- Kirsten Salpini, Murder for Two at the Lyric Stage
A brilliant comedic performance, Salpini’s delirious turn as all of the suspects in this musical murder mystery was pure gold. It’s the only performance this year that had me crying with laughter.
- Doug Lockwood, Richard II at Actors’ Shakespeare Project
It is no easy task to find the right balance between entitled self-absorption and heartbreaking vulnerability, but that is exactly what Lockwood managed in his portrayal of the deposed king. His stunning delivery of Richard’s divine prose was masterful.
- Eugene Lee, How I Learned What I Learned at Huntington Theatre Company
Lee left nothing on the table in this emotionally rich theatrical autobiography by August Wilson. Lee’s spellbinding candor and exquisite storytelling were as wrenching as they were life-affirming.
- Brandon Green, An Octoroon at Company One Theatre/ArtsEmerson
In a performance of awe-inspiring range, Green’s exhaustive turn as BJJ, a “black playwright” struggling with his art and his identity, who slaps on whiteface to (sort of) tell the story of Boucicault’s The Octoroon, was breathtaking.
- Hilda Fay, The Plough and the Stars at American Repertory Theater
As Bessie Burgess, a coarse, aggressive alcoholic with British loyalty, Fay was the emotional center of this tense revival. Her transformation from abrasive trouble maker to a kindhearted protector who loses her own life in the process was gut-wrenching.
- Jeremiah Kissel, Fiddler on the Roof at New Repertory Theatre
Kissel had big shoes to fill, and fill them he did. His richly layered, exhaustively detailed, altogether triumphant turn as Tevye was a revelation. See him for yourself through Jan 1.
- The cast of Regular Singing at New Repertory Theatre
The uncannily naturalistic performances at the center of Regular Singing were a masterful feat. The intimacy and honesty of this group of six actors made this farewell to the Apple Family a quietly riveting achievement.
The cast of The Scottsboro Boys at SpeakEasy Stage
It is impossible to single out just one performance from this air-tight ensemble of 13; all helped to make this production the most emotional theatrical experience of 2016. Infectious, heartbreaking, and outright raw, Scottsboro will return for a limited engagement through Jan 22. Don’t miss it.
- Becca A. Lewis, Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. at Company One Theatre
Lewis gave the most fearless performance of the year in Alice Birch’s blistering exploration of the ways in which women are consistently betrayed by society. From effortless comedy to moments of suffocating pain, Lewis is a marvel.
- Melinda Lopez, Mala at ArtsEmerson
Organic, frank, funny, and devastating, Lopez laid bare all of the reasons why she is a priceless asset to the Boston theater community. Lopez also wrote Mala, an autobiographical examination about the impossibility of taking care of our loved ones as they reach the end of their lives.