Second Place: Firehouse Theatre Project
Third Place: Richmond Triangle Players
Barksdale/Theatre IV had a banner year, capped by a whopping $2 million donation from philanthropists Neil and Sara Belle November to give its historic downtown venue a facelift. Regardless of how spiffy the theaters look, the combined company's strength lies in the quality of its productions and a willingness to experiment. After bread-and-butter productions such as "My Fair Lady" and "Always … Patsy Cline" in recent months, look for the popular company to move out of its comfort zone with this summer's "Spring Awakening." Meanwhile, Firehouse has boosted its profile by augmenting its always-eclectic slate with muscular productions of classics such as "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Richmond Triangle Players keep the stage perpetually occupied at their still-relatively-new performance space in Scott's Addition, drawing new audiences to everything from all-in-drag Christmas shows to more serious issue-oriented fare. Bravo!