Photo: mortal/women, OutLoud Theatre.
Recast the back-to-school anticipatory excitement of your youth into enthusiasm for the start of the 2023-2024 theater season.
From drama to comedy to the opening of Broadway touring productions, the next few months promise to hit every human emotion while reaffirming the quality of options available to Rhode Islanders seeking live theater.
When planning your entertainment, consider the following offerings:
Academy Players (academyplayersri.org). In the vein of a school year start, the company opens its season with The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, in which students learn lessons in life and loss, from September 7 – 17. It’s followed by the debut of The Butterfly Boys, an original family drama by former radio morning show host Brian Mulhern, from November 9 – 12.
Arctic Playhouse (thearcticplayhouse.com). The West Warwick company digs into the new season September 7, with Don’t Dress for Dinner, a comical look at what can go wrong when a man plans a getaway with his mistress. In October is Love, Sex & the IRS, a farcical look at scamming the taxman. From November 2 – 19, catch The Game’s Afoot, a 1930s whodunit in the castle of the stage actor who popularized Sherlock Holmes. 2023 wraps with Miracle on 34th Street, a touching Christmas tale of the power of believing, from November 30 – December 17.
Attleboro Community Theater (attleborocommunitytheatre.net) This company will open its season on September 15 with The Viewing Room, a comedic take on reconciliation and family that takes place in a funeral home after the passing of a strong matriarchal figure (running through Oct 1). Next, they will stage the holiday classic A Christmas Carol (December 1 – 17).
Barker Playhouse (playersri.org). The Players on the East Side offer two shows this fall: the exploration of art and community against the staging of an all-female Shakespeare classic in Into the Breeches from September 22 – October 1; and, from December 1-10, She Loves Me, a romantic musical comedy set in a European perfumery in the 1930s.
Burbage Theatre (burbagetheatre.org). The Pawtucket company opens the fall season on August 31 with Shakespeare’s tragic love story Romeo & Juliet. Running through September 31, the show includes two free outdoor performances as part of the Pawtucket Arts Festival. Other shows in the company’s 12th season have yet to be announced.
Community Players (thecommunityplayers.net). Rhode Island’s oldest community theater launches its season with Big: The Musical, based on the 1988 movie starring Tom Hanks as a boy transported into a man’s body and the hijinks he gets into in New York City. The show runs November 10 – 19.
The Contemporary Theater (contemporarytheatercompany.com) This company begins their season with Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play which will run September 15 – 30. In a post-apocalyptic world, survivors gather around a campfire to recall an episode of The Simpsons. Next, a collaboration with the South Kingstown High School Theater Group, Testing, Testing 1234 (October 12 – 14), followed by Shakespearean comedy Much Ado About Nothing October 27 – November 18). Finally, the season concludes with Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge featuring all the beloved characters of A Christmas Carol, running December 7 – 23.
Gamm Theatre (gammtheatre.org) The Warwick company kicks off September 7 with Topdog/Underdog, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fable about brothers Lincoln and Booth who battle racism and poverty in pursuit of the American Dream. From November 2 – 26, the company stages Martin McDonagh’s Hangmen, a darkly comedic look at the abolition of the death penalty in England from inside a pub owned by the nation’s second-best hangman. They round out the fall with their annual retelling of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, for a behind-the-scenes look at one man’s revelation about the meaning of life from December 9 – 24.
Granite Theatre (granitetheatre.org) Continuing their season, this company presents the musical comedy Nunsense, running September 15 – 30 followed by the deeply dramatic The Elephant Man (October 20 – November 4) and holiday treat Miracle on 34th Street (December 1 – 17).
Little Theater of Fall River (littletheatre.net) This Greater Fall River area company will continue its season with Puffs, a nod to the Harry Potter universe focused on the side characters, running October 12 – 22. They will end the year with Scrooge the Musical, a comedic adaptation of the Dickens classic (December 7 – 17), just in time for the holiday season.
OutLoud Theatre (outloudtheatre.org) Celebrating its tenth season and new location, this company will continue its season into the fall with mortal/women, an original portrayal of full body transformation, unencumbered by space, reality, and reason. Run dates to be determined for Fall 2023.
Mixed Magic Theatre (mmtri.org) This theater has an upcoming concert event located in their amphitheater, running September 1 – 3. The Greatness of Gospel XVI: Daybreak, presented by Mixed Magic Theatre Exult Choir, blends gospel classics with contemporary favorites.
Newport Playhouse (newportplayhouse.com) Opening up their fall offerings, this company will perform Ghost of a Chance from September 13 – October 29, which follows the eccentric story of a woman who visits a cabin with her fiancé and his mother, which happens to be the site of her first husband’s death. When she realizes only she is able to see the ghost of her former husband, hijinks ensue. Miracle on South Division Street, a Christmas comedy, will run November 8 – December 31.
Providence Performing Arts Center (ppacri.org) The season starts with the launch of the national tour of Funny Girl, from September 9 – 16. Revived last year on Broadway, the show centers on the feisty Fanny Brice, who shocked the world when she became a star. From October 17 – 22, big screen favorite Mrs. Doubtfire opens as a divorced man does anything necessary to be close to his children. December will transport audiences to France with “Moulin Rouge” from December 19 – 31. The Tony Award-winning musical transports you to the space where Bohemians and aristocrats came together for entertainment.
Spectrum Theatre (stensemble.org) This company, which is committed to empowering neurodivergent theater artists, has events coming up at multiple venues this fall. Catch multiple performances per event at Alchemy (September 8 – 9), Mirabar (September 7 – 9), and Askew (September 7 – 8).
Trinity Repertory Company (trinityrep.com). Time-travel again, this time to the Salem witch trials, starting September 7 with The Good John Proctor. The show digs into the hysteria, examining the story through the eyes of the girls making the accusations. It runs in repertory, starting September 28, with Becky Nurse of Salem, a modern look at the trials as a descendant of an accused witch struggles to reverse a spate of bad luck. The calendar year wraps with the annual retelling of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, from November 9 – December 31.Wilbury Theatre Group (thewilburygroup.org). Enjoy some of the area’s edgier shows, starting with 22/16: The Remix of a Global Experiment in September and October. The immersive experience explores the lives of a diverse ensemble of actors reenacting a new world doctrine unbounded by time. In November and December, the company remounts Indecent by popular demand. Inspired by the controversial 1923 Broadway debut of God of Vengeance, the piece is considered both an important element of Jewish culture, and traitorous.