A host of eye-opening and moving performances lit up the Twin Cities stages in 2022

1. “Beauty and the Beast.” A striking design, a lush orchestra and sublime performances by principal performers Rajané Katurah and Nathaniel Hackmann helped make Michael Heitzman’s production of this Disney musical at the Ordway Center sublime. Jamecia Bennett, Max Wojtanowicz, Thomasina Petrus, Rush Benson, and T. Mychael Rambo also had bravura turns.

2. “Happily we rolled.” Stephen Sondheim-George Furth’s famed musical closed on Broadway after 16 performances, but director Peter Rothstein’s captivating production at Theater Latté Da made “Merrily We Roll Along” one of the best of the year. Becca Hart, Charley Kringas and Reese Britts dazzled.

3. “Iphigenia in Áulide”. Stephen Epp, Regina Marie Williams and Sally Wingert were just a few of our favorite names in Marcela Lorca’s harrowing production of Euripides’ tragedy in Ten Thousand Things. JD Steele’s compositions, conducted by Billy Steele, helped “Iphigenia” resonate deeply.

4. “Sweat.” Director Tamilla Woodard’s staging of Lynn Nottage’s 2015 Pulitzer-winning drama at the Guthrie was tense, fierce and achingly beautiful.

5. “Twelve Angry Men.” It’s only a matter of time before we hear what’s next for Theater Latté Da’s world-premiering jazz musical, which excitingly retconned the classic story of a deadlock.

6. “Happening strange.” Yellow Tree Theatre’s staging of Stew’s musical that questions identity and creative spirit sometimes felt like a concert, and sometimes like a show about an artist finding his place in the world. Either way, it was melodious and fantastic.

7. “Weathering” Y “Parks”. Harrison David Rivers wrote Penumbra Theater’s dramatic comedy about a woman whose friends help her recover from a miscarriage and (with Robin P. Hickman-Winfield) History Theater’s poetic biography of the St. Paul, Gordon Parks. These distinct pieces share Rivers’ belief that humans are complicated, messy, and beautiful.

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8. “Thurgood.” Director Lou Bellamy teamed up with longtime collaborator Lester Purry for George Stevens Jr.’s Penumbra solo exhibit on the nation’s first black Supreme Court justice. Purry mustered gravitas and razor wit for his masterful turn.

9. “A Barb and Carl play.” There was softness but little sentimentality in Carlyle and Barbara Rose-Brown’s autobiographical piece at Illusion Theater about a couple’s love after a stroke. Kimberly Richardson, JoeNathan Thomas and Laura Esping kept us supported.

10. “The six apples of Bina.” Lloyd Suh’s Children’s Theater Company play about a boy’s journey of survival during the Korean War was nuanced, layered and moving.

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