‘Clybourne Park,’ Mark Taper Forum
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Best in theater for 2012 | Charles McNulty

Bruce Norris constructed a provocative history of the house that the African American Younger family is heading to at the end of Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun.” An impeccable ensemble, under the direction of Pam MacKinnon, helped this Pulitzer Prize-winning drama capture the Tony Award for best play after the production went on to Broadway.  (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
Mike Nichols’ Tony-winning revival of Arthur Miller’s classic was wobbly in spots, but Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Willy and Andrew Garfield’s Biff found the emotional combustion when it mattered most. (Brigitte Lacombe for New York Magazine)
Sheer ecstasy for musical theater aficionados of a Sondheim bent. The side dishes alone (Elaine Paige singing “I’m Still Here,” Jayne Houdyshell belting “Broadway Baby”) are pièces de résistance by any showbiz standard. (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)
Part of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s acclaimed “Brother/Sister Plays,” this still-running poetic drama introduces L.A. audiences to an adventurously lyrical talent in a production directed by Shirley Jo Finney that is a marvel of ensemble acting. (Ed Krieger)
Anton Chekhov’s first major dramatic offering was played more comically than usual in an insouciant production by Bart DeLorenzo that still somehow managed to zero in on the tragic pathos of a decent man who cannot make sense of a life that to others seems reprehensible. (Odyssey Theatre)
Set in the 1970s, August Wilson’s drama was brought to life in all its funky, recessionary, keep-on-trucking glory in a South Coast Rep production, directed by Ron OJ Parson and starring the dependably wonderful Charlie Robinson as the demandingly upright boss of a down-and-out Pittsburgh taxi depot. (Henry DiRocco / SCR)
John Hurt’s performance in this two-character piece (the aged Krapp and his recorded younger voice on tape) was a tour de force of Beckettian acting in which slapstick and poetry united to scale our common abyss. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
David Cromer’s stark revival, starring Helen Hunt as the Stage Manager, wiped away the bittersweet sentimentality of Thornton Wilder’s classic to expose the savage beauty lying beneath the years of accumulated theatrical clichés. (Iris Schneider)
Alan Mandell and Barry McGovern made a Beckettian dream team in this reinvestigation of the absurdist classic incisively directed by Michael Arabian. It’s been a long time since existential anguish felt so good. (Craig Schwartz / Center Theatre Group)
In Pam MacKinnon’s justly celebrated revival of Edward Albee’s masterpiece, Tracy Letts (author of “August: Osage County” and a first-rate acting talent) and Amy Morton bandy the acerbic zingers with drunken relish but never at the expense of the play’s realism. (Michael Brosilow / Booth Theatre)