Best Theater Company - 2009
Before Philip Boehm created Upstream Theater five years ago, no one was bemoaning the lack of European theater here in the heartland. So Boehm has succeeded in filling a void that didn't exist. It has been a pleasure to watch this theater company — perhaps more accurately described as a collective, because Boehm is drawn to talent in the same way that lint is drawn to a black shirt — start from scratch and evolve before our eyes. Upstream never stages more than three shows per season, but they are meticulously crafted with loving care. Two Upstream offerings in the past twelve months — Athol Fugard's South African drama Blood Knot and Georg Büchner's Woyzeck — were filled with thrilling elements, including performances that reaffirm how gifted some of our local actors are. Yes, sometimes an Upstream offering can be a challenge, but more than likely it also will be an event. And how often can you say that about theatergoing?