Read highlights from Mike Fischer’s Best of 2017 list, which spotlights Candide as one of the ten best theater productions in Wisconsin out of the 250 shows that he saw from the year.
1. “A View From the Bridge”: I loved Ivo van Hove’s recent Tony-winning revival of Miller’s great play. But the American Players Theatre production, directed by Tim Ocel and featuring an unforgettable performance by Jim DeVita, was even better.
2. “Silent Sky”: David Cecsarini directed a Next Act cast led by Deborah Staples that gave Milwaukee its first look at one of the best plays by Lauren Gunderson, a playwright receiving more U.S. productions this year than anyone not named Shakespeare.
3. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”: APT unveiled its new stage by turning to the first play it ever performed, through director John Langs’ inclusive and insightful take on an old play that felt exuberantly young.
4. “Great Expectations”: With hefty assists from adapter Gale Childs Daly, a splendid design team and a solid Milwaukee Chamber Theatre ensemble, director Molly Rhode delivered a thrillingly theatrical production that would have made Dickens proud.
5. “Sweeney Todd”: Director Matthew Ozawa gave the demon barber and all his victims credible backstories, adding flesh to the freshets of blood in Skylight Music Theatre’s production of this Sondheim classic.
6. “Candide”: Proving anew that it’s among the best of all possible places to see Wisconsin theater, director James Valcq’s eight-actor Third Avenue Playhouse cast delivered a fun and musically superior production of Bernstein’s classic operetta.
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