Best of Cleveland 2012

Arts & Entertainment

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Best Stage Production


As long as people like sex, drugs, and hippie music, the 1967 musical about sex, drugs, and hippies will never go out of style. This Tony-winning production was a hit at the Palace Theatre in January. The onstage nudity might have had a little something to do with that.

Staff Pick: The Life of Galileo

Best Place to See a Stage Show

Playhouse Square

This historical theater complex features nine distinct venues presenting everything from big touring stage productions and concerts to lectures and comedy shows. No wonder it's the country's largest performing arts center outside of N.Y.C. The area is always bustling with activity, and something's going on every night of the week.

1501 Euclid Ave., 216-771-4444,

Staff Pick: Playhouse Square

Best Actor

Dana Hart

Hart's virtuoso performance as a washed-up Irish theater critic in Ensemble Theatre's production of Conor McPherson's one-man play St. Nicholas had people talking late last year. It's never easy for a lone actor to carry a play all by himself — especially one that runs almost two hours. But Hart's performance had us glued to our seats every single minute.

Staff Pick: Scott Plate

Best Actress

Dorothy Silver

The 82-year-old acting legend has more energy, ambition, and spirit than a lot of people a quarter of her age. She celebrated her 56th year on the Cleveland stage last year by trying something new: a musical, as part of Fairmount Center for the Arts' production of A Little Night Music. And she nailed her role as the host of a romantic weekend getaway, hitting all the right notes.

Staff Pick: Heather Anderson Boll

Best Director

Raymond Bobgan

As executive artistic director at Cleveland Public Theatre, Bobgan decides what plays you'll see each season. And as one of the city's most prolific directors, he's brought a sharp sense of drama to some of the city's best stage productions. He just wrapped a sneak peek of his most recent work — Rusted Heart Broadcast, a multimedia piece that he also wrote — which is scheduled for the 2012-'13 season.

Staff Pick: Michael Douglas Edwards

Best Tour or Cruise

Goodtime III

The city's largest pleasure ship has been taking folks up and down the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie since 1958. The boat's four decks guarantee plenty of elbow room — even when it's filled to 1,000-passenger capacity — for gawking at Cleveland's prettiest sights, man-made and otherwise. Best of all, you'll feel all Thurston Howell-like as you drift by commoners with a drink in your hand during your three-hour tour.

825 East Ninth St., 216-861-5110,

Staff Pick: The Nautica Queen