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Nondumiso Tembe in “Lindiwe,” left, Kelvin Roston Jr. in “Oedipus Rex,” center, and Christina Hall in “Always … Patsy Cline.” (Photos by Michael Brosilow)

It would be all but impossible to survey the many great, good and sometimes disappointing productions of the past 12 months. But three recent shows suggest the great variety of work produced in Chicago – and the immense amount of talent here.

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Barbara E. Robertson, center, with, from left, Max J. Cervantes, Neala Barron, Liz Chidester, Hannah Starr, Liz Bollar and Maryam Abdi in Firebrand Theatre’s Chicago premiere of “Queen of the Mist.” (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

“There Is Greatness In Me” is the defining song in this riveting musical that releases the full “greatness” in its lead character by way of an electrifying performance by veteran Chicago actress Barbara E. Robertson. 

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From left: Rashada Dawan and Bre Jacobs with, in background, Emma Sipora Tyler, De’Jah Jervai and Roberta Burke in Firebrand Theatre and TimeLine Theatre Company’s production of “Caroline, Or Change.” (Photo by Marisa KM)

With its incendiary production, Firebrand Theatre easily secures its place among the handful of Chicago’s hottest “smaller” musical theater companies. Though there is nothing at all “small” about this formidable assemblage of talent.