The best of the past decade onstage in the Berkshires

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PITTSFIELD — With all the end-of-decade coverage in our media, especially this week in the Eagle, I found myself, just out of curiosity, wandering back through my archives to look at the shows that have appeared on my year-end 10-best lists over that period of time. While I've been keeping track since 1999, just for fun, currency, and considerations of space, I thought I'd share the lists for the just-ended decade, along with some photos from most, if not all, of the number ones over that period.

If these lists, in aggregate, speak to anything — beyond the fact that they represent what, in my opinion, was the most accomplished work I saw in each of those calendar years — it is to the rich diversity of work produced on our region's stages; the sense of risk; the integrity with which these shows were mounted.

Some of these productions are indelibly etched in my memory — "The Homecoming" and "A Chorus Line" at Berkshire Theatre Group; The Knights' fully-mounted "Candide" at Tanglewood; "The Sound Inside," "Unknown Soldier," "A Legendary Romance," "Ten Cents a Dance" at Williamstown; "Ragtime," "American Son," "Breaking the Code" at Barrington Stage; "Topdog/Underdog," "The How and the Why" at Shakespeare & Company; "Time Stands Still" and "American Son" at TheaterWorks Hartford — but these "indelibles" in no way diminish the impact and accomplishments of all the productions listed here.

Enjoy!

2019

1. TOPDOG/UNDERDOG (Shakespeare & Company)

2. AMERICAN SON (TheaterWorks Hartford)

3. INTO THE WOODS (Barrington Stage Company)

4. THE GOAT, OR, WHO IS SYLVIA? (Berkshire Theatre Group)

5. IF I FORGET (Barrington Stage Company)

6. ON THE EXHALE (Chester Theatre Company)

7. AMERICA V. 2.1: THE SAD DEMISE AND EVENTUAL EXTINCTION OF THE AMERICAN NEGRO (Barrington Stage Company)

8. WORKING: A MUSICAL (Berkshire Theatre Group)

9. THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH (Berkshire Theatre Group)

10. BEFORE THE MEETING (Williamstown Theatre Festival) / SELLING KABUL (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

OUTSTANDING NEW WORK FOR THE STAGE (text): "Selling Kabul" by Sylvia Khoury. Produced at Williamstown Theatre Festival

2018

1. THE SOUND INSIDE (Williamstown Theatre Festival) / CANDIDE (The Knights -- Tanglewood)

2. THE PETRIFIED FOREST (Berkshire Theatre Group)

3. HIR (Shakespeare & Company)

4. LEMPICKA (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

5. THE CAKE (Barrington Stage Company)

6. ARTNEY JACKSON (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

7. SEARED (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

8. THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE (The Theater Barn)

9. WEST SIDE STORY (Barrington Stage Company)

10. MOTHERS AND SONS (Shakespeare & Company)

NEW WORK: "The Sound Inside" by Adam Rapp (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

2017

1. RAGTIME (Barrington Stage Company)

2. EDWARD ALBEE'S AT HOME AT THE ZOO (ZOO STORY) (Berkshire Theatre Group)

3. BROADWAY BOUND (Oldcastle Theatre Company)

4. CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD (Berkshire Theatre Group)

5. THE CLEAN HOUSE (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

6. EVERY BRILLIANT THING (Chester Theatre Company)

7. ACTUALLY (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

8. I AND YOU (Chester Theatre Company)

9. GOD OF CARNAGE (Shakespeare & Company)

10. A LEGENDARY ROMANCE (Williamstown Theatre Festival) / COMPANY (Barrington Stage Company)

NEW WORK: "Actually" by Anna Ziegler (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

2016

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1. AMERICAN SON (Barrington Stage Company)

2. CONSTELLATIONS (Berkshire Theatre Group)

3. COST OF LIVING (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

4. RELATIVITY (TheaterWorks Hartford)

5. BIG RIVER (Oldcastle Theatre Company)

6. THE MERCHANT OF VENICE (Shakespeare & Company)

7. CRY, "HAVOC!" (Shakespeare & Company)

8. OR, (Shakespeare & Company) / THE BAKELITE MASTERPIECE (WAM Theatre/Berkshire Theatre Group

9. LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (Berkshire Theatre Group)

10. PIRATES OF PENZANCE (Barrington Stage Company)

NEW WORK: "American Son" by Christopher Demos-Brown (Barrington Stage Company)

