Friswold: Several shows stuck with me for days afterward. Carolyne Hood's direction of Anton in Show Business was so crafty I didn't really appreciate it until much later; this St. Louis Shakespeare production has begun to color how I think about what I'm seeing onstage.

Brown: Eight years ago Hood was a sublime Blanche DuBois in the HotHouse Streetcar Named Desire.

Friswold: Speaking of memorable performances, Avalon's Country Girl was incandescent, thanks to Erin Kelly and John Contini. Actors' Studio's Rock 'n' Roll is another production that infiltrated my mind; I listened to nothing but the Velvet Underground throughout November. It was like I was twenty again.

Ben Nordstrom and Steve Isom in Gutenberg! The Musical!
John Lamb
Ben Nordstrom and Steve Isom in Gutenberg! The Musical!

Brown: So much good work! Elizabeth Berkenmeier was bewitching as an isolated young girl in Outlying Islands. Gary Wayne Barker and Colleen Backer roller-coasted their way through the cadences of Richard Wilbur's droll verse translation of Molière's Tartuffe. Magan Wiles brought a humbling passion to My Name is Rachel Corrie. Brandi Wooten was a hoot in Promises, Promises. Dean Christopher invigorated The Good Doctor, and Kevin Beyer was simply stunning as the Coach in That Championship Season.

Friswold: Mr. Beyer was fantastic in Rock 'n' Roll as the genial secret policeman, Milan. It's a comparatively small part, but he made it memorable. The number of actors in town who excel at this skill is considerable. Chris Jones, who I think of primarily as a comic actor, was excellent as the dimwitted farmer Simeon in Muddy Waters' Desire Under the Elms, and he was brilliant as the morose political idealist Ferdinand in Rock 'n' Roll — no mean feat in that powerful cast (you'd think I wrote this play the way I go on about it). B. Weller is another actor who wears his characters so snugly that it takes me five or ten minutes to recognize him some nights.

Brown: We could go on and on, couldn't we? Let's make a resolution to do this again next year.

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