12/31/06 - Posted from the Daily Record newsroom

Bill Westhoven
High points of '06

Morris area stages served up great theater

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Writing this traditional end-of-the-year column is never a chore. What better way to celebrate the holiday season than to sit back and revisit all the great theater you've seen over the past 12 months -- lingering on the high points, and fast-forwarding through the others.

Regular readers know the reach of this column covers most of north and central New Jersey, but only the eight professional theaters operating in the Daily Record area are eligible.

Those theaters are the Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum in Morris Township, Centenary Stage Company at Centenary College in Hackettstown, The Growing Stage Theatre in Netcong, Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, Playwrights Theatre in Madison, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison, Tri-State Actor's Theater in Sussex and the Women's Theater Company in Parsippany.

With the boilerplate legalese behind us, please turn off your cell phones and pagers and applaud the winners of the 2006 Morris Stage awards:

Best drama

David Wiltse's "The Good German" at Playwrights Theatre in Madison (not the current movie of the same name). An astonishing period drama set in Nazi Germany -- a woman asks her husband (an anti-Semite who doesn't think much of the Nazis, either) to hide a Jewish man in their home. When the Nazis kill her, the men forge a tense bond that leads to an inevitable explosion. In short, the best play I've ever seen at Playwrights.

Honorable mention: "Richard III" at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey was more fun than we could have possibly imagined.