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The Best of the Best of the Best: Comparing The Triangle's 10 Best Lists

January 14, 2004 - Triangle-Wide:


This year, there were four "Top 10" lists of 2003 Triangle theatrical productions. Scott Ross and yours truly of Robert's Reviews of Raleigh, NC published our selections first, in Part 1 of our Dec. 25th issue. Orla Swift and Roy C. Dicks of the Raleigh News & Observer published their 10-best list on Dec. 28th; and Byron Woods of The Independent Weekly of Durham published his Top 9, and Alan R. Hall of Front Row Center of Chapel Hill published his "5 'Stars' for 2003," on Dec. 31st.

Needless to say, there was no unanimity concerning the Top 10 shows of 2003. But there were five shows two of which were produced by StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance of Chapel Hill that each appeared on two of the four lists. Those productions can lay claim to the title of the best of the best of the best of the Triangle's 2003 theatrical presentations. The five are listed below, in alphabetical order.

All The King's Men (Burning Coal Theatre Company of Raleigh, Oct. 2-26). Chosen by The Independent Weekly and Robert's Reviews.

Dream Boy (StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance, March 25-April 5). Chosen by The Independent Weekly and The News & Observer.

Sea Marks (Wordshed Productions and Ghost & Spice Productions, both of Chapel Hill, Oct. 2-12). Chosen by Front Row Center and The Independent Weekly.

Shakespeare's R & J (StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance, Oct. 22-Nov. 9). Chosen by The Independent Weekly and Robert's Reviews.

Underneath the Lintel (Flying Machine Theatre Company of Raleigh, Oct. 17-Nov. 2). Chosen by The News & Observer and Robert's Reviews.

The following 26 shows, listed in alphabetical order, appeared on one of the four best-of-the-best lists:

Bucknaked: A Love Story (Manbites Dog Theater of Durham, March 19-30). Chosen by Front Row Center.

Cabaret (University Theatre at N.C. State in Raleigh, Oct. 1-5). Chosen by Robert's Reviews.

The Country Girl (Emerald City Productions of Raleigh, April 17-27). Chosen by Front Row Center.

Dinner with Friends (PlayMakers Repertory Company of Chapel Hill, Jan. 15-Feb. 9). Chosen by The Independent Weekly.

The Dream and the Lie (Paper Hand Puppet Intervention at UNC-Chapel Hill, Aug. 28-Sept. 12). Chosen by The Independent Weekly.

The Faraway Nearby (Theatre in the Park of Raleigh, Sept. 19-Oct. 5). Chosen by Front Row Center.

Handler (Raleigh Ensemble Players, Oct. 16-Nov. 1). Chosen by The Independent Weekly.

Hobson's Choice (PlayMakers Repertory Company, Nov. 26-Dec. 21). Chosen by The News & Observer.

I Hate Hamlet (Raleigh Little Theatre, April 11-27). Chosen by Robert's Reviews.

Julius Caesar (Shakespeare & Originals of Chapel Hill, Oct. 9-25). Chosen by The News & Observer.

Last Train to Nibroc (Towne Players of Garner, Aug. 21-23). Chosen by Robert's Reviews.

Lilies, Or The Revival of a Romantic Drama (Les Feluettes) (Raleigh Ensemble Players, Feb. 13-March 1). Chosen by The News & Observer.

Lobby Hero (Deep Dish Theater Company of Chapel Hill, May 8-31). Chosen by The News & Observer.

Loose Lips Sink Ships (Shakespeare & Originals, April 10-27). Chosen by The News & Observer.

Millworker (Central Carolina Community College in Pittsboro, Nov. 20). Chosen by The News & Observer.

Minstrel Show: The Lynching of William Brown (Manbites Dog Theater, Aug. 22-Sept. 14). Chosen by The News & Observer.

A Prayer for Owen Meany (PlayMakers Repertory Company, Oct. 15-Nov. 9). Chosen by Front Row Center.

The Price (Deep Dish Theater Company, Feb. 27-March 15). Chosen by The Independent Weekly.

The Shape of Things (Manbites Dog Theater, Jan. 30-Feb. 16). Chosen by The Independent Weekly.

The Sound of Music (North Carolina Theatre of Raleigh, July 11-20). Chosen by The News & Observer.

Stop Kiss (University Theatre at N.C. State, Jan. 31-Feb. 1). Chosen by Robert's Reviews.

Tintypes (Peace College Theatre of Raleigh, Sept. 10-16). Chosen by Robert's Reviews.

True West (Open Door Theatre of Chapel Hill, Jan. 1-19). Chosen by The News & Observer.

The Turn of the Screw (StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance, Jan. 21-Feb. 2). Chosen by The News & Observer.

Uncle Vanya (PlayMakers Repertory Company, Feb. 26-March 23). Chosen by Robert's Reviews.

West Side Story (North Carolina Theatre, Feb. 7-16). Chosen by Robert's Reviews.

Overall, four of PlayMakers Repertory Company's five main-stage productions made some Triangle critic's 2003 10-best list, making PRC this area's most honored theater company. Three of the StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance's five main-stage productions appeared in one or more Top 10 list, and three of Manbites Dog Theater's four main-stage productions were also selected as the best of the best. Triangle theatrical companies with two shows honored included Deep Dish Theater Company, the North Carolina Theatre, Raleigh Ensemble Players, Shakespeare & Originals, and University Theatre at N.C. State.

Second Opinion: The following four print and online publications, listed in alphabetical order, published 2003 Top 10 lists (with Internet addresses in parentheses): Front Row Center (http://hometown.aol.com/theonlyarhall/reviews.html), The Independent Weekly (http://www.indyweek.com/durham/2003-12-31/ae.html [inactive 4/04]), The News & Observer (http://www.newsobserver.com/features/arts/story/3157099p-2852639c.html [inactive 5/04]), and Robert's Reviews (http://www.cvnc.org/th-arch1203.html#Top10).