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BEST LITTLE PLAYHOUSE THAT COULD Phoenix 2003 - Nearly Naked Theatre Company

We'd sooner eat our playbill than employ that overused phrase "Broadway caliber," but we're struggling to come up with a better description of this teeny troupe's last season. With its letter-perfect production last August of Neil LaBute's humorous morality play The Shape of Things, Nearly Naked set the bar impossibly high. By November, the five-year-old company had surpassed itself with its widely acclaimed take on Peter Shaffer's postmodern sex-and-equine-imagery drama Equus. No other company, not even our biggest-budgeted Equity houses, came anywhere near Nearly Naked's stylish productions and splendid choices, and we're hoping they remain -- to quote Jacqueline Susann, "undraped on the stage" -- for a long time to come.

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