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Live Active Cultures

Seth's best and worst of 2011

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Best Result of the Worst Trend: My least favorite fad of 2011 – which started in 2010 and looks to continue into 2012 – was simultaneous competing productions of the same show. (Hey, producers, there really are more than 12 plays in existence!) But Greater Orlando Actors Theatre’s energetic in-the-round take on Spring Awakening, directed by Paul Castaneda, managed to do the impossible: keep me awake after sitting through Breakthrough’s version only hours earlier.

Worst Opening Night Omen: It was minutes before curtain at the debut of Broadway’s The Addams Family musical at the Bob Carr. Smoke alarms, set off by pre-show atmospheric fog effects, suddenly sent the audience streaming out the exits. After about an hour of standing in the parking lot, we were finally allowed in to see the show. And that mishap was the highlight of the evening.

Best Evidence That Age Is Only a Number: Two of my favorite 2011 performances were turned in by thespians at opposite ends of their careers. C.K. Anderson showed maturity far beyond his 14 years as a damaged dowser in the Aradhana Tiwari-directed The Diviners. And veteran stage and screen star Dennis Neal is no spring chicken, but he chewed through the marathon monologues in Terry Teachout’s wonderful but wordy Satchmo at the Waldorf with an intensity that would exhaust anyone half his age.

Worst, Worst, Worst Anything Anywhere Anytime: Danny Feedback’s Crack Rock Opera, an incompetent and overhyped (thanks to a puzzlingly positive preview from fellow OW columnist Bao Le-Huu) anti-musical about incest and stuff, made Bride of Wildenstein (my 2009 least-favorite) look like Hamlet. ’Nuff said.

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