The 25 Best Stage Shows of 2013

12/18/2013 4:00 AM |

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The Laramie Project

There’s good reason that BAM’s production of this theater staple felt truer than perhaps any since the original. For the first time, the show’s original participants reunited to recount both the tragic murder of Matthew Shepard (in Project) and the lingering fallout to the 1998 hate crime (in Ten Years Later, performed in repertory). While wounds have healed in Laramie, scars remain.

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The Chess Lesson

You go to an extremely small theater space in mid-January. You look at the program and see that some of the actors aren’t in Equity. You prepare for the worst. And then you are treated to a delightful, funny and also serious play about chess and childhood by playwright and actress Sari Caine. Miracles do happen.

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While it’s rare to find a truly heinous Broadway revival, most revamps feel perfunctory, coasting on familiarity with no daring or insight. This was a glorious exception, an electrifying production in which each number was given fresh urgency. It felt almost definitive: the way Pippin should always be done.

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Much Ado About Nothing

In a year rife with film and theatrical adaptations of Shakespeare’s comedy, Theater for a New Audience’s plain production in February still stood out, mostly for Jonathan Cake’s giddy, wall-climbing Benedick.