Best of 2008

Best of 2008: Peter Marks on Theater

Sunday, December 28, 2008

So, would you have gone to see it a second time? The answer for each of the outstanding offerings on this list is a resounding yes. By dint of wit, theatricality, polish or inspiration, the best plays and musicals in Washington this year left you satisfied -- and wanting more. Alice Ripley's turn as the disturbed mom in "Next to Normal"; magician Teller's conceiving of a floating dagger in "Macbeth"; Anthony Mackie's scalding portrayal of a young musician in August Wilson's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"; Studio Theatre's wholehearted embrace of the scabrous satire of "Jerry Springer: The Opera"; dramatist Tarell Alvin McCraney's heart-stabbing portrait of sibling devotion in "The Brothers Size" -- those were among the exuberant experiences for which this theatergoer craved an encore. Other pleasures were to be had around town, in the teaming of Tana Hicken, Holly Twyford and Martin Rayner in "The Road to Mecca," and the ensemble work in the riotous "The Lieutenant of Inishmore" and the absorbing "Last Days of Judas Iscariot." The originality in David Adjmi's new comedy-drama, "Stunning," and the dances by Irina Tsikurishvili, in Synetic's adaptation of "Carmen," stayed with you, too. All told, some sizable deposits for the memory banks.

1. "Jerry Springer: The Opera," Studio Theatre

2. "August Wilson's 20th Century," Kennedy Center

3. "Macbeth," Folger Theatre

4. "Next to Normal," Arena Stage

5. "The Brothers Size," Studio

6. "The Road to Mecca," Studio

7. "Carmen," Synetic Theater

8. "Stunning," Woolly Mammoth Theatre

9. "The Lieutenant of Inishmore," Signature Theatre

10. "The Last Days of Judas Iscariot," Forum Theatre

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