Monday, December 31, 2012

Jeff Davis's 2012 Favorite Stage Productions in Central Texas,

Jeff Davis lists his 20 favorites for July-December 2012 at

Broadway World 2012 Central Texas favoritesAs 2012 comes to a close, it's a given that BroadwayWorld will reflect on all the fantastic theatrical productions and events that have entertained audiences all across America. Here in Central Texas, theater-goers had plenty to see in 2012. As a new resident of Austin, I sadly only got to enjoy the Central Texas theater scene for the last half of the year, but still all 49 productions I saw and reviewed in that short amount of time were delightful.

Here is a list of my favorite productions produced in Austin, San Antonio, San Marcos, and the surrounding areas during the last half of 2012. As all of the productions listed were spectacular, it proved impossible for me to rank them, so here they are presented in alphabetical order.

Congratulations to all of Central Texas's theatres, performers, and creative professionals on an astounding and successful year.

-Jeff Davis

Contributing Editor

1. Always...Patsy Cline

Georgetown, TX, Produced by Georgetown Palace Theatre

With its simple staging and excellent performances from skilled comedienne and storyteller Linda Brandshaw and Patsy doppelganger Yesenia McNett, Always...Patsy Cline turned this city slicker into a country music fan and solidified my fandom of the Georgetown Palace.

2. Baby

Austin, TX, Produced by Austin Theatre Project

Austin Theatre Project closed out its inaugural season with the forgotten musical, Baby. Filled with warmth and heart and backed by six fantastic leads, the show was phenomenal. We can all expect great things from Austin Theater Project in 2013. They already are a force to be reckoned with in Austin's theatre scene, and they've only just begun.

3. Chess

Austin, TX, Produced by SummerStock Austin and The Austin Playhouse

All three of SummerStock Austin's offerings this year were stellar, but Chess was the stand-out of the trio. While certainly more challenging that SummerStock Austin's other two shows, A Year with Frog and Toad and Legally Blonde, the young ensemble handled the material with a level of polish and professionalism that often goes, pardon the pun, unchecked.

4. A Chorus Line

Georgetown, TX, Produced by Georgetown Palace Theatre

With its direction and choreography by Broadway veterans Danny Herman and Rocker Verastique and its hard-working cast, Georgetown Palace's production of A Chorus Line holds a spot in my book as the best production of the show that I've ever seen, and I am certain my esteem of this intimate, visceral production will remain the same for years to come.

5. Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean

Austin, TX, Produced by The City Theatre

While the dramedy by Ed Graczyk sometimes bites off more than it can chew regarding themes and subject matter, director Andy Berkovsky managed to keep The City Theatre's production on track, and his ensemble cast of women were nothing short of sensational.

6. Heaven-Earth-One

Austin, TX, Produced by Blue Lapis Light

Heaven-Earth-One was by far the best dance show I saw in Austin this year and quite frankly the best and most inventive dance show I've ever seen in my lifetime. The piece seamlessly blended movement, music, and the iconic architecture of The Long Center for the Performing Arts into a unique and unforgettable theatrical experience.

7. Into the Woods

San Marcos, TX, Produced by Texas State University - San Marcos

Into the Woods has always been one of my favorite musicals. It was my first introduction to the work of Stephen Sondheim, and I wrote a paper on the show in college. So when this self-proclaimed Sondheim snob dubbed this production the best Into the Woods he's ever seen live, that was indeed the highest praise I could give, and it still didn't feel adequate.

8. Miracle on 34th Street

Georgetown, TX, Produced by Georgetown Palace Theatre

With Miracle on 34th Street, Georgetown Palace had a miracle of their own. They managed to take this old, clunky, forgotten show by Meredith Wilson and infused it with a strong dose of charm, wit, and humor. In their hands, this rarely-produced flop shined and sparkled.

9. Moonlight and Magnolias
Austin, TX, Produced by Penfold Theatre Company

Frankly, my dear, I'm still chuckling over this behind the scenes story of Gone with the Wind. The hijinks were an over-the-top laugh riot and a treat for everyone, even those not familiar with the classic film.

10. November

San Antonio, TX, Produced by The Playhouse - San Antonio

Just the word "November" is enough to make me smile and reminisce about The Playhouse's hysterical political satire about an unpopular president who abuses his power and clout in order to fund his campaign. It's a good think no elected officials are this corrupt [insert sarcasm here].
Click to go to for Jeff Davis's comments on the rest of the score:
The Nutcracker (Ballet Austin), Over the River and Through the Woods (City Theatre), Pagliacci (Austin Lyric Opera), Pride and Prejudice (Austin Shakespeare), Ragtime (Zach Theatre), Rock of Ages (national touring company), Vampire Lesbians of Sodom (City Theatre), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Woodlawn Theatre, San Antonio), You Can't Take It with You (Different Stages) and Xanadu (Zach Theatre).

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