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Best Performance in a Bad Play 

Angela Cristantello in Quindaro

It hurt to hate Quindaro, a well-intentioned, poorly focused, dramatically inert piece of utopian local history that came to life only when the actors — the most famous of whom dropped more lines than a season's worth of TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes — stopped talking and posed themselves in mural-style, bigger-than-history tableaux. The tale of Show-Me State slaves seeking refuge in the underground-railroad haven of Quindaro, Kansas, deserved better. Playing a schoolteacher of almost superhuman nobility, the lively Angela Cristantello brought an admirable looseness to a starchy role, finding the beating heart buried deep beneath the stiffest of dialogue. Our original review described her as "uncorking her deft laughter," which didn't go far enough. With warmth and charm, this eccentric comic performer marveled at the unlikely history taking shape around her, throwing her head back and busting out a laugh with all the wild effervescence of high-dollar bubbly.

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