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Puttin' on a Good Show 

A look back at the best theatre in Central Oregon in 2016

The delightfully wacky “Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” was one of CTC’s best.

The delightfully wacky “Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” was one of CTC’s best.

Over the past year more theatre was produced in Central Oregon than ever before, and a wide majority of those productions were performed for sold out houses. With all of the productions that happened last year, we asked some of the myriad theatre folk in the region what their favorite shows across 2016 were. The answers were as varied as the productions themselves.

Scott Schultz, Managing Director of Lonely Fish Productions:

(Cascade Theatrical Company's) "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike!" The performances were honest and hilarious without being over the top. The show's pacing was perfect as well. The set and costumes complemented the show instead of taking away from it.

Derek Sitter, Owner/Artistic Director of Volcanic Theatre Pub:

Mamet's "American Buffalo." It was, without a doubt, the most challenging, fun, difficult, and exhilarating theatrical experience I've had in 30+ years in theatre. Tackling the quintessential "Mamet Speak" with the cast proved much more challenging than previous Mamet plays. The circumstances, stakes, characters and the overwhelming emotion required pushed us to places none of us had been before. We're all better actors and people because of it.

Ray Solley, Executive Director of the Tower Theatre:

"A Chorus Line" at the Tower. The Tower Theatre Foundation's annual musical sets the tone for our entire season. The September showcase of the region's top musicians, actors, singers and dancers gives us yet more reasons why it's so great living here. And those of us behind the scenes love sold out houses of laughing and crying audiences. In a divisive election season, Shore Thing Productions' "A Chorus Line," directed by Michael Heaton, reminded us of the power and strength in working together.

click to enlarge "Rocky Horror Picture Show" made a triumphant return to 2nd Street Theater.
  • "Rocky Horror Picture Show" made a triumphant return to 2nd Street Theater.

Clinton Clark, Artistic Director at Dionysus Presents:

CTC's "Dog Sees God." Rarely has a production moved me so effectively. It had the perfect amount of everything that makes me love theatre.

Cricket Daniel, Playwright:

The World Premiere of "I Shot Jennifer Lopez," of course! And the reprisal of the "The Night Before The Night Before Christmas" at the Tower Theatre! My plays are always the highlight of my year. Seeing my words come to life on stage—there is nothing that compares.

Sandy Klein, Managing Director of 2nd Street Theater:

I think [2nd Street's] "Young Frankenstein the Musical" was the top theater event I "saw." From the set to the acting, to the dedication from the cast, to the visuals and knowing that everyone in that cast poured their souls into the production to make it what it was. It was pretty epic and one that I am extremely proud of.

JoEllen Ussery, Founder of Lurking Squirrel Productions:

I've never seen a show have an impact on an audience as I saw [Lurking Squirrel's] "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" have. Both Jake (Woodmansee) and I would hold audience members as they wept each night after each performance. I've never experienced anything like it.

David and Mallory DaCosta, Thoroughly Modern Productions:

For me personally, the best event I saw this year was [Opera Bend's] "Maelstrom, the Zombie Opera." Not being a fan of Opera per se I was thoroughly entertained. It was a creative treat all around. Honest performances. Great singing.

Ed Victor, Executive Director at Cascades Theatrical Company:

"Dog Sees God" at CTC. It triumphantly brought together a group of actors, both experienced and beginners, and delved into the emotions of timely social issues that left me crying at the end."

(Full Disclosure: I directed the play "Dog Sees God," but vow I paid no financial remunerations to those who chose it as their favorite theater piece of 2016.)

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