MWMIV SPEAKS’ Top 10 of 2018
As the clock ticks and 2018 becomes a thought of the past, we decided to highlight our favorite shows from this year. The shows on this list (in my opinion) represent Atlanta’s theatre capabilities and community best.
Freaky Friday, The Horizon Theatre
Kicking off the list is the Horizon Theatre’s production of ‘Freaky Friday’. The Horizon has the unique ability to create a world around you without you realizing it and that’s exactly what they did in this show. With Freaky Friday, the Horizon took a chance and produced a show unlike the rest of their season and it paid off! They assembled a cast of the brightest artists in Atlanta and it showed.
Aida, Atlanta Lyric Theatre
The Lyric is known in Atlanta to produce the Broadway’s biggest hits and this was no exception. Aida, lead by India Tyree as Aida was by far one of my favorite nights in a theatre this year. Shows like Aida are more about the delivery of the material than the material itself and this cast DELIVERED. The kids were singing and dancing for their lives and showing us exactly why the Gods Love Nubia.
Sheltered, Alliance Theatre
Sheltered, written by Alix Sobler is the 2018 Alliance/Kendeda national graduate Playwrighting competition winner for a good reason. It was easily one of the Alliance’s best received pieces this year and it for good reason. It questioned the meaning of Love and Protection, and then dissected the differences between the two in a masterful way. Armed with one of the best plays produced in Atlanta and a powerhouse cast of actors, Sheltered was a definite highlight of the year.
Nomad Motel, Horizon Theatre
When thinking about performances that blew me away in 2018, there were two that stuck out above the others. Kevin Qian and Ashley Anderson gave so much of themselves throughout the show that I was amazed they even finished the show. Watching these two tackle this show was like watching someone run a full marathon. Carla and this cast brought a life and depth to teenage characters that’s rarely seen onstage.
Newsies, Aurora Theatre and Atlanta Lyric Theatre
Name a show in Atlanta with better choreography than this production of Newises… I’ll wait. This co-production between the Atlanta Lyric and the Aurora showed us exactly how great a show can be when two theatres team up to bring it to life. This was an Atlanta audience favorite for very obvious reasons.
Black Nerd, Dad’s Garage Theatre
Jon Carr DID that. Theatre is one of the most diverse and inclusive parts of entertainment when it comes to who’s telling the story but lacks when asked who’s the story about. I love playwrights like Carla Ching and Jon Carr, that write plays where people that look like them are represented. This was the first time I saw a play about “me” and I loved it.
Hospice and Pointing at the moon, Alliance Theatre
Pearl Cleage is one of the biggest blessings to Atlanta Theatre there’s ever been. Often, as students of the work we have so many questions we’d want to ask the playwright but they’re usually deceased. At the Alliance, you can run into Pearl, have a conversation, and never know it was her. Hospice and Pointing at the moon is one show I’m wishing more people will see in the future. In my opinion, it was the most underrated show of 2018.
King Hedley II, True Colors Theatre Company
This production solidified King Hedley II as my favorite August Wilson play. In fact Neal Ghant as King Hedley II was the most awe-inspiring performance I’ve ever seen. The cast connected to August’s words in a visceral way and you could tell and It’s hard to find words to describe it but I’ll never forget it.
Knead, Alliance Theatre
Knead is the best play I’ve ever seen. EVER. From Broadway to Atlanta, I’ve never experienced anything as vulnerable, funny, and raw. Mary Lynn Owen, the show’s playwright and star was nothing short of perfect. The way she wrote this story changed the way I’ve watched every play since and as you can see If I could watch this show every night, I would.
Titanic, Serenbe Playhouse
There’s not much I can say about this show that I haven’t already said. If I somehow manage to see anything as breathtaking as Titanic, it would be a miracle. The work of this cast and crew will never go unnoticed. They worked for countless hours to perfect this spectacle and I’m so happy they did. The cast was like picking up a best of Atlanta book and casting straight out of it. The best of the best, and the kindest people you’d hope to meet.
Honorable Mention: Two Kids that Blow Shit Up, Aurora Theatre