|Rusty Thurman, Allan S. Ross, Kat Connor (image: Dwayne Greene)|
Letts wrote three of 2012's strongest productions. The biggie was the Sheldon Vexler Theatre's stunning San Antonio debut of his masterpiece, “August: Osage County.” Every aspect of the director Paul Fillingim's production was rooted in truth, resulting in a show about family that was both funny and shattering.
The two other Letts shows that popped up to excellent effect were the Playhouse Cellar's “Superior Donuts,” including nuanced and heartbreaking turns from Bill Gundry and Kristopher “K.T.” Thomas; and the Rose Theatre Company's aptly disturbing staging of “Killer Joe.”
The other memorable shows this year included:
“King Lear,” Classic Theatre: Allan S. Ross delivered a towering performance in the title role.
“Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” AtticRep: Gloria Sanchez-Molina, who stepped into the monster role of Martha less than three weeks before the show opened, crafted one of the performances of the year. She was well-matched by the rest of the cast, especially the great David Connelly as Martha's seething husband/sparring partner, George.
“íCarpa!” Jump-Start Performance Co.: Billy Muñoz's immersive trek back in time was funny, visually striking and achingly sad.
“Open Sesame!” Overtime Theater: Playwright Rick Stemm's inventive Bollywood/panto mash-up, staged with a sense of merriment by director Kyle Gillette, may have been the most fun you could have in a theater this year.
“Firebugs,” Classic Theatre: Director Diane Malone pulled together a sizzling, unsettling take on Max Frisch's absurdist play.
“A View from the Bridge,” Sheldon Vexler Theatre: Vividly drawn performances from Scott Leibowitz and Belinda Harolds provided the foundation for director Jim Mammarella's explosive production.
“Macbeth,” Proxy Theatre Co.: Staged in a tiny space, director Nathan Thurman's production had a visceral kick that was tough to shake.
“God of Carnage,” AtticRep: The dark comedy about adults behaving childishly — complete with a set surrounded by a sandbox — was memorably tart and funny.
“I-DJ,” Overtime Theater: Rick Sanchez delivered a fierce, fantastic performance in Gregg Barrios' far-reaching piece, which helped open the Overtime's new home in fine style.
“25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” Woodlawn Black Box: The musical's misfit spellers — particularly those played by Ben Carlee, Benjamin Scharff and Walter Songer — were weird and winning.
“Les Misérables,” Broadway in San Antonio series at the Majestic Theatre: Given a complete overhaul for its 25th anniversary, the touring production earned many goosebumps and prompted many tears.
“An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein,” Cameo Theatre's Zumbro Lounge: Four versatile comics presented offbeat skits and songs.
“Hello, Dolly!” Playhouse: An excellent Katy Stafford Moore played the title role and got terrific support in the staging.
“My Fair Lady,” Playhouse: Director Frank Latson's smooth and creamy production included a superb rendering of “On the Street Where You Live” by Christopher Garcia.
“American Buffalo,” AtticRep: The company ends the year on a strong note with a pitch-perfect staging, which closes today.
Freelance writer Michael E. Barrett contributed to this list. firstname.lastname@example.org