1. “Assassins”: Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s 28-year-old musical about damaged people’s drastic attempts to deal with a confusing world could not have been more timely or more beautifully sung than Theater Latté Da’s production. (Speaking of musicals and history, the brilliant “Hamilton” tour misses this list only because I opted to concentrate on new-to-me productions.)
2. “The Wolves”: A wildly talented ensemble of young women, many of them new to Twin Cities stages, explored the wit and inspiration of a bold new play about community and female power. Missed it? The Jungle Theater production returns, with the same cast and crew, starting Jan. 29 at the Southern Theater.
3. “Make Believe Neighborhood”: In the Heart of the Beast’s affectionate salute to Mr. Rogers was a playful, innovative joy that used more than a dozen puppet depictions of the legend to bring his story to inspiring life.
4. “887”: Storyteller Robert Lepage brought a scale model, complete with tiny people, and eye-popping video to Walker Art Center to tell us where he came from in this meditation on how imperfect memory colors the way we live our lives.
5. “Indecent”: Paula Vogel’s time-traveling drama pays tribute to the enduring power of storytelling. The stunning Guthrie production turned its thrust stage into an enormous, crumbling theater.
6. “Last Stop on Market Street”: A cold city of strangers reveals itself to be full of warmth and love in CTC’s buoyant musical about finding friends in unexpected places.
7. “Is God Is”: Dame Jasmine Hughes reprised her Obie Award-winning role in Aleshea Harris’ luridly entertaining revenge melodrama at Mixed Blood. And, yes, there was blood.
8. “Hand to God”: Was there ever a year when we needed laughter more? The hardest I guffawed in 2018 was at this scabrous comedy about a power-mad puppet that may be the devil himself.
9. “The Lorax”: The production, led by Steven Epp’s rags-to-riches-to-villain-to-hero performance as the Once-ler, and puppeteers Meghan Kreidler, H. Adam Harris and Rick Miller as the title character, gracefully captured the spirit of Dr. Seuss.
10. “The Good Person of Szechwan”: Founder Michelle Hensley left Ten Thousand Things in good stead with a hopeful production of the Bertolt Brecht classic featuring a dynamite cast that included Christina Baldwin, Sun Mee Chomet and Joy Dolo.