Arts & Culture

Steven Richard / Theatre by the Sea

When “My Fair Lady” debuted on Broadway in 1956 it was an immediate classic. The “perfect musical” one review said. But how does this oft-repeated winner look today, almost 60 years later? Bill Gale says the version now at Theater by the Sea lets you know why “My Fair Lady” is still singing.

Chuck Hinman / RIPR

For this month’s Rhode Island Artscape, we take a visit to the State Archives in downtown Providence. The agency has unveiled a new exhibit dedicated to odd and unexpected state artifacts. The historic objects range from counterfeit colonial money, to the death certificate of famed Providence author H.P. Lovecraft. Rhode Island Public Radio's morning host, Chuck Hinman went on a private tour of the exhibit with State Archivist Gwenn Stearn.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

My friends Joe Labriola and Mike Skinner did the Walk for Hunger a few weeks back. They have done the walk before. They have done walks for Toys For Tots too. They have a problem with people going without in the richest country on earth.

John Bender / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is embarking on his first major arts and tourism initiative since taking office in January. The first annual Providence International Arts Festival goes on all this weekend. City officials have grand plans for the event.

Days before -- and a mile from the festival site -- a group of local artists and musicians are busy sawing away at two-by-fours, and nailing them together at the Columbus Theater. They’re building a stage. Alternating wood stains create a red and brown striped pattern.

John Altdorfer / Squonk Opera

Providence kicks off the inaugural Providence International Arts Festival Thursday. Mayor Jorge Elorza has touted the event as one of his first major initiatives to boost tourism and the arts in the capital city. The four-day festival includes public art installations, theater, and lectures all around downtown Providence. It will also include dozens of musical performances from across the globe.

Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

The right of all Americans to be down-hearted once in a while is brought up -- and defended -- in a new musical comedy having its premiere at Trinity Rep. Bill Gale says it  can have you laughing out loud, and thinking, too.

Sarah Ruhl is a playwright known for her off-beat but well put together plays. “The Clean House,” has a Brazilian maid who cares only to find the perfect joke which then turns to a narrative about being joyful in the face of death and dying. Or in “Dead Man's Cell Phone” Ruhl looks at the societal disconnection brought about by the digital age.

Maggie Hall / Wilbury Theatre Group

Serious mental illness might well seem an unlikely jumping off point for musical theater. But with “Next to Normal,” now at the Wilbury Group in Providence, the subject becomes a powerful drama mostly well done. 

Brian Yorkey, who wrote the book and lyrics for the engrossing “Next to Normal” once opined that “musicals can be ridiculous.”

“You know, all those people breaking into song all the time,” he said. But the author also  pointed out that, somehow, a good musical can be “sublime.”

Poor People's Pub

Bacon is on the menu Saturday at Poor People’s Pub on Block Island. The restaurant is hosting the second annual “Bacon Fest,” a benefit for the Block Island Conservancy. 

Why bacon?

"Why not?" asked server Corinne Adams, a seasonal resident of Block Island. 

The event features a mixture of professional chefs and home cooks, all competing to make the best bacon dish. Participants have the chance to taste each dish then vote for their favorite.

Clyde Media Productions / Trinity Rep

Thursday night was the first preview of a brand new musical at Trinity Rep. "Melancholy Play: A Chamber Musical" is the latest work from world-renowned playwright Sarah Ruhl, with music by composer Todd Almond. Ruhl received her master’s degree in Providence at Brown University. She’s since been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and has received the MacArthur "Genius" grant.

Ruhl's "Melancholy Play" is receiving a world premiere at Trinity Rep. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Morning Edition host Chuck Hinman spoke with director Leisl Tommy about the production.


If you are a fan of live, acoustic music, at some point straining to hear over a loud bar crowd, you may have thought, wouldn’t it be great if my favorite performer could play at my house instead? It might surprise you to know the performer may be thinking the same thing. For this month’s Artscape, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Chuck Hinman examines the growing phenomenon of house concerts in the Ocean State.

Wikimedia Commons

The Newport Folk Festival has announced plans to celebrate this year’s 50th anniversary of Bob Dylan going electric.  But details of the celebration remain a mystery.

In true Folk festival fashion, producers are keeping silent on the headlining act for what they’ve dubbed “65 revisited,” an affectionate nod to the Bob Dylan album ‘Highway 61 Revisited.’

Richard W. Dionne, Jr. / 2nd Story Theatre

British playwright Joe Orton is probably best remembered for his loopy yet fiery comedy's “Loot” and “What the Butler Saw”. But his seminal piece was “Entertaining Mr. Sloane” a 1964 trouble-making work now being revived by 2nd Story Theatre in Warren.

When you enter 2nd Story's upstairs performing space these nights you'll be greeted by some real oldies. No, not the ushering staff. The recorded music being played: Petula Clark's “Downtown” The Seekers “Georgy Girl” and even “She's Not There” by the Zombies.

Peter Goldberg / Gamm Theatre

The Gamm Theatre is closing its season with a play reaching back to the French Revolution and the Enlightenment. It's a crackling production. But is there a connection to today? Not so much.

Lew Place / Copyright: Feinberg Entertainment 2014

Young filmmakers took center stage Saturday night at the Give Me 5 Teen Film Festival, for an evening of short films by teenagers across Rhode Island. RIPR's Chuck Hinman sat down with Steven Feinberg from the state's Film and TV Office to talk about the festival, Woody Allen's new movie (shot in RI) and the state of the local film industry.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

A group of artists, scientists, educators, and residents who want to promote the health of urban ponds will march in a parade later today in Providence for the eighth year in a row. Mashapaug Pond and its watershed in the Pawtuxet River basin are the centerpieces of the Urban Pond Procession. The pond is on the state’s list of impaired waters. It’s not a safe body of water in which to swim or fish.

The procession, focused on water this year, returns with its distinct handmade art by students from schools in the south side of Providence.