Summer Takes the Stage

Theater is on center stage this summer, so brush the sand off your beach bod and take in a show!

Avant-Garde Galore
5th annual Providence Fringe Festival (FringePVD) is your family’s chance to experience avant-garde theatre, dance and visual art from across the country. Created by The Wilbury Theatre Group, the festival will host a massive schedule of performances not only at the group’s new digs, but throughout the nearby WaterFire Arts Center, Steel Yard, Yellow Peril Gallery and RiffRaff cafe. Jul 30 – Aug 4. Full schedule of performers will be announced early July at fringepvd.org.

Under the direction of Rhode Island’s own avant-garde wunderkind Kira Hawkridge, OUT LOUD Theatre’s seeks to explore “Fantasy & Unreality” with their 6th season. Featuring the group’s hallmark innovative approach to devised theater and storytelling, the group’s summer season starts off with a venture down the rabbit hole in WONDER (Jun 1 – 6). Next up is ESCAPE, a movement piece with original music by Stephen DeCataldo (Jun 8 – 13), and the triptych concludes a new adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream called simply DREAM (Jun 15 – 24). outloudtheatre.org

Shakespeare for Days

Head Trick Theatre opens their season this July with Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing at the Roger Williams National Memorial. Taking a more modern (and decidedly feminist) approach to the play, the sparks fly between sparring lovers Beatrice and Benedick, who in this version are both played as female. In the middle of the current #MeToo movement, the play’s parallel tale of romantic betrayal and prejudice promises to hold deeper meanin (Jul 27 – Aug 12). headtricktheatre.org

Seaside Stage Society presents Hamlet, directed by Morgan Catherine-Cecilia Capodilupo (Aug 24 – 25). The show is set against the 1960s-early 1970s Vietnam War. Free admission, with suggested donation to benefit Emmanuel Church. facebook.com/SeasideStageSociety

The Contemporary Theater Company’s outdoor Shakespeare on the Saugatucket program presents the rollicking comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream in July and the tragic tale of the star-crossed lovers Romeo & Juliet in August. Performed Wednesday and Sunday evenings on the theater’s outdoor performance patio (complete with a brand-new bar!) on the banks of the Saugatucket River, Wakefield. Free. contemporarytheatercompany.com

The Rhode Island Shakespeare Theater (TRIST) performs Hamlet this summer at The Roger Williams National Memorial. Director Bob Colonna promises a production that is “strong and human and funny, exciting all the emotions from terror to sorrow to laughter.” Thu through Sun nights through Jun 17. Free, best to bring something to sit on. 401-331-6118

What Cheer, Shakespeare? is seemingly everywhere this summer, bringing their production of Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It, to venues in Bristol, Newport and Warren. You can catch them July 7 at Mount Hope Farm, Bristol, July 20 – 21 at Saint John the Evangelist’s Church, Newport and July 27 – 28 at Hope and Main, Warren. Rain or shine. 401-332-0029. facebook.com/WhatCheerShakespeare

Cranston: The New Cultural Hub?

Epic Theatre Company tackles the suitably “epic” adaptation of the novel Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. Director Vince Petronio helms the tale of Tudor powerhouse Thomas Cromwell (Jun 8 – 23). Up next is the RI premiere of British playwright Nick Payne’s critically acclaimed Constellations (Jul 13 – 28). This decidedly “wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey” romantic two-hander celebrates a couple taking more than one look down the roads not traveled. Thematically similar, but dramatically different, is Jordan Seavey’s Homos, or Everyone in America, the achingly complicated and emotionally charged look at a one couple’s relationship, from meet-cute beginnings to teeth-bared unraveling (Aug 10 – 25). epictheatreri.org

Local playwright Nick Albanese premieres his new drama about old school vinyl enthusiasts struggling to keep their Greenwich Village record store afloat in The Last Days of Rockin’ Rob’s June 15 to 23 at the Artists’ Exchange. His popular Everybody Needs Some Therapy Sometimes will be enjoying an encore weekend after its recent sold out-run on August 17 and 18. artists-exchange.org/events.html

Artists’ Exchange’s 13th annual One Act Play Festival includes a dozen short play offerings from emerging local, national and international playwrights. This year’s winning local playwrights include Dave Rabinow (A Boy and His Ball), Tim Lehnert (A Conference on the Mound), Jayne Hannah (Burning), Nick Albanese (Clyde & Bonnie) and Mary Paolino (This Is Your Life?). The festival will run weekends Jul 26 – Aug 11. artists-exchange.org/events.html

Repping the Colleges

The Barn Summer Playhouse at Roger Williams University presents Jake Shore’s NY Fringe hit play Down The Mountain and Across The Stream (Jun 22 – 30) and behind the scenes Moonlight and Magnolias, Ron Hutchinson’s take on how the screenplay for Gone With the Wind was written in five days (Jul 13 – 21).

CCRI Summer Repertory presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Jul 18 – 22) and Macbeth (Aug 15 – 19), both directed by Theodore Clement on the college’s Knight Campus, Warwick. Clement has enlisted the enviable talents of stage combat choreographer Jim Beauregard and Kira Hawkridge of OUT LOUD Theatre to create what promises to be high-energy productions.

