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Year's best local theater productions had staying power

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Memorable theater grabs you emotionally and holds you even after you exit your seat. Not listed in any order, these picks for 2007 were made with this in mind. These five shows reeled me in emotionally, kept me there, and fed my thoughts long after I'd left the theater.

First, "The Pillowman" by Martin McDonagh was the inaugural production for Ghostlight Theatre Club in the a.k.a. Gallery on the Paseo. With a superlative cast, this controversial play received an outstanding production. Its tiny space accentuated the claustrophobic nature of this dark emotional thriller, and the multimedia incorporation of surreal video easily made this one of the best evenings of theater this year.

The Pollard's "The Elephant Man" had so many deserved moments when the audience seemed to be collectively choked up, swept away by the story of the deformed John Merrick. Although Pollard's "Ragtime" was also outstanding, this show is the one that still walks through my heart.

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While Oklahoma City Theatre Company's "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" was terrific, it was its production of "Amadeus" that ultimately won out. Smartly written, "Amadeus" challenges viewers to look at their own fear and ruthlessness.

CityRep's "The Fantasticks" went for the heart and won with this small, classic musical. The intimate CitySpace at Civic Center put the audience into the lap of this whimsical but wise story of young American lovers.

Finally, Carpenter Square's "Glimmer, Glimmer & Shine" was a bittersweet, darkly funny story following estranged brother musicians who dig through the disastrous debris of their past.

"?Linda McDonald

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