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.

Pages

Theater Reviews
4:44 am
Thu October 30, 2014

The Gamm’s Hedda Gabler Sparkles and Delights

Marianna Bassham as Hedda Gabler
Credit Peter Goldberg / The Gamm Theatre

That's it. Last time out, you may remember, the Gamm did “Grounded,” a high altitude look at an American female fighter pilot that was quick and memorable.

This time artistic director Tony Estrella and his crew have moved to Norway for a dog fight with one of the great, groundbreaking plays of all time, Henrik Ibsen's “Hedda  Gabler.”

Read more
Theater Reviews
4:08 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Ocean State’s “My Fair Lady” A True Winner

Richard Costa and Jessica Wagner star as Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle “My Fair Lady.”
Credit Mark Turek / Ocean State Theatre

It has been a while since a full scale version of “My Fair Lady” – one of the truly superb American musicals – has been done around here. So, thank goodness this Ocean State production is a true winner, super in some ways and just fine in others.

Read more
Theater Reviews
3:57 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Trinity’s “Ivanov:” A Well-Meaning, Over-The-Top Production

The cast of Ivanov, showing at Trinity Rep.
Credit Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

Well, that's true. Written in 10 days when Chekhov, a newly minted physician, was 27, Ivanov has all the elements of the author's later greatness. It looks at an extended family of Russians as they struggle with their lives, their fortunes, their very honor.

The center point is one Nikolai Ivanov, a ne’er-do-well landholder, who felt he could conquer the world and then found himself accused of marrying for money. As middle-age approached he began to learn that he was a failure, and a well-meaning lout, too.

Read more
Theater Reviews
2:47 am
Thu July 24, 2014

2nd Story’s “Hay Fever” Is An Overdone Shouting Contest

Members of an eccentric family each invite a friend to the family summer home where the hosts proceed to foist each guest off on a different family member, with alarming and delightful results.
Credit Richard W. Dionne, Jr. / 2nd Story Theatre

Ah, yes, “Hay Fever” one of those plays that became known as “a comedy of manners.” But in truth Coward's 1925 hit really ought to be called a “comedy of ill manners.”

It's Coward's view of a famous family being famously, uproariously, ridiculously bad mannered to point of forcing the family's so-called “guests” to split, to sneak out of the house, to take any measures to get away from the family's self-regard, their “I really don't give a hoot for anything or anyone but myself” attitude.

Read more
Theater Reviews
4:10 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Ocean State's "Guys and Dolls" Is Hit And Miss

The cast performs “The Crapshooters Dance” in the musical comedy, Guys and Dolls
Credit Mark Turek

Well, yes it does. At the Ocean State in Warwick “Guys and Dolls” – admittedly one of my all-time favorite musicals – comes across as a bifurcated project. On the one hand there is still that marvelous score by Frank Loesser, songs that can break your heart and make you laugh out loud. Under music director Justin P. Cowan they are handled well by a cast of good singers who know how to offer a song without seeming to force it.

Read more
Theater Reviews
4:05 am
Thu June 12, 2014

2nd Story’s “Freud’s Last Session” Is Quick And Sharp

Ed Shea is Sigmund Freud in Freud’s Last Session by Mark St. Germain.
Credit Richard W. Dionne, Jr.

It’s September, 1939 and the carnage of World War II is just beginning. Germany has invaded Poland. The British and their allies are preparing to fight. The world is on edge.

And, frankly, so are Dr. Freud and Professor Lewis, two of the great intellectuals of their time who are meeting in Freud’s office in England. But it’s not the Nazi war machine or the reluctant answer of its provocations by the British that’s under debate.

Read more
Theater Reviews
4:17 am
Wed May 7, 2014

The Gamm's "Blackbird" Takes A Tough Look At Molestation

Madeleine Lambert as Una, Jim O'Brien as Ray in "Blackbird."
Credit Peter Goldberg / The Gamm Theatre

Yes, “Blackbird,” by Scottish author David Harrower, is a toughie. There’s no way around but to say that it focuses intimately, deeply on child molestation. It considers who was involved. It asks if whether both of its main characters – a middle aged man and a 12-year-old girl -- did not each suffer greatly. And, most tellingly, it offers no solutions.

Read more
Theater Reviews
4:15 am
Thu May 1, 2014

2nd Story’s “Sylvia” Is One Of The Very Best This Season

Lara Hakeem (front), Ed Shea is Greg and Sharon Carpentier is his wife Kate in Sylvia at 2nd Story Theatre.
Credit Richard W. Dionne, Jr. / 2nd Story Theatre

First I’d like to say that “Sylvia” is an absolute true charmer of a play. It’s laugh out loud funny and can prompt small smiles, too. At 2nd Story, director Pat Hegnauer has given it force and speed and reached to its serious undercurrent, too. This is one of the very best productions of the current theater season. Don’t miss it.

Okay, about explaining it all. Playwright A.R. Gurney, best known for “Love Letters” and “The Dinner Party,” has set it up simply. A middle-aged couple with

Read more
Theater Reviews
6:35 am
Fri April 4, 2014

The Gamm’s Macbeth Is A Big Bang Production

Jeanine Kane as Lady Macbeth in The Gamm Theatre's production of MacBeth.
Credit Peter Goldberg

Well, that’s right. Filled with shouting, drumming and blood, blood, blood, this Macbeth is a fearsome production. Director Fred Sullivan Jr. has missed no chance to put a point right under your nose, and into your ears.  Drums pound, soldiers shout and women weep.

Read more
Arts & Culture
9:20 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Brown 250: Playwright Lynn Nottage On The Future Of Theater

Playwright Lynn Nottage speaks with Rhode Island Public Radio's performing arts critic Bill Gale.
Credit Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

All this week we're marking Brown University's 250th with a series of conversations with graduates, leaders and historians. Thursday we're focusing on the arts. Rhode Island Public Radio's Bill Gale sat down with alum and playwright Lynn Nottage about her work and the future of the theater.

Read more

Pages