Make ‘em Laugh

The Bit Players bring their award-winning comedy to the stage weekly throughout the summer. Starting July 9, Laughter for Locals is on tap Monday evenings, sponsored by WhatsUpNewp and Newport Storm. On Wednesdays, you’ve got the all-clear to bring the kiddos down for their Family Friendly Funnies, but adults only for their Friday and Saturday Improv shows. Firehouse Theater. bitplayers.net

The Providence Improv Guild showcases all flavors of comedy acts, including long and short form improvisation, pop operas, sketch comedy and special guests every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights throughout the summer. Southside Cultural Center. improvpig.com

The VETS brings self-proclaimed “D-Lister” and the unofficial First Lady of Trump Trolling back to Providence for her Laugh Your Head Off World Tour (Jun 20). Fans mourning the early cancellation of Netflix’s “Haters Back Off” series can get their fix July 18 at VETS when multihyphenate actor, comedian, writer Colleen Ballinger brings her Miranda Sings Live… No Offense With Special Guest Colleen Ballinger. thevetsri.com

From June 6 to 10, Contemporary Theatre Company brings together artists and improv troupes from all over the globe to perform at their Ocean State Improv Festival. The festival also features mixer shows, where various groups join together in pursuit of worldwide comedy domination.

If “American Ninja Warrior” and “Whose Line is it Anyway?” had a baby, it might look a lot like Contemporary Theater Company’s Theatresports. A truly unique evening held every Thursday, July and August. Audiences are encouraged to cheer on their favorite team, boo the judges and laugh along as the improvisers make up everything on the spot. contemporarytheatercompany.com

Sing Out, Louise! All Musicals, All the Time

Norton Singers brings the The Scarlet Pimpernel to Wheaton College through June 10. Before there were caped superheroes hiding behind secret aliases, there was The Scarlet Pimpernel, a swashbuckling, adventurer capturing hearts and saving damsels during the bloody French Revolution. nortonsingers.com

Theatre By The Sea is celebrating 85 years with their inimitable brand of Broadway by the beach starting with the beloved Fats Waller revue Ain’t Misbehavin’ through June 17. “Dancing Queens” will delight in Mamma Mia!, the jukebox musical packed with 22 of the group’s catchy hits all wrapped up in a romantic comedy (Jun 20 – Jul 21). Next up is Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s hit Biblical musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Jul 25 – Aug 12). Ripped from the tabloids, the sensational musical Chicago tells the story of murder, greed and fame set in the decadent 1920s (Aug 15 – Sep 9). theatrebythesea.com

New Bedford Festival Theatre presents the lyrical masterpiece West Side Story at Zeiterion Performing Arts Center (Jul 20 – 29). The Sharks and The Jets will once again take it to the streets to settle their longtime beefs by pas de bourree and jazz hands, while Tony and Maria fall deeply in love by the fire escape. zeiterion.org

The Play’s the Thing

The award-winning and matinee crowd-pleasing Newport Playhouse and Cabaret Restaurant presents Remember Me? through July 1. A humdrum marriage is blown wide open when the wife’s college flame suddenly shows up wanting to win her back. The door-slamming comedy continues with No Tell Motel, in which a sordid affair goes off the rails thanks to a Bible salesman and a nosy motel manager (Jul 6 – Sep 1). newportplayhouse.com

The relatively new Seaside Stage Society celebrates their third season in Newport with Bert V. Royal’s biting comedy Dog Sees God. Under the direction of Ray Fournier, the script fast-forwards the Peanuts comic strip characters to a supposed angst-ridden teen years where life is filled more with grief than good (Jul 1 – 3). For mature audiences only. Admission is free with suggested donation to benefit Firehouse Theatre. facebook.com/SeasideStageSociety

Contemporary Theater Company’s Peter and the Starcatcher (Jun 22 – Jul 28) is a family-friendly comedy tracing back to the origins of the great feud between legendary Peter Pan and Captain Hook. Unnecessary Farce by Paul Slade Smith (Aug 3 – Sep 1) promises raucous laughs as a duo of rookie cops tries to set up a sting operation that goes terribly, hilariously wrong. contemporarytheatercompany.com

2nd Story’s Summer Series consists of Mark St Germain’s misfit rom-com Dancing Lessons (Jun 7 -Jul 1), a self-described “quirky pas de deux,” the black comedy Hand to God by Robert Askins (Jul 12 – Aug 5) and Conor McPherson’s gripping Irish ghost story Shining Cities brings us into the chills of fall (Aug 16 – Sep 9). 2ndstorytheatre.com

Rhode Island Stage Ensemble (RISE) will raise spirits with the Noel Coward’s comedy Blithe Spirit. The RISE Playhouse will be rattling with ghosts and laughter when a novelist and his new bride are welcomed back by his first wife, newly back from the dead and ready to raise some hell (Jun 8 – 17). ristage.org

ECAS Theatre, Providence’s prolific Spanish speaking theater company presents La Danza de Mingo through June 16 at the group’s Parkis Avenue venue. The play tells the true story of Mamá Tingó, the famed Dominican activist leader whose defense of rural farmers led to her assassination in the turbulent ’70s. In Spanish. ecastheater.org

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