2015

1. THE HOMECOMING (Berkshire Theatre Group)

2. RED VELVET (Shakespeare & Company)

3. THE HOW AND THE WHY (Shakespeare & Company)

4. UNKNOWN SOLDIER (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

5. A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

6. BABYLON REVISITED (Ark Theatre)

7. A LITTLE MORE ALIVE (Barrington Stage Company)

8. BELLS ARE RINGING (Berkshire Theatre Group)

9. MAN OF LAMANCHA (Barrington Stage Company)

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10. PARADISE BLUE (Williamstown Theatre Festival) / NEXUS (Hubbard Hall)

NEW WORK: "Unknown Soldier" by David Goldstein (book and lyrics) and Michael Friedman (music and lyrics). (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

2014

1. BREAKING THE CODE (Barrington Stage Company)

2. OTHER DESERT CITIES (Capital Repertory Theatre)

3. ANNAPURNA (TheaterWorks Hartford)

4. MADAGASCAR (Chester Theatre Company)

5. KISS ME, KATE (Barrington Stage Company)

6. BENEFACTORS (Berkshire Theatre Group)

7. A NUMBER (Chester Theatre Company)

8. THE AMISH PROJECT (Chester Theatre Company)

9. A GREAT WILDERNESS (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

10. SHAKESPEARE'S WILL (Shakespeare & Company) / DANCING LESSONS (Barrington Stage Company)

NEW WORK: "Dancing Lessons" by Mark St. Germain (Barrington Stage)

2013

1. TIME STANDS STILL (TheaterWorks Hartford)

2. THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

3. THE CHOSEN (Barrington Stage Company)

4. AN ILIAD (Chester Theatre Company)

5. EXTREMITIES (Berkshire Theatre Group)

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6. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY (Shakespeare & Company)

7. CLYBOURNE PARK (Barrington Stage Company)

8. THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE (Shakespeare & Company)

9. ON THE TOWN (Barrington Stage Company)

10. HEROES (Shakespeare & Company)

NEW WORK: "The Bridges of Madison County" (Williamstown Theatre Festival).

2012

1. A CHORUS LINE (Berkshire Theatre Group)

2. PARASITE DRAG (Shakespeare & Company)

3. TRYST (TheaterWorks Hartford)

4. TOMORROW IN THE BATTLE (Stageworks/Hudson)

5. FAR FROM HEAVEN (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

6. A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER (Hartford Stage)

7. CASSANDRA SPEAKS (Shakespeare & Company)

8. EDITH (Berkshire Theatre Group)

9. PRIDE @ PREJUDICE (Capital Repertory Theatre/Chester Theatre Company

10. DR RUTH, ALL THE WAY (Barrington Stage Company) / ALL MY SONS (Barrington Stage Company)

NEW WORK: "Far From Heaven" (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

2011

1. AS YOU LIKE IT (Shakespeare & Company)

2. TEN CENTS A DANCE (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

3. DUTCH MASTERS (Berkshire Theatre Group)

4. GUYS AND DOLLS (Barrington Stage Company)

5. THE BEST OF ENEMIES (Barrington Stage Company)

6. THE MEMORY OF WATER (Shakespeare & Company)

7. TURN OF THE SCREW (Chester Theatre Company)

8. THE DROWSY CHAPERONE (The Theater Barn)

9. WITTENBERG (Chester Theatre Company)

10. TAKING STEPS (Mixed Company)

NEW WORK: "Dutch Masters" (Berkshire Theatre Group)

2010

1. A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

2. AFTER THE REVOLUTION (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

3. THE CRUCIBLE (Barrington Stage Company)

4. SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET (Barrington Stage Company)

5. NO WAKE (Berkshire Theatre Festival [now Group])

6. SEA MARKS (Shakespeare & Company)

7. THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER (Hartford Stage)

8. THE LAST GOODBYE (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

9. HAIRSPRAY (C-R Productions)

10. ANOTHER ANTIGONE (Hubbard Hall)

NEW WORK: "After the Revolution" (Williamstown Theatre Festival)


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