Mixed Blood Theatre
It's not just that Mixed Blood Theatre is coming off a particularly strong season, though its 2011 offerings were excellent from beginning to end. Mixed Blood hit particular highs with its return-to-its-roots production of Avenue Q and the end-of-the-year Center of the Margin festival, which tackled disability issues with the same verve and understanding the company has brought to other topics over the last 30 or more years. That alone was enough to push Mixed Blood to the fore, but it was a change in how folks could see the shows that really made them stand out. In the fall, Mixed Blood introduced "Radical Hospitality," offering seats to all performances free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis, which put additional weight behind the company's longstanding policy to include as many audiences as possible. The free tickets not only made for more full houses (which often can make for better performances) but shared the experience with audiences often left on the outside. Theater is a living, breathing art form, and the more who come to the party, the better the result is for everyone.