The Plot Quickens

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Four years ago, musical theater in Philadelphia wasn't so much dormant as deceased. But in the 2002-'03 season's biggest surprise, musical theater was back with a vengeance with four musical productions occupying spots in this year's top 10 list. In other news, the city hosted its first ever Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival, and the Philadelphia Fringe Festival rediscovered itself with an event that exceeded all expectations. And while the Arden Theatre Company and People's Light and Theatre Company marred their otherwise excellent seasons with a couple of serious late-season disappointments, the tiny comedy outfit 1812 Productions showed itself to be a model of consistency with three productions so delightful it almost made you forget Rick Santorum has three years left in his term.

The following is our list of the best in Philadelphia-area theater for the 2002-'03 season with honorable mentions given in cases where the artists and productions were just too good not to be recognized.


The Best of Philadelphia Theater 2002-'03

TOP 10 PRODUCTIONS

>> All My Sons (Arden Theatre Company)

>> Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Painted Bride)

>> In the Blood (People's Light and Theatre Company)

>> The Little Foxes (People's Light and Theatre Company)

>> Nocturne (Theater Catalyst)

>> Pacific Overtures (Arden Theatre Company)

>> The Last Five Years (Philadelphia Theatre Company)

>> The Boxcar Children (Arden Theatre Company)

>> Bat Boy: The Musical (1812 Productions)

>> The Tempest (Lantern Theater Company)

Honorable mention: Green Violin (Prince Music Theater), Like Crazy Like Wow (1812 Productions), A Delicate Balance (People's Light and Theatre Company), The Magic Fire (Wilma Theater), Howie the Rookie (Brat Productions)

BEST PLAY

In the Blood (People's Light and Theatre Company)

BEST MUSICAL

The Last Five Years (Philadelphia Theatre Company)

BEST NEW PLAY

Cry Havoc (InterAct Theatre Company)

Honorable mention: A Picasso (Philadelphia Theatre Company), Green Violin (Prince Music Theater), Hyde, in the Shadows (Fictitious Theatre Company), Daedalus (Arden Theatre Company)

THEATER COMPANY OF THE YEAR

1812 Productions

BEST DIRECTOR, PLAY

Abigail Adams (In the Blood)

Honorable mention: Terrence J. Nolen (All My Sons), Whit MacLaughlin (The Boxcar Children), Charles McMahon (The Tempest)

BEST DIRECTOR, MUSICAL

Terrence J. Nolen (Pacific Overtures)

Honorable mention: Joe Calarco (The Last Five Years), Jennifer Childs (Bat Boy: The Musical), Michael Gray (Hedwig and the Angry Inch)

BEST ACTRESS, PLAY

Carla Belver (All My Sons)

Honorable mention: Jennifer Childs (The Madwoman of Chaillot), Roslyn Ruff (In the Blood), Claudia Robinson (Going to St. Ives), Janis Dardaris (The Little Foxes)

BEST ACTOR, PLAY

Benjamin Lloyd (Heckler)

Honorable mention: Jesse Bernstein (Brighton Beach Memoirs), William Zielinski (Northeast Local), Frank X (The Tempest), Tom McCarthy (All My Sons)

BEST ACTRESS, MUSICAL

Christine Andreas (Pal Joey)

Honorable mention: Nicole Van Giesen (The Last Five Years), Cassandra Friend (James Joyce Is Dead and So Is Paris: The Lucia Joyce Cabaret)

BEST ACTOR, MUSICAL

David Colbert (Hedwig and the Angry Inch)

Honorable mention: Ral Esparza (Green Violin), Ben Dibble (Bat Boy: The Musical), Wayne Wilcox (The Last Five Years)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, PLAY

Dawn Falato (The Madwoman of Chaillot)

Honorable mention: Erin Reilly (Nocturne), Sarah Doherty (The Boxcar Children), Cecelia Riddett (Rosemary)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, PLAY

Lenny Haas (All My Sons)

Honorable mention: Anthony Lawton (The Tempest), Raphael Peacock (Northeast Local), Johnnie Hobbs Jr. (King Hedley II), Scott Greer (Daedalus)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, MUSICAL

Mary Martello (Bat Boy: The Musical)

Honorable mention: Cheryl Mazzarini (City of Angels), Ann Arvia (The Sound of Music), Melissa Joy Hart (Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, MUSICAL

Adam Michael Kaokept (Pacific Overtures)

Honorable mention: Josh Lamon (Bat Boy: The Musical), Bev Appleton (Pacific Overtures), Scott Greer (Pacific Overtures)

BEST THEATER EVENT

Philadelphia Fringe Festival

BEST SCENIC DESIGN

Lewis Folden (The Boxcar Children)

Honorable mention: Hiroshi Iwasaki (The Ride Across Lake Constance), Lewis Folden (In the Blood), James F. Pyne Jr. (A Delicate Balance)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Susan Smythe (The Madwoman of Chaillot)

Honorable mention: Karen A. Ledger (Rosemary), Mark Mariani (Pal Joey)

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN

Mark O'Maley (Britney's Inferno)

Honorable mention: Peter Whinnery (Cry Havoc), Chris Lee (The Last Five Years), John Stephen Hoey (Every Good Boy Deserves Favor)

BEST SOUND DESIGN

Nick Rye (The Tempest)

Honorable mention: John Mock (The Madwoman of Chaillot)

BEST ORIGINAL MUSIC

Dan Martin and Martin Biello (Q)

Honorable mention: James Sugg (James Joyce Is Dead and So Is Paris: The Lucia Joyce Cabaret), Frank London (Green Violin), Andy Tierstein (Beauty and the Beast)

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

Karen Getz (Bat Boy: The Musical)

Honorable mention: Myra Bazell (Pacific Overtures), Brian Feehan (Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris)

BEST ENSEMBLE PLAY

Northeast Local (Arden Theatre Company)

Honorable mention: Terra Nova (Iron Age Theatre Company), The Magic Fire (Wilma Theater), A Delicate Balance (People's Light)

BEST ENSEMBLE MUSICAL

Pacific Overtures (Arden Theatre Company)

Honorable mention: Bat Boy: The Musical (1812 Productions)

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