SHIPWRECKED! (Walnut): A delight of theater

SHIPWRECKED! goes to the heart of storytelling. It doesn’t matter whether a tale is true or false as long as it engages and even thrills.

BUS STOP (BRT): A place of isolation

All of the individual stories the wayfarers tell in William Inge’s BUS STOP come through clearly in Susan D. Atkinson’s production of the ’50s classic at Bristol Riverside Theatre.

TAPPIN’ THRU LIFE (DTC): A Las Vegas lounge life

A revue, and review, of performer Maurice Hines’s life.

CLOSER (Eagle): Words are not enough

Patrick Marber is a master of words. But in this production words, well composed as they are, are not enough.

GYPSY (Media Theatre): Everything’s coming up roses

GYPSY is an often produced classic for good reason and is terrific as Mama Rose in the Media Theatre’s production.

BULLSHOT CRUMMOND (Hedgerow): On-target farce

Mark Tallman’s brisk, amiable production moves easily between farcical comedy and intuitive and intelligent theater.

GOD OF CARNAGE (Montgomery Theater): A rich unraveling

Civilization is not easy to maintain. One knock and the lapse of a moment can set it off kilter.

HIGH SOCIETY (Walnut): A curious Philadelphia Story

A curiously performed version of Arthur Kopit’s unnecessary rearranging and cheapening of The Philadelphia Story.

BABY DOLL (McCarter): Not a girl, not yet a woman

In Tennessee Williams’s script for 27 Wagons Full of Cotton and the 1956 screenplay that derives from it, Baby Doll, everybody puts Baby in a corner.

EURYDICE (Villanova Theatre): Death is a continuation of life

Death, as experienced in director James Ijames’s comic yet movingly evocative production of Sarah Ruhl’s play, is a continuation of life.

ALL MY SONS (People’s Light): A treat from the golden age of American theater

Seeing a naturalistic play by one of the masters of the form, Arthur Miller, with a cast and set that are as realistic and as authentically moving as the text, is a rarity and a treat.

HENRY V (PA Shakespeare): The king is but a man

While HENRY V contains two of Shakespeare’s most stirring speeches, smaller, less rhetorical moments are the more engrossing in Matt Pfeiffer’s staging for Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

BITTER HOMES AND GARDENS (Bearded Ladies at PHS Pop-Up)

The Bearded Ladies latest show is planted full of good ideas, some of which germinate, some of which reach farther than they can comically travel, and some of which die on the vine.

Ben Dibble, winner of "Best Actor" for his role in Herringbone at Flashpoint Theatre.

Picks for Best in Theater, 2014/15, by Philly Reviewer Neal Zoren

Each year, Philadelphia-based reviewer Neal Zoren announces his choices for the Helen and Morris Zoren Awards for World Theater. A fair number of the picks on Neal’s list are performers and productions from the Philadelphia area.

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (PA Shakespeare): A comic circumnavigation of Verne’s classic

Director Russell Treyz grants quarter to cogent, cohesive storytelling in his production Mark Brown’s adaptation of AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS for Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival.

I HATE HAMLET (Montgomery): Paul Rudnick knows a hawk from a handsaw

I have seen a dozen productions of I HATE HAMLET, including the legendary Broadway staging that induced Evan Handler to complain to Actors Equity against co-star Nicol Williamson. This is one of the best.

MY MOTHER HAS 4 NOSES (People’s Light): It all smells funny in hindsight

The title of Jonatha Brooke’s presentation with music, MY MOTHER HAS 4 NOSES is literal.

HOW TO WRITE A NEW BOOK FOR THE BIBLE (People’s Light): Old pros take on a new book

HOW TO WRITE A NEW BOOK FOR THE BIBLE is a story about a life, a biography centered on the changing regard we have for our parents as we see them age.

PASSION (Arden): Pretty anticlimactic

Excerpted from NealsPaper.com by kind permission. Stephen Sondheim’s musical PASSION comes to a pivotal point at which a young soldier, Giorgio (Ben Michael), suddenly becomes deeply enamored of the homely, lonely, Fosca (Liz Filios). It…

I LOVE A PIANO (Walnut): A Berlin marathon

Conceived with a book by Ray Roderick and Michael Berkeley, I LOVE A PIANO is a valentine to Irving Berlin music through the ages