Best Of 2008

BEST THEATER COMPANY: American Stage

Moonlight and Magnolias was one of several stellar shows at American Stage this season.

The 2007-2008 American Stage season included classics like Hamlet and The Pirates of Penzance, modern British hits like Harold Pinter’s Betrayal and Anthony Shaffer’s Sleuth, August Wilson’s stirring African-American Gem of the Ocean, and two hilarious comedies, Ron Hutchinson’s Moonlight and Magnolias and Stephen Temperley’s delicious Souvenir. No other theater season in the Bay area was anywhere near as wide-ranging, and no other company had so many successes. Audiences will long remember Sharon Scott’s moving Aunt Ester in Gem, Gabriel Vaughan’s haunted, harried Hamlet, and the wildly funny trio of Bryan Barter, Matthew McGee and Christopher Swan in Moonlight. And then, just when you thought you’d laughed last and best, along came Souvenir, one of the silliest plays ever mounted, about a would-be diva who had everything but a voice. Artistic director Todd Olson has been a welcome figure on the Tampa Bay arts scene for some years now, but with this delightful season, he outdid himself. Bravo! American Stage, 211 Third St. S., St. Petersburg, 727-823-PLAY