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Best Theater Company 

Rep Studio

The operative word here is "company." For better or worse, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis is an all-out, full-fledged, Equity-sanctioned company. The better part is almost always found in the belly of the beast, downstairs in the Emerson Studio Theatre — one of the few stages in town that succeeds in making claustrophobia an adventure rather than a limitation. Granted, the Rep Studio only stages a three-play season. But during the past year those three plays included the most palpitating production to be seen anywhere (Caryl Churchill's A Number) and the world premiere of a topical new tract (Ordinary Nation, by Carter W. Lewis). The new season begins next month with the much-anticipated The Clean House, written by an important young playwright named Sarah Ruhl. Not everything works down there underneath the Rep mainstage. But despite the occasional misfires, the Studio's consistent track record makes it the one venue in town where you always begin your evening with a sense of anticipation.

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