One of the best things about Rhode Island after La- bor Day is the restarting of the fall arts season. Here’s a preview of what’s on stage this season. We bet you’ll be surprised at how much our little state has to offer.
One of the state’s most lauded theaters, Pawtucket’s Gamm Theatre is nationally acclaimed for presenting thought-provoking, challenging works, many of which are world premieres. From September 4-28, see Grounded, a one-woman play about a pregnant fighter pilot in the desert of Las Vegas. Revisit a classic from October 23-November 30 with Hedda Gabler, the story of a young, bored newlywed who attempts to manipulate those around her. 172 Exchange Street, Pawtucket. 723- 4266.
The venerable Trinity Repertory Company, fresh from celebrating its 50th anniversary, looks backward this fall. Trinity opens the season with one of Chekhov’s earliest works, Ivanov, from September 4-October 5. From November 20-December 21, go Barefoot in the Park with a pair of newlyweds in their 5th floor walk up apartment in 1950s New York. Trinity’s beloved annual production of A Christmas Carol goes up November 8 and runs through December 31. 201 Washington Street, Providence. 351-4242.
Join the “loverley” Ocean State Theatre in Warwick for a production of the beloved broadway musical My Fair Lady, running September 24-October 12. The show tells the tale of an English gentleman who transforms a cockney girl into a society maven, and then falls for her himself. From October 29-November 16, Dial “M” for Murder as the classic Hitchcock film is adapted for the stage in this suspenseful tale of love, intrigue and murder. 1245 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick. 921-6800.
The mystery continues at Westerly’s Granite Theatre, which is staging Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery And Then There Were None from September 5-28. From October 10-November 16, travel to the South Pacific for the musical about love across cultures during World War II. 1 Granite Street, Westerly. 596-2341.
A newcomer to South County’s theatre scene, the Contemporary Theater Company has made a big impression on local theatre-goers with its unusual and innovative productions. On September 5 and 6, ask yourself the question “what is art, really?” as Art by Yasmina Reza takes the stage. During this funny, dramatic three-man show, friendships are put to the test as they venture opinions about modern art. From October 3-5, join CTC while they’re Testing, Testing, 1234. This collection of four short plays will challenge audiences to think outside the box. 327 Main Street, South Kingstown. 218-0282.
The Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket hosts all kinds of events, from An Evening of Drag with Kitty Litter on September 11 to Ghost Hunters Live on September 18 and New England’s Got Talent on September 27. On September 12 and 13, the Encore Repertory Company presents Neil Simon’s Rumors, a farce that attempts to discover who shot the deputy mayor of New York on his tenth wedding anniversary. From October 8-10, the Awesome ‘80s Prom Interactive Dinner Show recreates one unforgettable night in 1989. October 17, 18 and 19, Encore returns to the stage for Spamalot, the Broadway musical adaptation of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Encore Kids will stage Beauty and the Beast, Jr. from November 7-9, offering a light version of the beloved Disney movie. All this, and concerts by living legends Jo Dee Messina on October 4 and Don McLean on November 13. Check out the theatre’s website for a complete list of events, because, believe it or not, there are lots more. 28 Monument Square, Woonsocket. 762-4545.
For an out-of-the-ordinary evening, visit Cranston’s Epic Theatre Company. From September 5-20, they’re staging Compleat Female Stage Beauty, which is the story of the first women allowed on stage in 17th century England. Stop Kiss, the story of two women who are attacked on a New York street after their first kiss, goes up October 10-26. From November 7-23, see what happens when The Busy World Is Hushed, where an Episcopalian family examines contradictions in their family and faith. 50 Rolfe Square, Cranston. 490-9475.
The Greenwich Odeum in East Greenwich recently reopened after years of renovation. Enjoy an evening of entertainment in the 1926 theatre, orginially built as a vaudeville house that also ran “picture shows.” On September 13, laugh at Joe DeVito – because he wants you to – as part of the Odeum Comedy Series. On September 20, Boston’s best Grateful Dead tribute band, Playing Dead, hits the stage. Grammy-winning children’s musician Dan Zanes performs on September 27, followed by “Robert Clarke Magician Juggler Funny Guy” on October 18. From November 7-8, witness Providence: A Story of the Federal Hill Mafia in the 1960s. The show is written, directed and performed by performing artists who lived in the city during the heyday of organized crime. 59 Main Street, East Greenwich. 885-4000.
An innovative, multi-platform arts experience, FirstWorks has been bringing national and international talent to Providence for the last ten years. From September 13-21, learn The Legend of the Fairy Melusine. This is the premiere performance of the five-act opera, composed by Rhode Islander Steven Jobe. On September 20, see performers take over Kennedy Plaza at FirstWorks Urban Carnevale, which is, according to FirstWorks, “a free public celebration of music, spectacle and food in downtown Providence.” Regina Carter, a violin virtuoso and legendary jazz musician, performs on October 18. Venue varies by performance. 421-4278.
The Chorus of Westerly is a community-first group that culls talent from all over South County, and has managed to present beautifully rendered choral works every season for 56 years now. Join the chorus on November 23 for the first performance of the fall, which features selections from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. George Kent Performance Hall, 119 High Street, Westerly. 596-8663.
Providence Performing Arts Center is the state’s only venue to see traveling productions of large scale Broadway shows. This season promises an exciting roster of modern works and classics. From October 10-18, fall in love with the revival of Cinderella, Rogers and Hammerstein’s musical version of the beloved fairy tale. From November 4-9, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat takes the stage. The Andrew Lloyd Webber show about the Biblical story of Joseph stars American Idol alums Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo. PPAC also hosts world class musicians, like Steely Dan on September 7, and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull on October 29. 220 Weybosset Street, Providence. 421-2787.
The newly refurbished Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence has an exciting fall lineup, from Masters of Illusion: Believe the Impossible on October 19 to Paul Anka on November 12 and Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival on November 16. For a little bit of the South in New England, see The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County on November 22 or Straight No Chaser on November 23. One Avenue of the Arts, Providence. 421-2787.
Warren’s 2nd Story Theatre stages high quality productions in the intimate setting of a small town theater. The theater features two stages (one on the second story) and a bar area downstairs. The company’s summer season included Freud’s Last Session, which imagines a meeting between Freud and CS Lewis, and Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery, And Then There Were None. From September 4-14, 2nd Story’s production of Sylvia returns after a sold out first run. Keep a lookout for the 2014-2015 season, to be announced in coming weeks. 28 Market Street, Warren. 247-4200.
The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra offers musical evenings throughout the year, beginning with a performance of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto on September 20, featuring Augustin Hadelich on the violin. On October 18, the orchestra will play Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade! with guest conductor Daniel Hege. The Philharmonic will close out their fall performances on November 15, with conductor Larry Rachleff returning Vivaldi’s classic The Four Seasons. 667 Waterman Avenue, East Providence. 248-7070.