BEST 2013: Best Boston Theater Company

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. Of course, some men and women are better at it than others, and some of them happen to be here in Boston making great theater. From experimental theater to tried and true classics, our local theater companies consistently produce compelling entertainment for a diverse regional audience. Here are the groups that you, the readers, have nominated for Best Theater Company in our 2013 poll. Don't forget to vote!  

A.R.T. | Cambridge
The American Repertory Theater is one of the most well-known in the country. In 2012, it won the Tony for Best Revival for its production of Porgy and Bess, and recently big name Zachary Quinto has been mystifying audiences in A.R.T.'s The Glass Menagerie. At their second stage, the Oberon, quirky productions are interspersed with a weekly showing of The Donkey Show. To top it off, they also run the A.R.T. Institute, a graduate program with a residency at the Moscow Art Theater School in Russia.

Actors' Shakespeare Project | Somerville
The Actors' Shakespeare Project is now a well-established company in its ninth season, but their productions still have a sense of innovation about them that some would not typically associate with The Bard. They have employed an array of devices to bring Shakespeare's work forward in time, including modern production designs and creative use of their performance spaces. ASP also runs a program called Incarcerated Youth At Play, which encourages court-involved youth to foster relationships and expand their knowledge through the themes in Shakespeare's work.

Company One | Boston
Company One is a resident theater company at Boston Center for the Arts, and they are all about diversity. C1's latest season alone contains plays that deal with the Occupy movement, the war-torn streets of Baghdad, the struggle to break into the rap scene, and the dangers of emigration. The progressive company has been honored by the American Theatre Wing, the Elliot Norton Awards, the Independent Reviewers of New England Awards, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council Awards.

Huntington Theatre Company | Boston
The Huntington Theatre Company is in residence at the Boston University Theater on Huntington Ave., where their gorgeous set designs consistently have audiences and critics drooling. Since its founding in 1982, The Huntington has transferred 16 shows to New York and premiered dozens of new plays. Their current season included classics Our Town and A Raisin in the Sun, alongside new plays Rapture, Blister, Burn and Now or Later.

Liars & Believers | Cambridge
Liars & Believers, or LAB, is the newest of the nominees. They are also the most likely to push the envelope...or just discard it altogether. LAB stresses the importance of theatrical forms other than text-based naturalism, and their original productions focus on collaborations with other artists. The forms they've played around with include puppetry, poetry, dance, masks and live music. Their last production, Lunar Labyrinth, was an interpretation of an unpublished Neil Gaiman short story.

Whistler in the Dark | Boston
Whistler in the Dark is an ensemble theater company that places emphasis on intimacy in their performance. Whether they are staging an existing work or a new creation, the form is often experimental and minimalist, focusing on the actors. Accessibility is also a big part of Whistler's mission -- they recently introduced a pay-what-you-can model for tickets to their shows in hopes of welcoming artists, students and anyone else on a budget into the Whistler audience.

Catch some live theater and then get voting! And don't forget that if you don't see your rave local theater company repped here, you can write it in!  Voting for the 2013 Best Boston Readers' Poll ends March 8! 

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