Arts & Culture

Mark Turek / Ocean State Theatre

“Into the Woods” won three Tony Awards on Broadway in 1988. But “Best Musical” wasn't one of them.  Bill Gale thinks that a strong production at the Ocean State Theatre tells you why.

Full disclosure, I have never cottoned to “Into the Woods” which brought so much fame and honor to its creators Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine.

John Bender / RIPR

It’s been a year since the death of local musician David Lamb, whose passing threw the future of the folk duo Brown Bird into question. This week saw the release of the band’s final album. Crafted during Lamb’s battle with leukemia, the album was finished by his wife MorganEve Swain, the other half of the band. Music journalists are calling it Brown Bird’s swan song.

Chuck Hinman

Around the world, people are observing the 100th anniversary of the Armenian massacre, while Rwandans are remembering the mass killings in their country 21 years ago. That genocide is the subject of a play, written by two students at St. George's School in Middletown. RIPR's Chuck Hinman stopped by the school during rehearsal...

For more than 40 years, Bob Kerr worked at the Providence Journal, where he was beloved by many readers for his columns about the people and the issues that animate Rhode Island. Recently, he’s been thinking back on his time at the ProJo.

Hilary Horton was my editor when I wrote the local column in the Providence Journal 20 years ago.  We would get together in the late afternoon, looking for the better word, cleaning up the clutter, finding what the heck I was trying to say.  The column was always the better for it.

John Bender / RIPR

The Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities visited Rhode Island Monday. 

The agency has invested millions of dollars in Rhode Island cultural institutions including the Rhode Island Historical Society and Brown University. NEH also has roots in Rhode Island. It was created thanks in part to a bill sponsored by the late Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell. NEH Chair William Adams spoke with Rhode Island Public Radio Political Analyst Scott MacKay about that history and why he thinks the federal government should continue funding for the humanities.

Chuck Hinman / RIPR


As part of our new series “Rising Tide,” Rhode Island Public Radio is bringing you stories of life after the Great Recession. The economy is improving, but does a rising tide lift all boats, or are some Rhode Islanders still being left behind? In this next installment, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Chuck Hinman visits a couple who started a small business, and a family, in the depths of the Great Recession.  

Chuck Hinman / RIPR

This week an estimated 5,ooo ceramic artists, educators and industry professionals gathered in Providence for the 49th annual conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts.

Rhode Island Public Radio's weekend host Chuck Hinman talked to two of those involved; Jay Lacouture, on-site liason and ceramics professor at Salve Regina University, and Jo-Ann Conklin, Director of the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University.

National Ceramics Conference Wraps Up In Providence

Mar 27, 2015
Emily Wooldridge / RIPR

A major ceramics conference is drawing thousands of people to the Rhode Island Convention Center. The conference features a variety of ceramic art – from traditional bowls to sculptures and even a pile of high heeled shoes. 

It is put on annually by the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts. Organizer Jacqueline Hardy said the work comes from across the globe.  

“All over the country, international; we come from Australia, China, Japan, Canada of course,” said Hardy.

Providence lawyer and mystery writer Jack Partridge is out with his third book.  His latest novel, Scratched, unravels the mystery of a dead university professor with ties to Providence’s Italian community.  

For this month’s Artscape, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Scott MacKay spoke with Partridge to talk about his novel and what makes Providence a great setting for a murder mystery.

Rhode Islanders Celebrate St. Joseph's Day With Zeppoles

Mar 19, 2015
John Bender / RIPR

Today is St. Joseph’s Day, and many Rhode Islanders are celebrating the holiday with zeppoles. The special pastry is available only around this time of year.  

Customers pack Scialo Brothers Bakery on Federal Hill in Providence. They’re waiting to get their hands on a zeppole. 

The Italian pastry is like a fancy donut. It’s got a flaky crust and cream, topped with powdered sugar, and sometimes a cherry.

Waiting in line, Mary Reynolds says she comes to Scialo’s every year on St. Joseph’s Day. 

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.

On Saturday, March 14th, and on four additional Saturdays, the Cranston Public Library on Sockanosset Cross Rd. screens its "Unreeled Film Series."  

The series celebrating movies not for their cinematic merit, but for their unique awfulness. Rhode Island Public Radio's weekend host Chuck Hinman spoke with Katy Dorchies and Lisa Zawadzki of the Cranston Library, two of the people responsible for choosing the films.

For a list of films and dates of screening:

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.

Courtesy RISD

The RISD museum has received a $2.5 million gift from the Rockefeller family.  The money will go to support the museum’s decorative arts department.

The decorative arts refer to objects which have practical uses as well as artistic value; such as furniture, silverware, and vases.   In addition to the monetary gift, David Rockefeller, is donating about 43 objects from his personal collection. Museum director John Smith said the most important items include some eighteenth century English furniture.

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.