The best of Boston’s theater scene

Jules Becker | 1/3/2012, 4:16 p.m.

9. “The Secret Garden” (Longwood Players at YMCA Theatre) was a vividly evocative revival.

10. and 11.”To Kill a Mockingbird” (Boston Children’s Theatre at BCA and Roxbury Repertory Theater at Roxbury Community College) were the diverse and exciting revivals of the adaptation that honored Harper Lee’s classic novel.

12. “Spring Awakening the Musical” (F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company at Arsenal Center for the Arts) was an ambitious effort impressively realized by this exciting young company.

Large stages

1. “Candide” (Huntington Theatre Company) Bernstein would be  shouting “Bravo” for Huntington’s milestone revival, the best of all musical worlds.

2. The Cripple of Inishmaan (Druid and Atlantic Theater Company, ARTS/Emerson at Paramount Theatre) was a soaring tour.  

3. and 4. “The Comedy of Errors” and “Richard III” (visiting Propeller company at Huntington’s Boston University Theatre) were the kind of exuberant revivals that reassured jaded Shakespeare buffs.

5. “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” (A.R.T. at Loeb Drama Center; now on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre through June 24, 2012). Audra McDonald as Bess and Philip Boykin as Crown are the standouts in a vibrant ensemble.

6. “The Merchant of Venice” (Theater for a New Audience, ARTS/Emerson at Cutler Majestic Theatre) was a smart 21st century reading of the play with F. Murray Abraham a richly conflicted Shylock.

7. “My Fair Lady” (North Shore Music Theatre). The Lerner and Loewe classic was as fresh as ever.

8. “Prometheus Bound” (A.R.T. at Oberon) Steven Sater’s strong script and lyrics and Uzo Aduba’s knockout performance as Io.

9. “Ruined” (Huntington at BU Theatre) was Lynn Nottage’s timely look at women struggling for dignity and survival in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

10. “The Speaker’s Progress” (Sulayman Al-Bassam Theatre – SABAB Theatre, Arts/Emerson at Paramount Theatre) offered eye-opening insights about censorship and the manipulation of culture by dictators.

11. “Three Pianos” (A.R.T. at Loeb through January 8, 2012) focuses on Shubert and the transcendent power of music.

12. “Two Jews Walk into a War” (Merrimack Repertory Theatre). Will Lebow and Jeremiah Kissel were radiant as the last Jews of Afghanistan writing a Torah.