Best Theater Company St. Louis 2011 - The Black Rep
What an audacious season the Black Rep mounted this year. At a time when a moribund economy encouraged the downsizing of theater, the Black Rep sneered into the gloomy face of reality and presented super-sized productions. They didn't merely produce plays; they assaulted them. The result was a veritable barrage of drama and comedy. The season opened with a sumptuous staging of Shakespeare's rarely seen Pericles, Prince of Tyre, then followed that with another large-cast offering, Lynn Nottage's volcanic Pulitzer Prize winner, Ruined. The season continued with a U.S. premiere (The Real McCoy, about inventor Elijah McCoy), a world premiere (the Capra-esque Montford Point Marine) and Black Pearl Sings! which provided a poignant showcase for the talented Denise Thimes. All six shows possessed elements of surprise and originality, which is what should keep audiences returning. The only predictable component in this six-play season was the assurance that sameness would not enter into the equation — and it never did.