It’s always great fun at the end of a season to look back and recall which performers, directors, technical artists and theater companies impressed the most. Besides being a good litmus test for the creative health of a theatrical community, it gives me a chance to relive some of those magical moments that make watching shows a joy rather than simply a job. This was my first full season as a critic in Houston and I’m pleased to say that there were many “wow” instances in a year that introduced me to the full breadth of the theater scene in the city. As a Canadian transplant, the other thing this season of reviewing showed me is that I’m ALMOST used to spelling it “theater” instead of “theatre”. Old habits die hard, eh?
The question I get asked the most from friends, artists and critics all over the world is, “Does Houston actually have a decent theater scene?” For my sanity and to the benefit of everyone in Houston, the answer is yes! Sure I would love to see a higher volume of new work produced and wish there were more non-black box space performances. And I do tremendously miss having a full-fledged, weeks long Fringe Festival jam-packed with dozens of theatre offerings from around the world. But, I’m a critic. I will always be pushing the theater community to up the ante and reach higher, embrace more risk and further allow an audiences’ intelligence to be tickled. That’s in the DNA.
But for now, instead of what I wish for, I’m happy to celebrate what was. Together with my colleagues at Houston Press, I give you the 2015 Houston Theatre Awards.