2013 Best 5 of Central New York (Critics Choice)

1. The 39 Steps - Geva Theatre Center's production of Patrick Barlow's play (based on Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece) soared thanks to a game cast, dashing lead John Gregorio as Richard Hannay, the classic Hitchcockian Wrong Man; Monica West as a trio of female characters, ranging from femme fatale to country woman; and Aaron Muñoz and Joel Van Liew, whose transformations into several characters speaks volumes about their versatility as actors.

2. A Christmas Carol - Syracuse Stage was one of the many theaters putting on a production about good old Ebenezer Scrooge, but it was also one of the best. Steven Hendrickson made Scrooge's journey from miser to giver feel new again, and the costumes were truly a sight to behold.

3. Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson - The Redhouse put on a rocking and riotous production of Michael Friedman and Alex Timbers's satirical rock opera, a portrait of a contrast between elitism and populism, and between Jackson's best and worst achievements.

4. Black Pearl Sings! - Kitchen Theatre Co.'s show about a white musicologist meeting a black Texas woman and asking her about the blues is inspired by the real meeting between a musicologist and Lead Belly, but it's really a show about the hard experiences that inspired the music, and lead actresses Lisa Gaye Dixon and Emily Dorsch played off of each other perfectly.

5. Inherit the Wind - CNY Playhouse's spirited production of the Jerome Lawrence/Robert Edwin Lee classic might have seemed familiar, but that was less because of the play's much-produced classic and more because of how vividly they staged a battle between science and tradition that's being waged to this day.

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From This Author Max O'Connell

Max is currently a graduate student at the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University, and is a graduate from Ball State University with a BA (read more...)

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