1. “The Bluest Eye,” Guthrie Theater: With an affecting cast, the story of three black girls in 1940s Ohio became a universal work about pain, resilience and transcendence in this achingly beautiful adaptation of Toni Morrison’s breakout novel staged by Lileana Blain-Cruz.
2. “Vietgone,” Mixed Blood Theatre: Qui Nguyen’s witty, hip-hop-inflected story about his parents’ flight from Southeast Asia to America has been likened to “Hamilton.” Director Mark Valdez’s engrossing production featured an acidly playful cast led by Meghan Kreidler, David Huynh, Sherwin Resurreccion and Sun Mee Chomet.
3. “King Lear,” Guthrie: Two stage giants alternated as the unmoored monarch in Joseph Haj’s elegant production. Stephen Yoakam brought an earthy, crackling majesty to the role, while Nathaniel Fuller was more ethereal — a feather on the wind looking for a soft place to land.
4. “Electra,” Ten Thousand Things: In finely etched performances, actors Audrey Park and Kurt Kwan argued for sympathy and understanding as the two Greek siblings who kill their mother in director Rebecca Novick’s wrenching adaptation of the Euripides tragedy.
5. “Girl Shakes Loose,” Penumbra Theatre: Imani Uzuri’s musical was not just a fluid story about a bisexual young woman’s coming of age. It also signaled the lofty ambitions of Penumbra’s new leader, Sarah Bellamy.
6. “The Abominables,” Children’s Theatre: Composer Michael Friedman died six days before the premiere of his hockey-themed musical. That tragedy, plus the show’s themes of helicopter parenting and the professional ambitions of amateur athletes, sharpened the emotions around Steve Cosson’s urgent, sweet staging.
7. “Wit,” Artistry: Shaving her head as part of a larger commitment to get under the skin of Vivian Bearing, an English professor with ovarian cancer, stage legend Sally Wingert brought poignancy and unflinching toughness to the Pulitzer-winning play by Margaret Edson.
8. “Hamlet,” Park Square: Writer/director/designer Joel Sass brought sharp skills to bear on his remix of “Hamlet” as a modern “House of Cards” infused with elements of “Poltergeist.” Actor Kory LaQuess Pullam found new colors for the melancholic prince.
9. “Wedding Band,” Penumbra: Dame-Jasmine Hughes and Peter Christian Hansen were magnificent in Lou Bellamy’s exquisite production of this Alice Childress drama about cross-racial love in 1918 South Carolina.
10. “Fly by Night,” Jungle Theater: Actors Chris Koza, Royer Bockus and Leah Anderson — all new to the Twin Cities theater stage — brought authenticity to this folk-rock musical revolving around a love triangle in 1965 New York.