Arts & Culture

Theater Reviews
4:20 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Trinity Rep’s “A Christmas Carol” Filled With Song And Dance

Fred Sullivan, Jr. as Scrooge and the cast of Charles Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol," as adapted by Adrian Hall and Richard Cumming.
Credit Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

Yup. Charles Dickens is back in town. Played with great good humor by the veteran Tom Gleadow, this year’s “A Christmas Carol” has Mr. Dickens on stage often and to considerable effect.

The rotund Gleadow is one of those luminous actors whom you find yourself watching anytime he’s on stage. And he’s there a lot, giving this year’s version more of the dialogue from the novel then perhaps ever. He also chides, and directs, poor old Ebenezer Scrooge a bit, too, which lends a nice comedic touch.

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Theater Reviews
6:49 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

2nd Story Theatre’s “Golda’s Balcony” Is a Splendid Piece of Theater

Sandra Laub as Golda Meir in William Gibson’s one-woman tour de force "Golda's Balcony."
Credit Richard W. Dionne, Jr. / 2nd Story Theatre

Yes, indeed. There are lots of reasons why this production is a splendid piece of theater. First and foremost is Sandra Laub, the actress playing the one-time prime minister of Israel, Golda Meir.

Most theater people, especially actors, will tell you that doing a one-woman or one-man show is the most difficult of assignments.  After all, it is just one soul out there, alone. It’s a matter of getting the audience to fall for you, and there’s nobody to help out. You, and you alone, must keep the play’s pulse moving, must make the character live.

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Theater Reviews
4:31 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Gamm’s “Good People” Nothing Less Than Sizzling

Bill Mootos and Jeanine Kane in Gamm Theatre's "Good People."
Credit Peter Goldberg

Well, I don’t want to go overboard here. But “Good People” is just nothing less than a sizzling comedy with a real life message. It’s delicious, deep, delightful, and just plain dandy.

Directed with fire and feeling by Rachel Walshe, the production will have you laughing out loud and holding your breath as the characters reveal themselves.

Led by a splendid Janine Kane, the acting is as good as you’re liable to see anywhere. The sets and the goofy, great costumes add a lot, too.

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Theater Reviews
4:35 am
Fri November 15, 2013

At Ocean State Theatre Lombardi Is Played With Dark Vigor

Jennifer Byrne, Robert Ierardi and Joel Kipper in the New England premiere of "Lombardi."
Credit Mark Turek / Ocean State Theatre

Ah yes, the late Vince Lombardi. I can see him now, back in the black and white TV era of the 1960s. He’s standing like a statue on the sidelines on the tundra that is a Green Bay football field. Legs apart, polo coat covering his broad shoulders, absurd fedora on his head. And most of all there’s his shouting, bellowing, at anyone nearby. The refs, his own players, his assistant coaches, were all fair game, targets of his single minded drive.

He was the Bill Belichick of his time, the best-known coach in all of football. Only louder, tougher, harder to deal with.

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Arts & Culture
3:19 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Woonsocket's Museum Of Work & Culture Founder Retires

Tuesday is the last day on the job for Raymond Bacon, co-manager of Woonsocket’s Museum of Work & Culture. Bacon’s retirement ends 16 years working at the museum.

Before his time at the museum, Bacon spent 30 years as a high school teacher. Before that he worked his way through college at The French Worsted Mill. That experience, Bacon said, helped connect him to the people whose lives are chronicled at the Museum of Work and Culture. He said he knew some of the people in the pictures on display.

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Theater Reviews
4:10 am
Wed November 6, 2013

2nd Story’s “Sons of the Prophet” Doesn’t Shy Away From Anything

Vince Petronio, Nathan Goncalves, Andrew Iacovelli, Jed Hancock-Brainerd, Paula Faber star in 2nd Story Theatre's "Sons of the Prophet."
Credit Richard W. Dionne, Jr. / 2nd Story Theatre

“Sons of the Prophet” comes to Rhode Island with a pretty darn good reputation. Brown University graduate Stephan Karam’s play was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and did win several awards that year. It was a favorite of Manhattan’s downtown theater crowd, too.

So, what happened?

At 2nd Story this work, which the author calls “a comedy about a guy coping with chronic pain” seems pretty much weak-kneed. Its “comedy” never really clicks; its philosophy, which seems to be that coping with the unspeakable can be nourishing, doesn’t seem real, or true.

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Artscape
9:05 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Artscape: At Brown, Annual Organ Concert Keeps Things Creepy Each Halloween

The massive 1903 organ in Sayles Hall at Brown University.
Credit John Bender / RIPR

For the last twenty years Brown University’s organist Mark Steinbach has been playing a concert on Halloween at midnight.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender, went out to the University to learn more about the spooky tradition, and what makes a piece of music scary.

That’s Mark Steinbach, the University Organist at Brown.  He’s practicing for his annual organ recital which happens at midnight on Halloween.

“Technically it starts at 11:59 pm, so that people know which day to come,” said Steinbach.

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Artscape
4:08 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Artscape: Providence Loves HP Lovecraft

Brown librarian Holly Snyder holds one of HP Lovecraft's hand-drawn pamphlets.
Credit Catherine Welch / RIPR

As a 10-year-old child, Howard Phillips Lovecraft would tuck himself into his grandfather’s library and read. Lovecraft’s father had gone mad and his mother eventually would too, making his wealthy grandfather – and all of those books –the center of Lovecraft’s world. Then his world fell apart. Lovecraft’s grandfather died and the estate was badly managed, wiping away his comfortable life in Providence. To earn much needed income Lovecraft, at 13-years-old, carefully crafted astronomy pamphlets and sold them, essentially starting his career as a published writer.

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Theater Reviews
4:20 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Festival Ballet's Up Close Is One Of Its Best

Ruth Whitney and Alan Alberto in Boyko Dossev's "Lovers' Song" at Festival Ballet's "Up Close."
Credit A. Cemal Ekin

Widely varied, indeed.

This latest “Up Close” offers dances from the 19th century to world premieres. Topics range from a smartly funny, and goofy, piece called “Tea Time” to a heart-rending vision of the end of life. The music? Well, that goes from Igor Stravinsky and Gustav Mahler to Ray Charles and Jacques Brel.

The dancing by Festival’s best is, generally, at a high level. And, of course, in that rehearsal room the dancers are right there in front of you.

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Theater Reviews
1:01 am
Tue October 8, 2013

Ocean State Theatre’s “Les Mis” is a First-Rate Effort

Fredric S. Scheff and Kevin B McGlynn star as Jean Valjean and Javert in Les Misérables being presented at the Ocean State Theatre in Warwick.
Credit Mark Turek / Ocean State Theatre

Yes, you could figure that “Les Mis” might be just a tad over-saturated these days.

Many have seen it at least once. Or, they’ve heard the wonderful score.

But, you know what? “Les Mis” is still worth seeing, worth being affected by, worth pondering for its immense world view. And the production opening the season at Ocean State is a first-rate effort. No, it doesn’t have the great turntable racing the pace on stage. It hasn’t reached the incredible settings of Broadway or top flight road shows.

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