Sure, it's been the biggest, best-known, best-endowed serious theater in town for generations, but when was the last time the Kansas City Repertory Theatre was just the flat-out best? In its first year under new Artistic Director Eric Rosen, the institution has achieved that and more: by taking ballsy risks, like the rap opera Clay; setting nationally known directors David Cromer and Moisés Kaufman loose on such American classics as The Glass Menagerie and Into the Woods; daring risky new works, such as the musical adaptation of Winesburg, Ohio; and trusting audiences with inspired unclassifiables like Mary Zimmerman's The Arabian Nights — all while supporting local talent and maintaining top-notch technical and design standards. The new Rep isn't just far and away Kansas City's best theater. It's one of the country's best. Coming soon: Rosen chucks A Christmas Carol.