Fall Theater Preview


2nd Story Theatre
This theater season is an exciting one at 2nd Story with upcoming shows such as Dangerous Corner, a gripping thriller, Neighborhood Watch, a comedy set in the home of a psychoanalyst, and Story Theater, a play derived from Grimm’s Fairy tales.

“We’re excited to collaborate with our good friends, RI’s acclaimed musical duo, Atwater-Donnelly, on Story Theater,” said President/Director Ed Shea. “It is a perfect, non-denominational holiday play that will appeal to audiences of all ages.” Atwater-Donnelly are RI based Americana-Folk musicians (and Motif Music Award winners) who have been performing together for over 27 years. Their sound incorporates instruments ranging from the mighty guitar to the humble spoon.

Contemporary Theater Company
CTC is testing the waters this fall with a brand new play. Buyer and Cellar is a one-man show focused on a man who takes a job in Barbara Streisand’s basement. The show will open at CTC before moving to the 2nd Story Theatre. The lineup also includes Sweeney Todd, a notoriously difficult play to produce because of the music, according to the director Chris Simpson: “The grimness is appropriate for the season and for our own company. We tend to produce the more visceral, less sugar-coated versions of shows.” Testing Testing 1234 will feature a collaboration with the South Kingstown High School Drama Club. Simpson said, “They’re all pros, the youth. The young people of the state and around here are so gifted and talented.”

The Gamm Theatre
Gamm is excited to kick off the season with the Tennessee Williams classic, A Streetcar Named Desire. They are bringing back actor Marianna Bassham to play Blanche, who played Hedda in The Gamm’s production of of Hedda Gabler last year.

The season will continue with Andrew Case’s The Rant. The Rant explores issues of race and justice in the investigation of a police shooting of an unarmed black teenager. The Gamm’s artistic director Tony Estrella says he is excited to pair the “timeless universal concerns” of Streetcar, with a play “looking at how we’re living right now” and to continue the theater’s reputation for supporting social and political work.

Ocean State Theatre Company
Artistic director Aimee Turner says it will be “a really multi-generational season” at OSTC, as they bring in shows that should appeal to both kids and adults. This fall, they will produce The Addams Family, the musical placing the famously kooky family at a dinner with daughter Wednesday, her boyfriend and his normal parents.

In November, OSTC is bringing Around the World in 80 Days to the stage, with five actors playing 39 different characters. It is the wacky 1870’s adventure of Phileas Fogg as he struggles to make good on a bet that he could travel the world in 80 days.

“This season is about taking something that people have a familiarity with but showing it in a new way,” says Turner.

Providence Performing Arts Center
PPAC’s 2015 fall season is packed with Tony award winning shows. “Each season, we consistently strive to bring Broadway’s Best to Rhode Island,” marketing coordinator Caitlyn DiPompo explained. “We are very excited to be launching the National Tours of Beautiful – The Carole King Musical,” debuting September 15. DiPompo elaborated, “We are looking forward to and excited about all of the shows in our season,” including two shows that are making their PVD premiere, Newsies and Motown: The Musical.

Disney’s Newsies, inspired by the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899, debuts on October 20. Mel Brooks’ classic and comic tour-de-force, The Producers will be in town on October 31 for one night only. Berry Gordy’s Motown: The Musical features over 40 jukebox hits on November 3. Back to PVD by popular demand and hailed by The NYTimes as “the best musical of this century” is Matt Stone, Trey Parker and Robert Lopez’s The Book of Mormon beginning November 17. 

Wilbury Theatre Group
The Wilbury Theatre Group’s fall 2015 season kicks off with Dry Land by Ruby Rae Spiegel, one of the country’s most promising young playwrights. Dry Land, already in rehearsals for its September 17 debut, takes audiences inside the girls’ locker room in a Florida high school. Creative director Josh Short explained, “To give this show an authentic young woman’s voice, we’ve paired it with music by Emeline Easton, a very talented and well-known singer-songwriter.” There’s also the world premiere of Cain + Abel, a new play from The Wilbury Group’s Playwright-in-Residence Ben Jolivet. All of this season’s productions are area premieres and most are New England premieres. “We’re producing the most exciting and relevant contemporary works we can get our hands on,” said Short.

