Rhode Island 2013 Fall Theater Preview

Local professional theater and national acts will be taking the stage after a summer hiatus

2013’s fall theater season will feature a sparkling assortment of offerings for audiences at the state’s top performing arts venues.

Pawtucket’s Gamm Theatre will present a double bill of one act plays, A Number and Far Away, by Caryl Churchill, from September 12 through October 13. A Number will be directed by Judith Swift and Far Away will be directed by Tony Estrella.

A Number is a two-person play set in a near-future world in which people can be cloned.  Mesmerizing and provocative, A Number tackles the very nature of human individuality through a science-fiction lens.

In Far Away, genocide, environmental disaster, and everyday brutality are combined in a spellbinding fable of a society, and eventually a world, at war with itself.

“Caryl Churchill celebrates her 75th birthday just as we are opening Season 29 with this stunning double bill. For four decades, she has been at the forefront of her art form and continues to write plays for tomorrow,” Gamm’s Artistic Director Tony Estrella noted. Far Away and A Number peek just over the horizon to see where the human race is heading – perhaps ‘careening recklessly’ would be more apt. A classic father-son drama with an unsettling bioethical twist and a parable of eco-human immolation combine for a powerful up-to-the-minute reckoning of who we are now and what we might become.”

Good People, from playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, will be presented from November 7 through December 8.
Boston native and Pulitzer-winning playwright Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole) explores the Hollywood version of class in America with this Tony-nominated play.

Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) kicks off their 2013-2014 season with Evita, which begins September 8 and runs through the 14th.

Eva Perón used her smarts and charisma to rise meteorically from the slums of Argentina to the presidential mansion as First Lady.  Evita tells Eva’s passionate and unforgettable true story, and features classic songs, including “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” “Another Suitcase in Another Hall” and “High Flying, Adored.”

Once, winner of 8 2012 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, will be presented October 1 through 6. Once tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs.

Ghost: The Musical will haunt the PPAC stage from October 22 through the 27th.

Based on the smash 1990 film starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Oscar-winner Whoopi Goldberg, Ghost: The Musical is about the passionate love that exists after death.

Phantom of the Opera kicks off a national tour at PPAC from November 27 through December 7. This production features a brilliant new design by Paul Brown, costumes by the much missed Maria Björnson, a new staging by Laurence Connor – director of the recent acclaimed 25th anniversary celebration at the Royal Albert Hall – and new choreography by Scott Ambler. The production is overseen by Matthew Bourne and Cameron Mackintosh.

Trinity Repertory Company will begin their 50th Anniversary season with John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, the definitive American tale of the strength of family and the human spirit set in the aftermath of the Great Depression. The Grapes of Wrath begins previews September 5 and runs until October 6.

From November 21 through December 22, Trinity Rep. will present the New England premiere of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, from playwright Christopher Durang.

“This season reflects back to us what matters most to our society,” said Trinity Rep’s Myah Shein. “It’s about class, equality and family. Representing various moments throughout our history, together they speak to where we are now.”

Ocean State Theater Company will present the epic musical Les Miserables from October 2 through the 27th.

Taking place in 19th century France, Jean Valjean is released  from 19 years of unjust imprisonment, but finds nothing in store for him but mistrust and mistreatment. He breaks his parole in hopes of starting a new life, initiating a lifelong struggle for redemption as he is relentlessly pursued by police inspector Javert, who refuses to believe Valjean can change his ways.

Premiering November 6 is Lombardi, a new American play by Academy Award-winner and Steppenwolf Theatre Company member Eric Simonson. This original work brings the audience into the life and times of one of America’s most inspirational and mercurial personalities, Hall of Fame football coach, Vince Lombardi. The show runs through the 24th.

Warren’s 2nd Story Theater will begin their 2013-2014 season with the dramas Lobby Hero and Dancing at Lughnasa. Lobby Hero will run from September 12 through the 22nd, and Dancing at Lughnasa October 2nd through the 20th. 2nd Story is also doubling the number of plays produced  this season and is adding a second performance space.

Artistic Director Ed Shea said, “For years, 2nd Story operated under the assumption that less is more, but it turns out more is more. When it comes to professional-quality live theater, there cannot be too much of a good thing. Not only is there a market for more, there is a need and a desire for more. With the construction of our second space, we can give audiences more comedy, more drama, more entertainment and more food for thought.”

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