Bill Gale

Performing Arts Critic

Bill Gale has had a widely varied career (including a stint as an air traffic controller) before dedicating himself to The Providence Journal for 35 years — 25 of those as the Journal's theater and dance critic. He is the former executive committee chair of the Foundation of the American Theater Critics Association and currently serves on their board.Gale has received a variety of awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New England Theatre Conference. He has taught at Rhode Island College and Roger Williams University, and is currently an Admiral at Hope High School. He is married to clinical social worker Peggy Gale and is the father of two children. And he loves working in radio.

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Theater Reviews
9:39 am
Wed March 18, 2015

2nd Story Theatre's "4000 Miles" Is A Little Loose, But Will Stick With You

Brendan Macera is Leo and Paula Faber is his grandmother, Vera, in Amy Herzog’s “4000 Miles”
Credit Richard W. Dionne, Jr. / 2nd Story Theatre

2nd Story Theatre in Warren has always liked to do off-beat plays and its current work, “4000 miles,” is no exception. Bill Gale says it's a little loopy, a little lacking in plot, but that it's also one of those works you'll think about days after you see it.

It was, of course, the poet Robert Frost who wrote that “Home is the place where …they have to take you in.”  Well, “4000 Miles” is something of a recurrence of that idea.

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Theater Reviews
11:40 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Gamm Theatre's "House Of Blue Leaves" Is An Odd Delight

From left to right: Tom Gleadow (Artie Shaughnessy), Rachel Dulude (Bunny Flingus), Jeanine Kane (Bananas Shaughnessy), Karen Carpenter (Corrinna Stroller)
Credit Peter Goldberg / Gamm Theatre

Set in 1965 playwright John Guare's “The House of Blue Leaves” was a groundbreaking work, an American family drama set amid European-like absurdity. Now the Gamm Theatre has revived “Blue Leaves.” Bill Gale says it holds up, pretty well.

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Theater Reviews
8:27 am
Mon March 9, 2015

Trinity Rep's Wild "Glass Menagerie" Hits And Misses

Brian McEleney as Tom Wingfield and Anne Scurria as Laura Wingfield in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie at Trinity Rep.
Credit Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

A conservative approach to a classic play has rarely been the Trinity Rep way. Over the years full speed ahead has been more like it. That surely is the case with the theater's new take on “The Glass Menagerie.”  Bill Gale says it works, except when it doesn't.

“The Glass Menagerie” continues at Trinity Rep through March 29th. Bill Gale reviews the performing arts for Rhode Island Public Radio.

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Theater Reviews
10:33 am
Tue March 3, 2015

Ocean State Theatre's "Last Five Years" Doesn't Quite Land

Credit Ocean State Theater Company

  The Ocean State Theatre in Warwick has come up with a relatively unknown musical concerning a guy, a gal and a novel way of telling their story. Bill Gale says the production is a good try, at least.

"The Last Five Years” continues at the Ocean State Theatre through March 15th. Bill Gale reviews the performing arts for Rhode Island Public Radio. 

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Theater Reviews
11:04 am
Tue February 10, 2015

Festival Ballet's "Up Close On Hope," Tries Something Different

Jennifer Ricci and Alexander Akoulov in Scheherazade.
Credit Courtesy Festival Ballet

Festival Ballet's Up Close On Hope series usually presents a plethora of short pieces ranging from classical ballet to comedic devices. This time around things are different. Bill Gale says the change works.

“Up Close on Hope” will be shown at Festival Ballet in Providence through February 14th. Bill Gale reviews the performing arts for Rhode Island Public Radio.

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Theater Reviews
5:27 am
Wed January 7, 2015

The Gamm’s “Morality Play” A Raucous, Roiling Time of Murder and Madness

Jed Hancock Brainerd as Straw, Andrew Iacovelli as Brendan, Elliot Peters as Springer, Steve Kidd as Stephen. Under table: Jesse Hinson as Nicholas Barber in "Morality Play."
Credit Peter Goldberg / The Gamm Theatre

Written by artistic director Tony Estrella, from the award-winning novel by British expatriate Barry Unsworth, “Morality Play” sweeps through a raucous, roiling time of murder and madness, of corruption, of just plain hard times.  It's a tidal wave of provocation and problems. Change is good? Sometimes. And sometimes it's not.

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Theater Reviews
4:53 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Ocean State’s “Meet Me in St. Louis” Is Worth Seeing

The Smith Family gathers for dinner in the classic family-friendly musical, Meet Me in St. Louis, being presented at Ocean State Theatre in Warwick through December 28.
Credit Mark Turek / Ocean State Theatre

“Meet Me in St. Louis” is a charmer, a sweet, old fashioned, happy- go-lucky musical of the kind we just don't see anymore. It's filled with wonderful, if saccharine sweet, songs. It tells a tale of a family loving, and battling, and always coming through.

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Theater Reviews
4:07 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Trinity Rep’s “Barefoot In The Park” Is Still Very Funny

Stephen Berenson as Victor Velasco, Charlie Thurston as Paul, Phyllis Kay as Mrs. Banks and Rebecca Gibel as Corie in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park at Trinity Rep.
Credit Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

Bill Gale admits that he raised an eyebrow when Trinity Rep announced it would do Neil Simon's 1963 hit “Barefoot in the Park.”  Why do that old joke carnival? he asked. But after seeing Trinity's production our critic has another view.

Yup, I do. Having seen this tight, funny and carefully thought out “Barefoot,” I'm saying, well, why not?”

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Theater Reviews
9:03 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Wilbury Theatre's "Death Of Walt Disney" An OK Play Bolstered By A Strong Cast

Tom Chace (L) and Vince Petronio (R) in A Public Reading Of An Unproduced Screenplay About The Death Of Walt Disney.
Credit Brian Gagnon / Wilbury Theatre Group

Using the same theater on Broad Street in Providence where Trinity Rep began in the 1960s, the adventurous Wilbury Group is currently staging a work about the life and times, and death, of Walt Disney. Bill Gale has this review.

“A Public Reading of An Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney” continues at the Wilbury Group in Providence through November 22. Bill Gale reviews the performing arts for Rhode Island Public Radio.

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Theater Reviews
12:52 pm
Sun November 9, 2014

Ocean State's "Dial M" Is Lost In A London Fog

Drew Anthony Allen stars as Tony Wendice in Frederick Knott’s thriller, Dial M for Murder, being presented at Ocean State Theatre
Credit Mark Turek / Ocean State Theatre

You know I checked out the history of “Dial M” before I went to see Ocean State's production. Found a 1984 New York Times review which said that the 30 or so years that had passed since its first showing had not dimmed the play's charms. Still crisp and quick, the reviewer maintained.

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