Trinity Repertory Company
Trinity hopes to examine contemporary issues in various contexts. Artistic director Curt Columbus said, “Through a series of classic and modern adventures, we dissect, understand and honor the rebels, renegades and pioneers among us.” Women are taking center stage in cases like Anne Scurria playing Julius Caesar, and the inclusion of Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles with Vivienne Benesch directing and Charise Castro Smith’s The Hunchback of Seville with Taibi Magar at the helm.

The Academy Players bring Disney’s Aladdin Jr., the well-known story of a beloved rogue with his magic carpet, to their new home at the Q2Q Blackbox Theatre in Providence.

The Attleboro Community Theatre is kicking off their four-play season with the all-male, dog-eat-dog sales drama Glengarry Glen Ross, by David Mamet. ACT’s Carlos Gutierrez says, “The most exciting thing about ACT’s 2015-2016 season is how each show contrasts each other, as well as how diverse each script is, allowing for a broader group to have an opportunity to experience and join the theater.” ACT follows up with the heartwarming Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus, the all-female comedy Radio T.B.S. Trailer Park Broadcasting Scandals, and The Man from Earth, written by science fiction writer Jerome Bixby.

This summer, Burbage Theatre Company moved from a library to their new digs at Aurora in downtown Providence, and artistic director Jeff Church says we can look forward to some thought-provoking offerings in their upcoming season. Church says, “Burbage’s upcoming season is about the politics and aftershocks of war, how even the best intended and justified vengeance will always come back around to he who dealt it.”

The Community Players of Pawtucket kick off their 95th season with the toe-tapping feel good classic Grease in October. Things get a little darker with January’s Deathtrap, which is a comic thriller following the plight of a playwright with writer’s block so severe that it may (or may not) drive him to murder for a manuscript.

Counter-Productions Theatre Company’s Ted Clement says, “In the spirit of our residency at AS220, a home for new art work, we’re exploring three compelling original works in our Readings In Autumn series.”  These are one-night-only events you won’t want to miss, starting on September 10 with America’s Favorite Pastime by Dennis A. Allen II, followed by Le Denier Repas (A Love Story) by David Eliet and Cats for Change and Other Charitable Causes by Diane Exavier, both Providence-based playwrights. They round out the season with Peter Morgan’s Frost/Nixon, with guest director Michael Ducharme, and then return to new works with local playwright Kevin Broccoli’s teenage bloodbath, Kill The Virgin.

Daydream Theatre Company is thriving at The Arctic Playhouse in West Warwick. Playwright Lenny Schwartz will present his original play, Our Distance Between Stars in October. This new play revolves around the lives of two service women during WWII. Schwartz’s staged reading of The Social Avenger will become a full production in May, and go to a festival in New York City in June.

EPIC Theatre Company, at Theatre 82 and the Black Box in Cranston begins in September with the premiere of These Ruthless Bitches. The satire is adapted by artistic director Kevin Broccoli from The Women. Epic continues to innovate by partnering with Jenny White, a local musician, to curate music for each show. Epic also has initiated an education initiative so that high school students may attend their shows for free.

If you missed The Freedom Project at Everett Company Stage & School, you have another chance to see it! Everett will bring back their multimedia physical theater piece that interweaves personal stories, evocative imagery and athletic choreography into an examination of mass incarceration in America. It will be back for a limited run in October.

Jamestown Community Theatre turns 25 this fall. To celebrate, they are doing a musical retrospective of the theater’s history. Called Encore, it will act as a “greatest hits” performance encompassing their musicals over the quarter century.

Little Theatre of Fall River will bring the blockbuster musical Fiddler on the Roof to their Mainstage in October. Nunsense A-Men, a cross-gendered presentation of Nunsense, comes to Little Theater’s Firebarn Theatre in December.

Marley Bridges Theatre Company in Newport has had a busy summer with their murder mysteries. Their mission is to “engage, entertain and educate RI communities and visitors with interactive, immersive theater.” Their fall show will be The Christmas Feast (A Christmas Carol). The Newport Art Museum will play host to this interactive, historically detailed interpretation, accompanied by a scrumptious menu.

Mixed Magic Theatre in Pawtucket begins with a powerhouse production of Day of Absence, the Obie Award Winning play by Douglas Turner Ward. This biting, sharp comedy begins September 18. A special encore performance of Reflections: Growing Up a Black Man in America will be presented on October 9. Also in October, Mixed Magic partners with RIC to present The Role of Theater in the Conversation on Race in America.

