The House of Blue Leaves.
For a long time, I thought the best play I ever saw in Minneapolis was Evita at the Ordway Theater. By far, the touring Broadway edition was the best work I had seen or heard in The Cities when I saw it in 2008. But, it's been dethroned.
The House of Blue Leaves is not a great play. In fact, it's sort of quirky. But the dialogue is good and the scenes are interesting for the actors and there's a lot of motion nearly all the time. So audiences tend to like it. But, the truly big ticket item that makes this a great performance is the actors. That may sound a bit trite for it is usually the actors that one comes away with as to a feel for how the play went. I'm sure that Macbeth, or Sunshine Boys, or The Producers, or The Odd Couple...any great play that is poorly cast would not stand up well with an audience.
But this performance of Blue Leaves is truly extraordinary. Ben Kutschied has done a magnificent job casting this play. Every actor has a crisp and powerful performance, from the lead to the minor characters. It's hard to say that about live theater. In this case it is absolutely true. I actually got the feel, from the very beginning, that I was not in a theater watching actors on a stage...instead, I was inside the Brooklyn apartment of a washed up singer and his crazy wife and public girlfriend, then among the insanity of a son gone wrong, and the final resolution of the anguish and heartache of love that dried up and the desperation that it draws out of people.
Yes, I went to 1960s New York at the Theater in the Round the other day, and it was beautiful, moving and amazing. I can't thank them enough for the really good photographs I captured of the hard work rehearsals that they went through to create these characters and the outstanding performance when they made them come alive.