The moniker "star" and its offspring "superstar" have become the language's most abused clichés. Decades of media-inflated hyperbole aside, the essence of a star is someone we cannot take our eyes off of -- a performer imbued with boldness and self-confidence. Over the past year, these performers reaffirmed their star status in local theater:
Scott Plate in "Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde," Cleveland Public Theatre
Playing Oscar Wilde -- homosexuality's most beloved martyr -- Plate made every aphorism appear to emerge fresh from the tortured writer's lips.
Catherine Albers in "Wit," Dobama Theater
With her chiseled, aquiline features and commanding diction, Albers tempered her usual queenly intensity with a newfound warmth and humanity.
Daniel McElhaney in "American Buffalo," Charenton Theater
McElhaney played the junkie Bobby with such a touching fragility, he appeared to be held together with chicken wire.
Alison Hernan in "The Dying Gaul," Beck Center
Exuding a film-noir dangerous womanliness, Hernan mesmerized audience members with an allure guaranteed to turn all into devoted sycophants.