Best Theater - 2008
The quality of a theater doesn't enhance the quality of the theater. Church basements, reclaimed storefronts, old black boxes — you can see a great show in any of these spaces in St. Louis almost year-round. But a truly beautiful theater, like the Grandel, well, it has the power to improve you. That steep bank of stone steps out front is climbed purposefully: "I'm going to the theater," one thinks, recognizing that this is a night out. OK, so the lobby is a touch nondescript, but then you round the corner and take in the elegant rake of the seats, the dark wood, the daunting vault of the ceiling with its heavy beams and tidy rigging — suddenly you're glad you put on a clean shirt and wonder if you have anything stuck in your teeth. Take a seat — there's nary a bad one in the house, even in that short row at far stage left — and drink in the splendor from a new angle. Theater, like life, is about feeling something, being moved by the artistry of your fellow man; the Grandel primes you for that experience. Now go out and revel in it.