Sunday, May 15, 2022

Rankings: the Theeuhtahr [Updated: 5/15/22]

You love lists and Look to the Cookie doesn't do enough of them. Plus, Germar's life has shifted from music, to film, to . . . stage. And because he sees so many theatrical productions, he will rate and rank them here. Additionally, you're going to click this link because you want to know where your production ranks. This list does not include grade school or "junior" productions.

And remember, a score of 5.5 does not equal 55% failure. It means that the show was better than 55% of all shows.

Photo: Josh Sisk

37. Silent Sky (the 2020 pandemic, Michiana) 6/10 This is the toughest entry. People involved in this production will think I'm a hater. But a large component of the scores is "rewatchability." And even though this show may be better technically than "Mermaid" or "Wonka," it's not something you'd watch again and again. And that might not be fair, because we sing along to the hits from "Wizard of Oz," "Mermaid," and "Rock of Ages." But rules is rules. To justify this ranking, I'll include quotes from audience members: "the leads lacked chemistry" "I didn't get the set" "where were they supposed to be" "it didn't really catch me" "I didn't get the lights" "why are those stairs so big?" COVID-era shows are tough.  

36. The Wizard of Oz (2013, Southern Arizona) 7.2/10 Monkeys flew, witches melted--an all-around technical achievement. But it was also three hours long and you know how it ends.

35. It's a Wonderful Life (2018, East Central Indiana) 7.2/10 The leads dazzled. But you really have to love this era of storytelling, to love this show, in 2018.

34. Willy Wonka (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.2/10 It's always all about the Oompa Loompas! It was Wonka . . . wacky and colorful and kid-friendly.

33. The Wizard of Oz (2021, East Central Indiana) 7.2/10 One of the best family-fun summer experiences imaginable. Great performances, but a super non-traditional show.

32. Black Super Hero Magic Mama (2022 Baltimore, north) 7.2/10 These stories, writers, and performers are important. As a loud proud Black man, I love this. But I've never really loved Black "message" stories. In part, "we" tell them a lot. And I lived it, so I understand its import and accuracy. But as an audience member, I'm unfortunately always a choir member (where writer/director is a preacher). A few special performances and fun tech made this well worth the price of admission. 

31. 2 Across (the 2020 pandemic, Michiana) 7.2/10 Pandemic plays = smaller shows, smaller casts, smaller sets, smaller audiences, smaller applauses, smaller laughs. Two people talking on a train is a tough sell, even when it's perfect.

30. The Complete History of America (Abridged) (the 2020 pandemic, Michiana) 7.2/10 Tough to believe that three non-professionals (cast members) could pull this off--but they did.

29. The Little Mermaid (the 2020 pandemic, Michiana) 7.2/10 Full disclosure: Germar works on most of these productions. He failed this production. Amazing performances, but inconsistent tech and art direction. #maskup  

28. Harvey (2020, Central Indiana) 7.2/10 Each cast member played their part to perfection. Also, see above: It's a Wonderful Life.

27. A Musical Christmas Carol 7.3/10 (the 2020 pandemic, Farmland Indiana) The same perfect performances that we now take for granted from this production company. BUT a really poor technical outing. Me thinks "the -VID" strikes again.

26. The Hunchback of Notre Dame 7.3/10 (2021 Farmland Indiana) "Hunchback" is one of the oddest shows that people absolutely adore. Great performances and decent tech, but overall inconsistent.

25. Is Edward Snowden Single? 7.3/10 (2022, Baltimore, in the city) The story . . . ummmm is maybe the worst one on this list. But then it does pull together nicely at the end, and I appreciate that. The production was about as good as any on this list. It was immersive and technically creative. The co-leads performed perfectly. And the venue played its part superbly. 

24. Mamma Mia! (2021, East Central Indiana) 7.3/10 This theatre consistently does the biggest best most-crowd-pleasing-fantastical-colorful-creative-imaginative shows of all community theaters. Mamma Mia! definitely kept that streak alive.

23. Mamma Mia! (2019, Michiana) 7.3/10 This Sophie SANGS. Beautiful cast. The director and choreographer put professional stamps all over this thing.

22. Tarzan (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.3/10 They used a real baby! They swung on vines and climbed trees. Go-ril-las stole the show. 

21. Scrooge: The Musical (2017, East Central Indiana) 7.4/10 Classic and timeless tale, done by a big diverse cast. Costumed fun.

20. Into the Woods (2019, Central Indiana) 7.4/10 Talented cast. The set designers and builders optimized, and creatively utilized, a tight space.

19. The Music Man (2019, Michiana) 7.5/10 The best ensemble performance ever. 

18. West Side Story (2018, East Central Indiana) 7.5/10 Every time Maria was on stage was the best thing you've seen on a stage. Rosalia . . . Anita . . . . Tony.

17. Now and Then (2019, Michiana) 7.6/10 Casual and modern. And by the end of the show, it's life-changing.

16. Cinderella (2018, Tour) 7.6/10 Beautiful set, world-class dancing, but no soul.

15. Into the Woods (the 2020 pandemic, Farmland Indiana) 7.6/10 Pitch perfect ensemble singing. 

14. The Little Mermaid (2018, East Central Indiana) 7.6/10 Ariel nailed it. And the magic of the sea was felt throughout the performance.

13. Big River (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.7/10 I can't decide if the show is a story about:   1) two cons on the run; 2) crazy Tom Sawyer; or most likely 3) a love story between a white boy with a heart of gold and a runaway slave. Five outstanding performances made this a tough call.

12. First Date (2020, Michiana)  7.7/10 A show for people born after 1984, who would rather see a movie than a play. A home-run from the director.

11. Of Mice and Men (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.7/10 Tough tough show, made better and worse by excellent performances.    

10. Animal Farm (2012, Southern Arizona) 7.9/10 Beautiful, moving, and important. When those pigs started walking around in their overalls, you couldn't help but feel the hopelessness of the cycle. 

9. Peter and the Starcatcher (2018, East Central Indiana) 8/10 Odd. And one of the best stagey mcstage plays of all time. And who doesn't love Peter Pan?

8. Sister Act (2019, East Central Indiana) 8.5/10 F.U.N. Also, it's sexy (or it could be), funny, and colorful. Everyone in the cast got a chance to shine.

7. Glitterus: Dragon Rising (2022, Baltimore, downtown) 8.6/10 A world premiere. It's an inclusive "Wizard of Oz/Wiz," by and for millennials. Tech knocks this down a bit. "Community theatre" production, professional-level singing.

6. Matilda (2020, East Central Indiana) 8.7/10 Story? Weak and common. Writing? Random and superfluous. 8000 kids dancing in perfect sync, and singing in perfect harmony with perfect pitch in perfect Harry Potter accents? Nailed that shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

5. My Fair Lady (2017, East Central Indiana) 9/10 The perfect Eliza. Perfect direction.

4. [title of show] (2021, Michiana Indiana) 9.1/10 Four people. Four chairs. No set. These emeffers pulled it off. Good choreography and sick vocals made this an instant classic.
Photo-David DuFour

3. Rock of Ages (2018, East Central Indiana) 9.3/10 If you like the 80s, or listen to the same 10 songs on some whack work FM stations, you'll love this. Plus, it's sexy and makes no sense.

2. Annie (2018, East Central Indiana)  9.5/10 THIS is cheating. Cute little girls, performing classic choreography, to Jay Z's most popular song.

1. Beauty and the Beast (2019, Farmland Indiana) 9.6/10 Everyone sang everything like Whitney sang The Star-Spangled Banner. Plus, they DANCED--DANCING in a show, in Indiana!!! I guess when you collect a check, you get the steps right.


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