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Stuart Ward and Dani de Waal from the Once Tour Company. (Joan Marcus)
Stuart Ward and Dani de Waal from the Once Tour Company. (Joan Marcus)

Our theatre critic's 10 favourite stage productions of 2013 Add to ...

Tis the season to lazily start articles with “tis the season” and make lists. I’m not immune to either of these impulses.

Here is a list of my 10 favourite productions of 2013 drawn strictly from my theatregoing in Canada (mostly in Toronto, it is true), with one New York show that had a strong Canadian contingent thrown in. You can still catch six of them somewhere if you’re willing to fork out for plane fare. Now, in no particular order:

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Passion Play

Written by Sarah Ruhl. Directed by Aaron Willis, Alan Dilworth and Mitchell Cushman.

After seeing this production, I now think Sarah Ruhl is a great American playwright. (Before, I thought she was a really good one.) A juicily theatrical script, an excellent cast and three top-notch directors in an east-end church in Toronto. My discovery of the year was Cyrus Lane, who played Pontius Pilate and others.

Read Martin Morrow’s review.

Lady Windermere’s Fan

Written by Oscar Wilde. Directed by Peter Hinton.

I’ve waxed rhapsodic about this production perhaps too much, but it was director Peter Hinton at his best and it built a new place in my brain and space in my heart for Oscar Wilde.

Read my review.

Once

Written by Enda Walsh. Directed by John Tiffany.

Many of the musicals that came through Toronto this year, I’d already seen in New York. But Once made me cry even a second time around in its touring incarnation, so it’s here it is. At the Royal Alexandra in Toronto until Jan 5.

Read my review.

Les Misérables

Written by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil. Directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell.

Ramin Karimloo’s Jean Valjean. Enough said. At the Princess of Wales in Toronto until Feb. 2.

Read my review.

Needles and Opium

Written and directed by Robert Lepage.

Robert Lepage is so brilliant, blah, blah, blah. But he is – and I found this reworked show an intensely moving return to form. Returns to Canadian Stage in Toronto in May 2015.

Read my review.

The God that Comes

Written by Hawksley Workman and Christian Barry. Directed by Christian Barry.

“He’s bringing sexy Bacchus.” Saw this in Calgary. Can’t wait to see it again in Toronto in the New Year. At the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton in January, and Tarragon Theatre in Toronto in June.

Read my review.

Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata

Written by Veda Hille and Bill Richardson. Directed by Amiel Gladstone.

There are other ways music and character can come together on a stage than the traditional, integrated musical. Like this. So funny and heartfelt. At the High Performance Rodeo in Calgary in January, and the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton in February.

Read my review.

Post Eden

Written and directed by Jordan Tannahill.

Indie Jordan Tannahill directed a million shows this year (approximately) including this one at the Next Stage festival that made me blubber. I’m a real sucker for plays that involve dogs, I guess, but also there was an oh-so-lovely scene between Linnea Swan and Sean Dixon as a married couple trying to reconnect.

Read my review.

Pippin

Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. Book by Roger O. Hirson. Directed by Diane Paulus.

I’m a little surprised this has ended up on my list as I only gave it three stars at the time. But really, I’m still talking about Andrea Martin’s aerial routine – and I’m thrilled that Quebec circus wizards Les 7 doigts de la main helped make this such a big hit on Broadway. Martin’s not in the show any more, but it’s still running on Broadway.

Read my review.

Mary Stuart

Written by Friedrich Schiller. Directed by Antoni Cimolino.

Schiller thriller. Good work, new Stratford Festival boss.

Read my review.

Follow me on Twitter: @nestruck

Follow on Twitter: @nestruck

 

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