New Bedford’s Your Theatre kicks off their creepy fall season with Horrors of Doctor Moreau, a melodrama adaptation of H.G. Wells’ science fiction novel. The spine-tingling season continues in November with the classic vampire tale, Dracula, as adapted for the stage by John L. Balderston & Hamilton Deane.

The Players at The Barker on Benefit Street in Providence begins its 107th Season (Yes, 107) with The Octette Bridge Club, written by West Warwick native, P.J. Barry. The play examines the complex relationship between Barry’s mother and his seven sisters. It’s A Wonderful Life goes up in December, a second original play by The Providence Athenaeum’s Eliza Collins titled The Binding Room in January.

Renaissance City Theatre Inc., the producing entity at the Granite Theatre of Westerly, will open in September with Agatha Christie’s The Unexpected Guest. Set in a foggy estate in Wales, The Unexpected Guest is a proper thriller full of intrigue and suspicion. Patrons may enjoy a selection of wine, beer and soft drinks at the theater’s cash bar. Artistic director David Jepson reveals that Dirty Rotten Scoundrels will go up in October.

Swamp Meadow Community Theatre will hold a special encore reading of The Sea Wench, written by RI poet laureate Dolores Rafaelle on September 11th at the Foster Country Club. Then this holiday season, the beloved classic, A Christmas Carol, returns to the SMCT stage.

In September, Theatre Company of RI in Chepachet presents Best of Friends by James Elward, a witty comedy about family drama and closeted skeletons. Continuing their season of laughs, Weekend Comedy takes the stage in November, telling the double-booking story of what happens when two couples who have accidentally rented the same vacation home for a weekend decide to share.


Brown University’s fall season will transport audience members across time and geography. It opens with a new look at a classic story of fraught and often tenuous relationships in the Russian aristocracy, Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull in October. Next, students will tackle Marcus Gardley’s challenging and beautiful play The Road Weeps, The Well Runs Dry, the second installment in a trilogy about the migration of self-proclaimed Freemen, Black Seminole and African and Native American people journeying from Florida to Oklahoma, and the ways in which they are tested as they try to create a radically new kind of American community. The season will then conclude with two dance performances, The Family Weekend Dance, produced by Michelle Bach-Coulibaly in the Ashamu Studio Oct. 16-18 and the Fall Dance, produced by Julie Adams Strandberg and Body & Sole (the umbrella  for student dance groups at Brown). Finally, as is tradition, TAPS will close out their season with a student written and directed play, this year choosing Brown University senior Nikteha Salazar’s play The Red Paint.

The Community College of Rhode Island starts their fall season with legendary cult-classic Rocky Horror Show, best known for the film adaptation still being performed in midnight showings across the country. See how CCRI brings The Rocky Horror Show to the stage at the Knight Campus’ Bobby Hackett Theatre in October. Following the spectacle of Rocky Horror comes David Mamet’s play about greed, jealousy, and deception, American Buffalo, set over the course of one very long day in a run-down pawn shop as three men plan the heist of a customer’s valuable coin collection. The film version was shot in Pawtucket.

This fall, Providence College will bring The Addams Family to the stage just in time for Halloween. Next up, in November, is the Blackfriars Dance Concert, which will create a delightful evening of dance performed in several different styles.

Roger Williams hasn’t revealed their fall season yet, but the they recently held auditions for Vaclav Havel’s The Increased Difficulty of Concentration.

The University of Rhode Island’s fall season is comprised of two knockout choices. First, Sarah Ruhl’s Tony and Pulitzer Prize nominated play In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) will grapple with the repercussions of a doctor’s novel invention to aid in curing his (mostly female) patient’s cases of “hysteria.” Rhul’s whimsical, tender and often hilarious grasp of language and manners is sure to shine through at the Robert E. Will Theatre in October. Next, they’ll take a more classical turn with theatrical icon Bertolt Brecht’s work The Caucasian Chalk Circle, a play that centers on political revolution, love, family and identity. Closing out fall will be the entertaining and challenging The Caucasian Chalk Circle in the  J Studio.

RI College‘s season gets serious wtih two Pulitzer Prize winning classics – John Patrick Shanley’s epitome of Catholic angst, Doubt and Beth Henley’s classic Crimes of the Heart, about the passions ignited by three Mississippi sisters.

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