ON STAGE: Summer 2023 Theater Roundup for Rhode Island

Skip the train and get onboard with tickets to shows by local theater companies


While it sometimes feels like we’re only a hop, skip, and a jump away from New York City, you don’t have to go all the way to Broadway to see excellent theater productions. Right here in Rhode Island, there’s a whole summer of live performances, ranging from musicals to drama to Shakespeare. Here’s a sampling of what will be hitting the stage, both indoors and out. While we’re singling out picks, visit each venue’s website for full schedules so you don’t miss a beat!


Academy Players of RI, PVD

Fans of the hit Broadway musical from Tina Fey are sure to enjoy this production of Mean Girls Jr. Billed as a “fearless musical about chasing popularity and being true to yourself,” held at the James and Gloria Maron Cultural Arts Center. July 27-August 6, AcademyPlayersRI.org


The Colonial ThEatre, Westerly

Returning for another year of Shakespeare in the Park, the Colonial brings The Tempest to the Wilcox Park open-air theater for its 32nd season. Enjoy watching the line between comedy and tragedy blur in this classic by the Bard. July 22-August 13, ColonialTheaterArt.org


Contemporary Theater Company, Wakefield

Back for another year of Shakespeare on the Saugatuck, the Contemporary Theater Company will perform The Merry Wives of Windsor under a blanket of stars. The comedy follows the scheme of Sir Falstaff, who attempts to seduce two wealthy merchants’ wives to escape his financial trouble, though it doesn’t quite go as planned. Wednesdays and Sundays, July 12-August 13, ContemporaryTheaterCompany.com


Firehouse Theater, Newport

For something a little less scripted, The Bit Players return to the stage all summer long for their improvisational hijinks that are sure to make you laugh. Their live shows are modeled after TV’s Whose Line is it Anyway? and are always at the audience suggestion, meaning you’ll
never see the same show twice! Fridays and Saturdays, FirehouseTheater.org


Granite Theatre, Westerly

Fans of classic musicals, don’t miss
Tony-award-winning Guys and Dolls. This show dances through New York City’s underbelly with a cast of strange characters trying to navigate life, love, and high-stakes gambling. July 6-23, GraniteTheatre.org


Newport Playhouse and Cabaret Restaurant

Back for another year of dinner theater, the Newport Playhouse season includes Norman, Is That You? This comedy centers on a dry cleaner who visits his son after a fight with his wife, and discovers that his son is gay. July 7-August 31, NewportPlayhouse.com


Theatre By the Sea,  Matunuck

Closing out their summer season at the Theatre by the Sea is Jersey Boys, the Tony winner Jukebox Musical. Telling the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, this show takes you behind the scenes of these rock-n-rollers. Pro-tip: Make a reservation at onsite Bravo by the Sea for dinner. August 9-September 10, TheatreByTheSea.com



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