Hot Tickets

From a hyper-local musical to global cinema offerings, here are good reasons to bundle up and see a show


Gather ‘round, film buffs and musical aficionados. Providence is a hotbed for movies and theater this month. Check out some of our favorites:

The Empire Revue Presents: Benny’s: The Musical” is the revival of a local favorite. That famous bright red building meant community, family business, and fair pricing. Founded by Benjamin Bromberg in 1924, Benny’s was an automotive store that became an all-purpose favorite throughout the years: part toy shop, general merchandise, convenience and purveyor of seasonal wares. For many locals, it felt like an end of an era – and of a Rhode Island as we know it – when they closed their doors for good in December 2017. It’s nice to know that the spirit of the Rhode Island institution will live on in the form of “Benny’s: The Musical,” which will be gracing the halls of AS220, exploring the Bromberg family story and the community that shaped the Rhode Island institution. March 3

Italian cinema is coming to Providence by way of Bologna. Il Cinema Ritrovato on Tour at Brown University is a satellite film festival of the Bologna-based Il Cinema Ritrovato (which translates to “cinema rediscovered” in Italian), one of the world’s most celebrated festivals of restored cinema. Although the 2019 program has yet to be announced, past years have screened Federico Fellini’s Amarcord, Michelangelo Benny’s: The Musical returns to AS220 on March 3 Antonioni’s Blow Up, Charlie Chaplin’s The Count, and featured talks moderated by leading scholars and preservationists, orchestral accompaniment to silent films, and free handmade gelato from the owner of Il Gelatauro shop in Bologna – with flavors inspired by the film programming. Because there’s no better way to be in touch with Fellini than eating his favorite gelato flavor, zuppa inglese, a cream-base mixed with a generous amounts of cake and liqueur, as attendees did during the 2017 festival. Dates TBD

It’s telling that the most popular word for film appreciation – cinéphilia – comes from French. Rhode Islanders can soon transport themselves to the vibrant arts culture of the Rive Gauche at the Providence French Film Festival. From the comprehensive programming, films such as Jean-Luc Godard’s The Image Book; Bertrand Mandico’s The Wild Boys; Karim Moussaoui’s Until the Birds Return; and Olivier Assayas’ Non-fiction seem particularly popular with the critics. And in case you can’t make one of the films, the programmers plan for repeat screenings for some of the most anticipated movies. February 21-March 1

Coming soon to Avon Cinema is Hirokazu Kore-eda’s film “Shoplifters”. A critical darling, winner of the Palme d’Or, and an Academy Awards Shortlist for Best Foreign Language Film, “Shoplifters” is stealing hearts across the globe. The director of “Like Father, Like Son” and “Our Little Sister” brings you the story of a group of outsiders in Tokyo forced to shoplift in order to survive. They are bonded by their shared creativity, cunning, and loyalty, but the unit is tested when their secret is found out. Visit for dates and showtimes.


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