Calling Troy Mink "one to watch" is like calling Jesus "one to worship"--people have been watching and worshipping for years, and will continue to do so, no matter what any newspaper says. Rightly so: Mink is a true local treasure, whose gifts for improvisation and mimicry have won the former Kentuckian a diehard local following. His work includes a 13-character one-man mystery, The Haint, and the ongoing Carlotta's Late Nite Wing-Ding, though the true level of his genius, according to Sam Schroeder, a self-described "Loyal Wing-Ding Cultist and Friend to Troy Mink," is best illustrated by a stunt Mink once pulled to win a bet: "While looking for a day job, Mink happened upon an opening at the Space Needle to be an elevator operator. Troy showed up at the interview as Carlotta [Mink's elderly Southern Baptist alter-ego]. Mink played Carlotta so convincingly, she was offered the job." Carlotta had to decline for lack of legal identification, but when she revealed her true identity, Mink was hired on the spot. Mink's no longer guiding lucky tourists up the Space Needle, but Carlotta continues to wow the crowds at her Wing-Ding. Plus, Mink's got a brand new show--Kentucky Ghosts, a collaboration with K. Brian Neel, adapted from an anthropological study of Appalachian ghost stories. Go, watch, worship. DAVID SCHMADER


Amy O'Neal is not a dancer's dancer. Sure, she's danced with the venerable Pat Graney Company and Mary Sheldon Scott/Jarrad Powell Performance and, like many Seattle dancers, she supplements her income with a teaching gig at Velocity, but her reach extends beyond the hermetic dance world. Her primary work is with the high-energy Locust, where she's half of a choreographer/composer duo (the other half is Zeke Keeble; powerhouse dancer Ellie Sandstrom is a frequent collaborator). Western Bridge director Eric Fredericksen says O'Neal's choreography "comes out of a rock culture, a new-music culture--you could refer to it as 'downtown.'" Northwest Film Forum's Michael Seiwerath, who asked Locust to create a site-specific work at the treacherous, concrete Little Theatre space last November, also cites the strong theater and video aspects of the work, and heaps praise upon O'Neal and Sandstrom's "fearless dancing." Locust's new full-length piece, convenience, will incorporate work from the beloved theater troupe Collaborator, and O'Neal recently assisted as movement director for the fat-suited sexpots of Do Group's Flo & Glo. If O'Neal can choreograph for ladies in Marshmallow Man-proportioned wire-hoop fat suits, then what can't she do? ANNIE WAGNER


The scenic and lighting designer L. B. Morse is a master of the clean line. His work focuses an audience on the essentials: concepts, movement, emotion. This aesthetic is great for dance--he worked with Maureen Whiting on Juicy Point earlier this year--but it's also ideal for any play with a relentless urge to communicate. I would love to see his designs for a production of Antigone, for instance, or one of Caryl Churchill's plays. Morse doesn't just conjure visual images: He engineers solutions for seemingly intractable problems. He conquers such demanding spaces as Theater Schmeater's basement grotto, where pillars obstruct sightlines and everything is cramped. As Bret Fetzer wrote in his review of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, "L. B. Morse's set neatly sidesteps the limitations of Theater Schmeater's difficult space, cunningly implying many more rooms beyond the one we see." The three multimedia screens Morse constructed for EXITheatre's Diana Moves were one of the best things about that abysmal rock musical; the design expertly blended the devotional (the triptych form) with the profane (they functioned as a receptacle for music videos). Morse is currently working on scenic design for EXITheatre's spring production, an original project entitled Rooms. He's also the Seattle Rep's lighting design associate. ANNIE WAGNER


For many years I held the opinion that music would be the means by which Felicia Loud became recognized. After watching her in two plays this year (Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center's Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, and Intiman's Crowns), and watching her last year in Book-It's adaptation of Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, I'm now of the opinion that the stage will be the medium to bring her fame. Her music is great, but her talent for acting is far more impressive. Bret Fetzer pointed out in a review of Crowns the lack of roles for black women in general, and specifically in Seattle. However, while watching a performance by Loud, one doesn't get the impression that there is a dearth of roles for her, but that she is constantly acting, constantly working the theater scene, and has no time to breathe because the gaps between her projects are so small. Felicia is a natural. CHARLES MUDEDE