Top 10: Best Chicago theater of 2012
Of the scores of shows I reviewed in Chicago during 2012, here are the select few that, upon further consideration, I liked best of all. As is our tradition, the top 10 shows of 2012 appear in order of wonderfulness. The list does not include two shows scheduled to open after it was compiled: the tours of "War Horse" and "The Book of Mormon." For the record, I saw both of those shows on Broadway and greatly admired them. Further for the record, I rewrote this list several times; it was that difficult. All are Chicago-area shows that have opened since Jan. 1, chosen without regard to resident or touring status and without particular consideration of budget or scope. The only criterion was excellence. -- Chris Jones
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1. 'Sunday in the Park with George,' Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Director Gary Griffin's 2011 production of "Follies" should have been impossible to top. But this masterful Stephen Sondheim interpreter's "Sunday" had many in its audience sobbing with a mixture of pain, pleasure and recognition. Griffin updated the difficult second act, but did so gently and cautiously, focused on this great musical's main themes: the perils of not living in the moment and the failure to understand when one must move on. Thanks in no small measure to the blistering work of actress Carmen Cusack, this was the best work yet of Griffin's still relatively young but increasingly distinguished career.