Best of 2010?

So what shows knocked your socks off? That’s the question we’re pondering at the Iowa Theatre Blog. We’ll be posting a year in review next week, but in the meantime, we’d like to hear from you, the readers of the Iowa Theatre Blog. What show really blew you away? What show made you think? What show was just the most fun experience you’ve had in a theatre in a long time?

The comments section awaits!

Some pictures to jog your memories…


18 thoughts on “Best of 2010?

  1. City Circle's, “The Baltimore Waltz”, such a lovely story, and beautifully brought to the stage with top notch acting by: Bryant Duffy, Nicole Vespa, and Kehry Lane. Very emotional, there was not a dry eye in the house when I saw it.

  2. I was moved by Rachel Howell's performance in Proof at TCR, awed by the energy and cool choreography of City Circle's production of Godspell, and haunted by Dreamwell's production of Blackbird. A pretty great year for Iowa theatre!

  3. ICCT's All in the Timing was a neat collaborative effort with multiple directors and a talented, diverse cast. How to Heal the Hurt by Hating, presented by Red Door Ensemble, was a fun script interpreted by some talented actresses.

  4. I'll have to dig through my box of programs before having anything cogent to say about earlier in the year… but from more recent offerings, I'd have to say that “9 Parts of Desire” blew me away more than anything. The piece itself is timely & timeless, and it was a truly brilliant use of an ensemble (and a very talented one, at that!) to reinterpret the one-woman show.

    Also, in what might seem like loyalty but is really just good taste :), I was very impressed by ICCT's “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead.” As much as I adore Tom Stoppard, his work is dense with layers and layers of nuance, meaning, and humor. A lesser cast/director could've created something thick and plodding, but the timing sparkled and every time I saw it (I think 3x?) the audience was in stitches.

  5. Once on this Island was a blast. Some of the most creative staging I have seen, and a cast that made you want to come down and dance along with them. It was infectious to say the least. Some talented High Schoolers in that show too. Future is lookin' good for Iowa Theatre!

  6. For me, it's all about the moments. These are the moments I remember most fondly from a year of great theater:

    1) Rachel Howell's searing, lived-in, specific performance in TCR's “Proof.” A personal best, I think.

    2) Megan Sands and John Smick playing monkeys with me in “All in the Timing.” Oh, and Matthew James as Tolstoy with an axe in his head in James Trainor's perfectly calibrated “All in the Timing” piece.

    3) The framing device of “Once on this Island”–scary realistic fear/crying and then joyful storytelling by Rachel Falduto and cast–grounded the show and filled me with pride.

    4) Tyler Jenson's “All Good Gifts” in CCACC's “Godspell.” I've heard this particular song sung by probably fifty different people. Tyler made it seem brand new to me. Thrilling.

    5) The cheerful mildly aggressive innocence of CCACC's “You're a Good Man Charlie Brown” cast.

    6) The wand in ICCT's Cinderella. Magical.

    7) Ron Clark, Ellen Stevenson, Tim Budd and cast in a clash-of-creative-wills version of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”.

    8) “Die, Vampire, Die!”

    9) Most valuable player of the year: Michael Blake, set designer / builder extraordinaire! His spinning doors at the Children's Museum alone were used in three productions alone!

    Finally, as productions go, the most fully realized for me was “Love's Labor's Lost” at the Riverside Shakespeare Festival. Productions like this point to why this festival is a treasure and a delight–classic works made so clear and clean that they transcend time, culture and class to resonate in present day.

  7. One more–how could I forget?

    Adam Burton and Aprille Clarke in the “Universal Language” section of “All in the Timing”!! The most daunting of the pieces presented and they nailed it with grace and clarity. Even added a song. This has stuck with me so much, every time a make a silly mistake, I exclaim, “Oompa loop-de-loop”.

  8. hey, i thought ENDDAYS at riverside theater was simply amazing. such a clear story and wonderful acting from the whole company.i esp. liked tim budd and jody hovland.
    those guys always do great stuff.

  9. I know it was a long time ago, but I thought ICCT's Wonderful Town was a great show. I know, as an actor it was a great show to be a part of. Also, if you haven't had a chance to check out Cinderella yet, there are more performances coming up this weekend and it is definitely worth it.

    I agree that The Baltimore Waltz was one of the best shows I attended this past year.

    Hats off as well to ACE's Twelfth Night at the Iowa Childrens Museum . I was nearly in tears from laughing.b

  10. Theatre Cedar Rapids, “Underground Theatre Festival” was a great weekend of live theatre. All the shows were directed, acted, and some even written all by volunteers. Some were very funny like Joe Jennison's, “The New Normal”. But, my personal favorite was, “A Midnight Clear” with Bryant Duffy and Rob Merritt, which Duffy also directed. Very well acted by both men. Hope they do this again next year.

  11. So, if only 2 people see anything besides community theatre productions (witness the response) what does it mean to “rate” productions?
    It might be silly . . . I don't know but I only raise the issue because (and I am an amateur actor) are we not getting out to see stuff at the Old creamery and at the Riverside Theater and at the UI Theaters?
    Didn't some other great stuff happen there?
    I loved Mary's Wedding. I think that was at UI?
    What can we do to include all theaters in the area?

  12. City Circle's production of Godspell was amazing! Director Michael Stokes always puts together a group with great chemistry and energy – and this was no exception. Wish I had a “soundtrack” cd of the songs by this talented group!

  13. “So, if only 2 people see anything besides community theatre productions (witness the response) what does it mean to “rate” productions?”

    The purpose of this blog is to cover the theatres listed on the right under “Iowa City Area Theatres” and “Cedar Rapids Area Theatres”. The year in review will include thoughts about those companies, which includes Riverside and Old Creamery.

    One very notable exception is the University theatre. We don't cover them – as a strictly volunteer operation we have to draw a line somewhere with limited resources – and so I'm sure there were many great shows that we will not include in our year end wrap up.

    If there's a student out there who would like to write about the University shows, we'll publish the reviews. Email us at ictheatreblog AT

  14. If we are done, I can only say it was a great year.
    Too bad some theatres are under-represented.
    God bless the ones who really give their lives to this art. I hope next year everyone gets even better turnouts and fabulous attention.
    What a place we live in.

  15. Regarding the question of professional theatres being underrepresented by these comments – I would like to mention that, personally, I did see quite a few professional productions this season, as well, and I still stand by my choices for what stands out most in my mind. That doesn't mean they weren't good, or even great, but just because people aren't mentioning them as favorites doesn't mean they weren't attended.

    Re: University shows – my schedule is pretty packed, but if there's a few in particular coming up that you'd like to have reviewed, I might be able to do that. I assume that in asking for a student, you mean that tix are free, not just discounted? I feel really bad that I've been there for a semester and not even looked into it!

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