For some writers end of the year festivities include naming the winners of their respective awards. There are the Denver Post Ovations, the Marlowe Awards, and numerous others who have crowned the best of theatre for this past year. Well, we can debate about whether or not the community needs more awards but when it comes down to it we certainly don’t feel qualified to be the sole providers of any awards. However, just like many other theatre fans, as the year comes to a close, a lot of our time has been spent reminiscing about the shows that have affected us most – made that lasting impression. After a number of long conversations, we developed a top ten list of our favorite nights out at the theatre and thought we would share what we came up with.
Before reading our list, it should be made clear that we did not make it to see many commendable productions this year, and so this is not meant to be a favorites list based on comprehensive coverage of the 2011 season. Also, we use the word “favorite” because we are by no means proclaiming that these are the most accomplished, most outstanding, or best productions of the year, but rather the ones that resonated especially well with one or both of us.
To develop our list, we made a list of all of the shows we have seen since the beginning of the calendar year, whether we reviewed them or not,. We then removed Broadway/Touring shows (including big shows like Next to Normal and smaller yet still marvelous shows like Dixie’s Tupperware Party and Blind Date), shows that we saw individually, shows we saw outside of the state, and shows that either of us were a part of as cast members (which unfortunately ruled out the beautiful production of The Pride at Paragon). When all was said and done we were left with over 40 shows to discuss.
Then the hard part.
The sheer number of amazing theatrical moments on Denver stages this year was remarkable. We could easily fill several lists with stand-out individual performances, gut-busting comedic moments, especially well-executed design elements or thoughtful directing choices, but we chose to focus instead on entire productions that, as a whole, stuck with us for some time, and were undeniable highlights as we reflected upon the theater we saw during 2011.
We eventually got our list down to ten and then independently put them in order. We averaged our inputs and voila!
These are our favorite shows that we saw in 2011. We hope you enjoy reflecting on them as much as we have, and are as inspired as we are for the coming 2012 season!