Community Theater Fall Preview

Big things are happening in local theater this season. Check out what RI and Southeastern Mass has to offer


And let’s not forget some of the smaller, but robust and often more surprising theaters scattered around the region! There are so many, we’ve followed this article with an extensive listing of great theater you can expect this season.

Mixed Magic (MM) Theatre will present the prison drama Jesus Took the A Train, tackling morality, religion, class and race in the story of man accused of murdering a cult leader and sharing a cell with a born-again Christian. MM follows this September through October performance with Othello. This anticipated performance will star legendary local actor and Mixed Magic founder, Ricardo Pitts-Wiley, in the title role. Unlike Epic and Wilbury, Mixed Magic isn’t relocating; it’s continuing in its comfortable, versatile space at the Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket.


After Bob (see separate article), Contemporary Theater will present Assassins, an investigation of presidential assassinations, with a score by Stephen Sondheim. Yep, you read that right: sounds like the Wakefield-based theater will continue to stretch our minds in interesting directions this year.

Look for The Wilbury Group to continue to refine its use of the exciting new space at the very spacious and slightly eccentric South Side Cultural Center. Located within and behind Trinity Church on Broad St., this is where Trinity Rep started, so there are some big shoes to fill. This fall, they’re bringing Detroit to Rhode Island in the New England Premiere of this OBIE-winning, Pulitzer-nominated play set in the modern embers of a rapidly deflating American city. “From our beginning, The Wilbury Group has been about selecting and presenting audiences with the most challenging, relevant plays available,” says Artistic Director Josh Short, who predicts the ’13-’14 season will be “our most challenging yet.”

Also exploring the lack of constraint afforded by their bountiful new space, Epic Theatre will bring theatrical experimentation to Theatre 82 at the Artists’ Exchange in Cranston’s Rolfe Square, where they are now resident. Their season begins with the black comedy A Behanding in Spokane, by Martin McDonagh, following a mysterious man’s quest for his missing hand at a run-down motel.

Theatre 82 will also host productions by other companies through the fall, with Marley Bridges Theatre Company presenting Menace of the Morgue, a zombie musical set in the 1950s,  throughout October, and GCOLE Productions bringing Brighton Beach Memoirs to that stage in November.

Mixed Magic, The Contemporary Theater, and Epic are all part of the new RI Theater Alliance, which will present interesting opportunities to get inter-troupe passes over the season. You can catch up with what they’re doing at

In its 13th season at a restored church in South County, Granite Theatre will present the solid classics the Mousetrap in September, followed by The Sound of Music.

The Rhode Island Shakespeare Theater has adapted Macbeth to Rhode Island, which means it’s now a mob story. How will they mix Shakespearian language with Rhode Island accents? Find out in October. Search Facebook for TRIST.

The Academy Players will be Working this September with the musical, based on the book by Studs Terkel, about how people spend most of their day. Academy follows this show with a November performance of They Chose Me, another all-ages family musical, this one about families as seen through the eyes of children.

Swamp Meadow gets heavy, then lightens up with upcoming shows The Crucible, in October, and The Man Who Came to Dinner, the musical comedy by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. This community theater has been achieving some great performances up in Foster — worth the visit!

The Little Theatre of Fall River will be doing OK this fall, with its production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma.

The Newport Playhouse has an interesting flow in their upcoming line-up. Starting with The Love List, about a methodical search for the perfect mate (September), they’re following it up with A Perfect Wedding, about a groom who wakes with a hangover and an unexpected bedmate on the morn of his wedding (October), then Angel on my Shoulder, with a cohabitation theme, and finally, My Husband’s Wild Desires (no explanation needed). Does anyone else see a progression there? Any of these comedies should make for an amiable, amusing night out – for dates and details, see our listings or

Your Theatre in New Bedford, which has been putting on shows since the 40s, has an interesting selection coming up, starting with Biloxi Blues in September. It is followed by the nostalgic Neil Simon piece, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, by the late Nora Ephron, queen of the 90s chick flick. Finally, they present Henry Flamethowa, a much starker drama about a troubled teen with the Devil for a pen pal. And if you think more than 65 years of community theater is a lot, check out the Community Players, who open their 93rd  season with an October presentation of the classic musical Fiddler on the Roof! and