The best local theater of 2013

By Steve Treacy Contributor
Posted 12/23/13

Once again, Key City Public Theatre (KCPT) was by far the most prolific live theatre in Jefferson County in 2013. Over the past year, I reviewed 11 local shows:

• "August: Osage County" by Tracy …

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The best local theater of 2013

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Once again, Key City Public Theatre (KCPT) was by far the most prolific live theatre in Jefferson County in 2013. Over the past year, I reviewed 11 local shows:

• "August: Osage County" by Tracy Letts (One-Time Players)

• "Two Angels Walk Into a Bar" by Susan Solley (KCPT)

• "Assault With a Not So Deadly Weapon" by Deborah Wiese (KCPT)

• "Solvo Mae Mae" by Angela Amos (KCPT)

• "iChat" by Judith Glass Collins (KCPT)

• "Diptych: What You Wish For" by D.D. Wigley (KCPT)

• "The Imaginary Invalid" adapted from Moliere by Oded Gross and Tracy Young (Port Townsend High School)

• "The Big Bang" by Boyd Graham and Jed Feuer (KCPT)

• "Kreepshow" by Brazilia R. Kreep (Black Pearl Cabaret)

• "Tin Pan Lady" by Linda Dowdell and Jeanne Schmoll (KCPT)

• "The Six Basic Rules" by Mara Lathrop (KCPT)

I also saw but did not review "Heartbreak House" by George Bernard Shaw (KCPT, with Act I’s snappy patter delivered deliberately by assorted caricatures against a dazzlingly well-crafted set); and "Much Ado About Nothing" by William Shakespeare (KCPT), the summer’s basic romp in Chetzemoka Park.

2013 Jeffy Award(s)

My 2013 Jeffy for best live theater shows in Jefferson County go to two kick-ass productions:

"The Big Bang," an explosive three-person tour-de-force boasting 100 percent professional talent, plenty of laughs, and a killer pace; and "August: Osage County," early spring training for a knock-em-out-of-the-park leading lady in a stadium-sized set.

Favorite locals

I reviewed eight locally written plays produced in 2013. My personal fab five were:

"Tin Pan Lady," a cabaret musical highlighting women lyricists and composers of the Jazz Age; "Kreepshow," a Gothic comedy cabaret conjuring some spiritual denizens of our Victorian seaport; "The Six Basic Rules," a full-length prescription for treating postnuptial disenchantments; "Assault With a Not So Deadly Weapon," a folksy one-act with a charming plot progression; and "iChat," compact comedy uploaded with gigabytes of computer jargon and political bipolarity.

Leading men, women

Standout acting performances by show include:

• "The Big Bang": Jeff Allen Pierce (Boyd), David Natale (Jed), Linda Dowdell (Bert the pianist).

• "August: Osage County": Michelle Hensel (Violet), Peter Wiant (Steve), Sam Cavallaro (Little Charles).

"Kreepshow": R. O’Donnell (Brazillia R. Kreep).

• "Tin Pan Lady": Heather Dudley Nollette (Dorie), Marlette Buchanan (Dot), David Natale (Mister).

• "Much Ado About Nothing": Charlie Bethel (Dogberry), Jeff Allen Pierce (Benedick).

• "The Imaginary Invalid": Forrest Walker (Argan), Emily Huntingford (Toinette).

• "Heartbreak House": Doug Taylor (the burglar), Amanda Steurer (Ellie Dunn), Lawrason Driscoll (Captain Shotover), Craig Jacobrown (Hector Hushabye).

•"Assault With a Not So Deadly Weapon": Jack Reid (hitchhiker), Sharon Wenzler (Mabelline), Catherine McNabb (Frankie).

• ‘iChat’: Catherine McNabb (Blue), Sharon Wenzler (Red).

Notable talent

Notable contributions by other artistic personnel in 2013 include directors Denise Winter ("The Big Bang" and "Tin Pan Lady"), David Hillman ("August: Osage County"), Jennifer Nielsen ("The Imaginary Invalid"), R. O’Donnell ("Kreepshow"), Amanda Steurer ("Much Ado About Nothing"), and Denise Fleener ("Assault With a Not So Deadly Weapon" and "iChat").

Also notable: Music director Linda Dowdell ("The Big Bang," "Tin Pan Lady" and "The Imaginary Invalid"); set designers David Langley ("Heartbreak House"); Terry Tennesen ("August: Osage County," "Much Ado About Nothing" and "The Six Basic Rules") and Jennifer Nielsen (‘The Imaginary Invalid"); costume designers Lynn Casella ("Kreepshow"), Colleen Dobbin ("Heartbreak House," "Much Ado About Nothing" and "Tin Pan Lady"); Beverly Michelsen ("The Big Bang"); Ginger McNew ("August: Osage County") and Libby and Rachel Urner ("The Imaginary Invalid"); makeup and hair designer Angela Agnew ("August: Osage County" and "The Imaginary Invalid"); lighting designers Ian Keith ("August: Osage County" and "The Imaginary Invalid") and Albert Mendez (‘The Big Bang"); choreographers Liz Dennison ("The Imaginary Invalid"), R. ODonnell ("Kreepshow") and Denise Winter ("Tin Pan Lady"); musician Russell Clark ("Tin Pan Lady"); and sound designer Adam Matthew ("Diptych" and "Much Ado About Nothing").

(Steve Treacy is a member of American Theatre Critics Association; Actors’ Equity Association; Screen Actors Guild–American Federation of Television and Radio Artists; and Dramatists Guild of America. He plays the lead in "Useful.Valid.True," a short film by David Golden, Shoreline Productions, recently screened at eight film festivals.)

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