Article | HWTS’s Top Plays Of 2017

Our second year-end wrap-up. Most of the shows were reviewed, but some were not. For those for which reviews exist, helpful links are included. We’re lucky to live in such a good theater town.



Full disclosure: I was out of state for two months this fall. Given that limitation on my ability to see shows locally, these are my choices:

Refugia, Moving Company

One story after next told in one beautiful image after the next. A moving, multifaceted ensemble piece by one of our best companies under the guidance of Dominique Serrand. Review here.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mixed Blood Theatre.

Area premiere of the Surprising but not overplayed. Jack Reuler’s production hit the right notes. A joy to watch the actors perform this tightly choreographed production. My review is here. Janet’s review is here.

Red Velvet, Walking Shadow Theatre.

Another play that received its area premiere this year. Director Amy Rumennie made a full evening of this historical drama led by JuCoby Johnson in the lead role. Review.



The Nether, Jungle Theater

Jennifer Haley’s The Nether was a twisty crime procedural that explored the problems resulting from new technologies, specifically virtual reality where dark corners of the internet give way to hidden online simulations of some of the most horrific activities imaginable. This engaging play boasted excellent writing that managed to bring empathy and disgust without exploitation, featured thoughtfully minimalist direction, and boasting uniformly excellent performances from some of the Twin Cities’ finest actors. Our Review.


Intimate Apparel, Ten Thousand Things Theater

Filled with heartfelt emotion and carefully painted characters, Lynn Notage’s Intimate Apparel invites audiences to feel the dual promises and dangers that lie in the universal need to be loved. This production explored loneliness while brimming with warmth, and it didn’t hurt that the engrossing, moving show featured fine, raw performances and Ten Thousand Things’ trademark stripped down direction. Our Review.


Six Degrees of Separation, Theater Latte Da

We didn’t review this one—we saw it on our own, and it absolutely floored us. John Guare’s modern classic was staged carefully and gorgeously by the Latte Da team, and it resulted in an electric, moving, beautifully realized production that deftly plumped issues of race, class, sexuality, entitlement, and so much more. Each element was considered and the cast was phenomenal—everything came together to create a fantastic experience. John Olive’s Review.



Vietgone, Mixed Blood

Intense, raw, a play dealing with the war in Vietnam in a truly surprising way. Vietgone featured an intelligent performance from the always wonderful Sun Mee Chomet and a dreamily marvelous turn by Meghan Kriedler. John’s review.


West Side Story, the Ordway

Well, we need a show from at least one big budget theater. WSS was pitch perfect. 75% of this show’s brilliance derives from the material — WSS is, arguably, the best musical ever penned — but there was a truly outstanding performance by the great Tyler Michaels. Review.


Liberty Falls 54321, the Moving Company

Campy to an extreme, okay. And it was a remount which might, technically, make it ineligible for this list. But who cares. Falls featured a depth of characterization and a precise direction that you just don’t see these days. Hugely enjoyable. Review here.



Speechless, The Moving Company.

Clever, moving, devastating, charming, heart-wrenching and laugh-out-loud funny, too. It did what theater should do; it moved its audience intellectually and emotionally with searing truths, in this case, about the state of our country right now. I’ve seen nothing like it. And, wouldn’t you know, I didn’t review it.


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