The Best of Silicon Valley 2012
Best Theater and Stage
Best Theater Company
San Jose Repertory Theatre
101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose. With its big blue Cubist building, the Rep can't be missed. After a smooth transition from longtime artistic director Timothy Near to new guy Rick Lombardo, the company has scored with a well-received version of Spring Awakening and a cool stage adaptation of noir classic Double Indemnity. The Rep recently scored 22 nominations from the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics' Circle.
City Lights Theater Company 529 S. Second St., San Jose
San Jose Stage Company 490 S. First St., San Jose
Best Small Theater
Company Retro Dome
1694 Saratoga Ave., San Jose. That old stately pleasure dome, Century 25, lives again. More than a venue for giving Hollywood standards the big-screen treatment they deserve, the Retro Dome has become a successfully producer of plays, most recently Becoming Britney, a musical meditation on pop stardom.
Children's Musical Theater San Jose Performances at the Montgomery Theater, San Jose
Renegade Theatre Experiment Performances at Historic Hoover Theater, San Jose
Best Dance Company
Ballet San Jose
40 N. First St., San Jose; performances at San Jose Center for the Performing Arts. A new partnership with American Ballet Theatre gives the veteran company a chance to present some major classics of the 19th and 20th-century repertory. The results are already on display in a spring season boasting several Ballet San Jose premieres.
Los Gatos Ballet www.losgatosballet.org
Best Comedy Venue
San Jose Improv
62 S. Second St., San Jose. Over the years, the Improv has built up a collection of favorite area comedians they call on to fill an opening slot here or there, or even headline. And the big names that come through regularly seem to like it, too, coming back for weekend-long stands every time they're on the road. All in all, there's a real neighborhood feel to the place, which is rare for the Improv comedy brand. We're big fans of Big Al's monthly Big Ass Comedy Show, too.
Rooster T. Feathers 157 W. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
ComedySportz 288 S. Second St., San Jose