1. “Hamilton”: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster hip-hop musical knocked socks off at the Orpheum Theatre with a cast every bit as good as the one folks are seeing in New York.
2. “West Side Story”: Choreographer Maija Garcia rose to the challenge of reinventing the dances for this landmark show, electrifying Guthrie artistic director Joseph Haj’s arresting production. With a razzle-dazzle cast that included Puerto Rican star Ana Isabelle as firebrand Anita, the show sizzled.
3. “The Wiz”: “American Idol” finalist Paris Bennett, Grammy winner Jamecia Bennett, vocal powerhouse Greta Oglesby and the rest of the all-star cast blew the roof off Children’s Theatre in a thrilling staging by Lou Bellamy.
4. “Newsies”: Chanhassen Dinner Theatres choreographer Tamara Kangas Erickson and director Michael Brindisi brought high-kicking dances and touching moments to this winning, well-acted and well-sung Disney musical.
5. “The Wolves”: Playwright Sarah DeLappe’s soccer-themed play orbits a team of young women practicing their sport even as they live fearlessly and honestly in their power. Taut performances by a young, skilled ensemble and Sarah Rasmussen’s propulsive direction made it irresistibly compelling.
6. “The Royale”: This boxing-themed knockout show played like a piece of music. Moving to an insistent beat, performers David Murray and Santino Craven were beautifully hypnotic in director/choreographer Austene Van’s rhythmic production.
7. “The Visit”: Director Wendy Knox tapped the Minnesota Transportation Museum’s gritty atmosphere for this stone-cold revenge story about a society losing its moral compass. As a rich woman who returns to her hometown with an empty coffin for the ex-lover who left her, Katherine Ferrand was indelible.
8. “Hype Man, a Break Beat Play”: Idris Goodwin’s deft writing, Shawn LaCount’s smart direction and an excellent ensemble from Boston-based Company One Theatre made this show stand out in Mixed Blood Theatre’s Prescient Harbingers fest.
9. “Familiar”: Misunderstandings and cross-cultural attraction exploded into laughter in the Guthrie’s poignant regional premiere of Danai Gurira’s culture-clash comedy.
10. “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf”: Actors Audrey Park and Sun Mee Chomet brought new colors, and force, to Ntozake Shange’s classic female-empowerment choreopoem at Penumbra.