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.

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Theater Reviews
1:07 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Theatre-by-the Sea’s Production is the Cats Meow

The cast of CATS at Theatre By The Sea through July 13.
Credit Steven Richard Photography / Theatre-by-the-Sea

It’s a funny thing about “Cats.”

Some people, many actually, are enthralled by this musical taken almost completely from a poem by that Anglo-American literary icon, T.S. Eliot. “Cats” lovers adore the music by Andrew Lloyd-Webber and are happy to forget about the almost plotless story line that finds a beat-up old cat restored to vibrant life.

Others, myself included, enjoy much of the music but really find “Cats” to be a clawless work, more a stagnant showing off piece than anything else.

So , make your choice and pay your money. Or not.

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Trinity Rep
7:30 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

The Trick of Putting on Two Plays at Once

Phyllis Kay and Fred Sullivan, Jr. , Barbara Meek and Anne Scurria in House & Garden by Alan Ayckbourn.
Credit Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

At Trinity Rep these nights 14 professional actors and half as many kids are romping and stomping, racing and rushing from the upstairs Chace Theater to the downstairs Dowling Theater. And this is no exercise program. It’s actually the simultaneous performance of two separate plays by a single cast.

They fly from one play to another, changing costumes and characters all night long.

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Theater Reviews
1:51 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Wilbury's "Three Penny Opera" is a Good Try

Going forward with a famous musical is generally a matter of copying. After all, if you are putting on “Annie” or “Nunsense” you aren’t going to change things—just try to do a crowd-pleasing show as well as you can.

But that’s not the case with Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s “Three Penny Opera.”

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Theater Reviews
1:04 am
Fri May 10, 2013

2nd Story's "Rose Tattoo" is a Play of Sicilian Passion & Wildness

Andrew Iacovelli as Jack and Valerie Westgate as Rosa in "The Rose Tattoo" at 2nd Story Theatre.
Credit Richard W. Dionne, Jr. / 2nd Story Theatre

Back in the late 1940s and early ‘50s the talk along the New York Rialto was about whether Tennessee Williams could broaden his approach. Sure, the critics and others said, he’s written great plays such as the ever-so-human “Glass Menagerie” and the stinging “A Streetcar Named Desire.” But can he go in other directions, take us to new places?

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Theater Reviews
1:53 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Gamm's "Beauty Queen" is not for the Faint of Heart

Jeanine Kane (Maureen), Wendy Overly (Mag) in The Gamm Theatre's "The Beauty Queen of Leenane."
Credit Peter Goldberg / The Gamm Theatre

Watching the Gamm’s splendid, perfectly sharp, gloriously acted production of “Beauty Queen” was, for me at least, a trip down two very different roads. On one hand, I kept thinking of the legions of travel advertisements we’ve all seen. Ahh, the green of Ireland, the rolling hills, the charming little towns, the friendly pubs. Where have you gone Rick Steves?

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Festival Ballet
1:07 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Festival Ballet Reaches Beautifully into the Past and Future

Festival Ballet presents "Orchis" and "Agon" at The Vets in Providence.
Credit Thomas Nola-Rion

"Groundbreaking” is the word used in the press release announcing Festival Ballet Providence’s program this weekend at the Vets in Providence. And you know what? That’s probably not just publicity hype.

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Arts & Culture
10:25 am
Wed February 6, 2013

Wilbury Group delivers a wham! crack! production of "Chad Deity"

“The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity”
Credit Brian Gagnon

Providence’s newest theater, the Wilbury Group operates out of a defunct mill in Olneyville. These nights they are taking on a feisty play, “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” which was a runner-up for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize. While it begins with a look at professional wrestling, Bill Gale says it aims considerably higher.

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Arts & Culture
8:10 am
Wed February 6, 2013

Strong performance at The Wilbury Group

“The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity”
Credit Brian Gagnon

Providence’s newest theater, the Wilbury Group operates out of a defunct mill in Olneyville. These nights they are taking on a feisty play, “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” which was a runner-up for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize. While it begins with a look at professional wrestling, Bill Gale says it aims considerably higher. “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity continues at the Wilbury Group through February 9th.  Bill Gale reviews the performing arts for Rhode Island Public Radio.

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Arts & Culture
1:00 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Trinity Rep's Crime and Punishment is a rapid-fire production

Trinity Rep resident company member Stephen Thorne as Raskolnikov and Dan Butler
Credit Mark Turek

When you enter Trinity Rep’s Dowling Theater these evenings you just can’t miss the mess. Designer Eugene Lee has outdone himself, creating a scene that looks like a teenager’s bedroom on a very bad day. The walls are covered with large carpets, all conflicting in tone and color. There’s a distinctly un-comfortable looking iron bed.  Lamps from all eras abound. A Danish modern table, a keyboard from when, the 1960s, maybe? And above all is a huge crucifix, on which the murdered Jesus is nailed.

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Arts & Culture
1:00 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Ocean State Theatre's "Fools" is not one of Neil Simon's best

Stacey Geer, Matthew Rickard, and Alexander Cook star in Neil Simon’s highly comic play Fools
Credit Mark Turek

With their very fine new performing space (excellent sight lines, comfortable seats, good facilities) it seems a shame that Ocean State has picked a weak-at-the-knees Neil Simon play to officially open Rhode Island’s newest theater.

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