Best theater sets of the decade

1. A Moon for the Misbegotten (Goodman, 2000) Eugene Lee’s expansive vision of the Tyrone homestead, complete with working water pump, was the most...

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1. A Moon for the Misbegotten (Goodman, 2000) Eugene Lee’s expansive vision of the Tyrone homestead, complete with working water pump, was the most memorable aspect of this tepid revival starring Gabriel Byrne.
2. Hard Times (Lookingglass, 2001) The complex metal-and-wood architecture of Daniel Ostling’s split-level set mirrored the industrial structure of Dickens’s classic.
3. Giulio Cesare (Societas Raffaello Sanzio at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 2002) This hypnotic and wildly experimental Italian import filled the MCA stage with impressive Roman colonnades as well as a live, painted horse.
4. Seagull (Redmoon, 2003) In Stephanie Nelson’s inventive design, the rooms in which Chekhov’s tragedy takes place unfolded along with the plot.
5. The Pool of Bethesda (Umalleniay at Live Bait Theater, 2004) Brian Sidney Bembridge transformed the tiny Live Bait studio space into a sauna with a sunken pool for this meandering tale of a dying doctor.
6. 4.48 Psychosis (The Hypocrites, 2005) Sean Graney’s brilliant promenade design for Sarah Kane’s dark play, shuttling the audience among bathroom, bedroom and doctor’s office, made the Steppenwolf Garage space into a proxy for the writer’s mind.
7. Request Programme (Trap Door Theatre, 2006) Trap Door’s set design usually tends toward the minimal, but for Franz Xaver Kroetz’s photorealistic play, A. Joy Shoemaker and Bill Kinney replicated a cramped European apartment.
8. August: Osage County (Steppenwolf, 2007) Todd Rosenthal’s mammoth design for the Weston family home matched the scale of Tracy Letts’s epic and earned the designer a Tony Award.
9. As Told by the Vivian Girls (Dog and Pony at Theatre on the Lake, 2008) Devon de Mayo and company used every nook of the space for their environmental take on outsider artist Henry Darger.
10. The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Victory Gardens with Teatro Vista, 2009) Brian Sidney Bembridge’s bombastic set turned the Biograph Theater into a WWF–style wrestling outpost, perfectly complementing Kristoffer Diaz’s charged script.

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