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
4:53 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Ocean State’s “Meet Me in St. Louis” Is Worth Seeing

The Smith Family gathers for dinner in the classic family-friendly musical, Meet Me in St. Louis, being presented at Ocean State Theatre in Warwick through December 28.
Credit Mark Turek / Ocean State Theatre

“Meet Me in St. Louis” is a charmer, a sweet, old fashioned, happy- go-lucky musical of the kind we just don't see anymore. It's filled with wonderful, if saccharine sweet, songs. It tells a tale of a family loving, and battling, and always coming through.

Read more
Theater Reviews
4:07 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Trinity Rep’s “Barefoot In The Park” Is Still Very Funny

Stephen Berenson as Victor Velasco, Charlie Thurston as Paul, Phyllis Kay as Mrs. Banks and Rebecca Gibel as Corie in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park at Trinity Rep.
Credit Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

Bill Gale admits that he raised an eyebrow when Trinity Rep announced it would do Neil Simon's 1963 hit “Barefoot in the Park.”  Why do that old joke carnival? he asked. But after seeing Trinity's production our critic has another view.

Yup, I do. Having seen this tight, funny and carefully thought out “Barefoot,” I'm saying, well, why not?”

Read more
Theater Reviews
9:03 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Wilbury Theatre's "Death Of Walt Disney" An OK Play Bolstered By A Strong Cast

Tom Chace (L) and Vince Petronio (R) in A Public Reading Of An Unproduced Screenplay About The Death Of Walt Disney.
Credit Brian Gagnon / Wilbury Theatre Group

Using the same theater on Broad Street in Providence where Trinity Rep began in the 1960s, the adventurous Wilbury Group is currently staging a work about the life and times, and death, of Walt Disney. Bill Gale has this review.

“A Public Reading of An Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney” continues at the Wilbury Group in Providence through November 22. Bill Gale reviews the performing arts for Rhode Island Public Radio.

Read more
Theater Reviews
12:52 pm
Sun November 9, 2014

Ocean State's "Dial M" Is Lost In A London Fog

Drew Anthony Allen stars as Tony Wendice in Frederick Knott’s thriller, Dial M for Murder, being presented at Ocean State Theatre
Credit Mark Turek / Ocean State Theatre

You know I checked out the history of “Dial M” before I went to see Ocean State's production. Found a 1984 New York Times review which said that the 30 or so years that had passed since its first showing had not dimmed the play's charms. Still crisp and quick, the reviewer maintained.

Read more
Arts & Culture
6:09 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Festival Ballet’s Up Close: Dark But A Good Thing

"Vilia Putrius in Viktor Plotnikov's Surrender."
Credit Thomas Nola-Rion / Festival Ballet

Being crowded together in tiny seats and dealing with an over-humid atmosphere has never stopped Festival Ballet's audience from filling the company's main rehearsal hall for “Up Close on Hope.” Showing a number of new works, the latest edition began last weekend. Bill Gale was there.

Yes, and I was happy to be there, too. But after seeing nine short numbers – some of them world premieres – I began to wonder if today's rising choreographers aren't a . . . little bit depressed.

Read more
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

Pages