best local productions of 2013. While it is true there are several productions that are currently running, almost all of the celebrated shows in question have completed their runs and have gone into the annals of theatre history.
After mulling over all of the various dramas, comedies and musicals, a curious trend is noted. Most of the best productions have, perhaps not surprisingly, come from the same production companies. Indeed, time after time, a combination of high level of production values and extraordinary talent has made the usual list of suspects rise quickly to the top. Among these are Southern Repertory Theatre, Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts and The NOLA Project.
TOP FIVE MUSICALS
"42nd Street"- "Annie" - "Monty Python's Spamalot" - Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts
"Next to Normal" - Southern Repertory Theatre
"Hair" - Le Petit Théatre du Vieux Carré
TOP FIVE DRAMAS
"Mold" - "Venus in Fur" - "33 Variations" -Southern Repertory Theatre
"A Truckload of Ink" - The NOLA Project/University of New Orleans
"Clybourne Park" - Cripple Creek Theatre Company
TOP FIVE COMEDIES
"Harvey" - "Noises Off" - Rivertown Theatres for the Performing Arts
"Oregon Trail" - "Much Ado About Nothing"* - The NOLA Project (*co-produced with New Orleans Museum of Art)
"Shivaree" - Four Humours Theater
Aside from these top fifteen productions, several other productions merited honorable mentions for this past year including the Shadowbox Theatre's continuing Clifton Monroe Chronicles Series and "The Case of the Broadway Betty" as well as Southern Rep's world premiere of "Freedom" and their love missive to Jane Austin: "Pride and Prejudice." Other honorable mentions include Second Star Performance Collective's production of "Mauiritius" and the recent joint venture of Promethean Theater Company and Four Humours Theater: Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey into Night."
Of its three offerings, Summer Lyric Theatre's production of "Kiss Me Kate" shone ever ever more brilliantly than the others ("Le Cage Aux Folles" and "A Little Night Music") and also received an honorable mention. The Jefferson Performing Arts Society also merits an honorable mention for its production of "Avenue Q."
We can't consider the Broadway at NOCCA series presented by Mark Cortale Productions as bona fide productions and on the same level with the others. Nevertheless, in a period of less than one year Broadway and TV divas Patti LuPone, Sutton Foster, Audra McDonald, Megan Mullaly, Megan Hilty and Jane Krakowski have all appeared in New Orleans with Sirius XM Radio host Seth Rudetsky as well as Charles Busch as part of this important series