Best Of 2008

BEST SHOW AT THE MAHAFFEY: Sweeney Todd

OK, we said Mahaffey, we meant to say “The Mahaffey Theater at the Progress Energy Center for the Arts.” Whatever you call the place, the programming at this beautifully renovated, beautifully situated venue has had its ups and downs. But Tampa Bay theatergoers got a rare treat last spring when the Mahaffey (and Live Nation) booked the national tour of the Broadway revival of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, brilliantly re-imagined by director John Doyle in a spare, inventive staging that had actors doubling as musicians. Doyle’s approach was just as chilling as Tim Burton’s screen version and did a better job than the movie of conveying the musical’s comic aspects. Nothing this exhilarating is on the docket for 2008-09 (unless you count Charo’s “Latin Explosion!”) but we can still hope. 400 First St. S., St. Petersburg, mahaffeytheater.com