Arts & Culture

Maggie Hall / Ocean State Theatre

Warwick’s Ocean State Theatre opens the season with a mixture of music and dark humor. Rhode Island Public Radio theatre critic Bill Gale was mostly won over by The Addams Family: The Musical.

The Addams Family: The Musical runs through October 25th at Ocean State Theatre in Warwick. Bill Gale reviews the performing arts for Rhode Island Public Radio.

Trinity Repertory Company

Rhode Island's theater community said a final farewell this week to longtime Trinity Repertory Company member Barbara Meek. The Detroit native passed away on Saturday. She was 81-years-old.

Meek acted in more than 100 plays at Trinity Rep., including the current production  of "Julius Caesar," which had her on stage up until the week before she died. Over her decades-long career, she also had roles on Broadway and television.

Rhode Island Public Radio arts critic Bill Gale shared his memories of Meek, both on and off the stage, in this audio postcard.

2nd Story Theatre

Ed Shea, artistic director of Warren's 2nd Story Theatre, had to ring up theater folk in London for permission to do “Dangerous Corner,” a mostly forgotten 1930s play by J.B. Priestley. Bill Gale says the result is, somewhat mixed.

Maggie Hall / Wilbury Theatre Group

Using the same theater space where Trinity Rep began more than 50 years ago, The Wilbury Group is another young theater willing to take a chance. Bill Gale says their latest work, “Dry Land,” is certainly risky.

Ah, yes, so it is. Written by Ruby Rae Spiegel when she was still an undergraduate at  Yale University, “Dry Land” rushes you into a vortex of, well, you could say a bunch of  kids being young and stupid.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A festival this weekend in the Massachusetts port town of New Bedford showcased the working waterfront, on the piers and in the harbor. From a scallop-shucking contest to whaleboat races, festival goers got to see Southern New England’s maritime heritage come alive. Here's an audio postcard from a new event at the 12-year-old festival, the nautical tattoo contest.

Collection of John Benson

This Saturday, Sept. 26, the Newport Art Museum opens the exhibit "Reviving Durr Freedley: Newport's Forgotten Artist." Freedly painted the murals that cover the interior of the Seamen's Institute chapel, but the painter and his art has been all but forgotten, until now.

Erin X. Smithers / Mixed Magic Theatre

The Mixed Magic Theatre in Pawtucket has begun its season with a play that opened some minds back in 1965. It was called “Day of Absence” and its plot – and its warning – still has something to say. 

Bill Gale has the review.

New England Native American Culture Week continues, with a screening of the recently restored silent movie The Daughter of Dawn on Thursday night at Rhode Island College. The 6th Annual Big Drum Powwow takes place on Saturday and Sunday at Roger Williams National Memorial, 284 N. Main St., Providence.

Peter Goldberg / The Gamm Theatre

So far, the Southern New England arts season has been a place for serious theater. Trinity Rep opened with Shakespeare's “Julius Caesar.” And now, Pawtucket's Gamm Theatre has presented Tennessee Williams' deep and driving “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Viola Davis made history last night, as the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for best actress in a TV drama. In a rousing speech, Davis quoted 19th century abolitionist Harriet Tubman, then spoke to the barriers women of color continue to face today.

“And let me tell you something, the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity,” said Davis.

Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

Theater season kicked off this week in Southern New England with a contemporary version of Shakespeare's “Julius Caesar” at Trinity Rep. Rhode Island Public Radio theater critic Bill Gale says there's hardly a better way to begin.

Carlo Benini

Jhumpa Lahiri, the London-born author who grew up in Kingston, Rhode Island has been given the National Humanities Medal. President Barack Obama presented the award Thursday in a ceremony at the White House, honoring Lahiri and 20 other individuals and organizations with national arts and humanities awards.

Lahiri is the author of several novels including The Namesake, and her debut story collection, The Interpreter of Maladies, which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.

Trinity Rep

Trinity Repertory Company opens its 52nd season with William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. The production is designed to have the feel of our modern political world, (hence the suits pictured above).

The show also offers a surprising twist in casting. The title role of Julius Caesar will be played by a woman, Trinity Rep veteran Anne Scurria. (Julius Caesar's wife, Calpurnia, will be played by a man -- with a name change to Calpurnius.)

The Rhythm and Roots Music Festival in Charlestown has become a Labor Day tradition here in Rhode Island, especially as a showcase for Cajun music and dance. Rhode Island Public Radio's Chuck Hinman explores the origin and lasting legacy of Rhode Island's Cajun connection, with Alan Bradbury of the Magnolia Cajun Band.

Mark Turek

Trinity Repertory Company, which has also been named the State Theater of Rhode Island, has selected Tom Parrish as its new executive director.

Parrish comes from a similar position at the Geva Theater Center in New York, according to the official announcement of his hiring.