Peter Goldberg / The Gamm Theatre

So far, the Southern New England arts season has been a place for serious theater. Trinity Rep opened with Shakespeare's “Julius Caesar.” And now, Pawtucket's Gamm Theatre has presented Tennessee Williams' deep and driving “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

Theater season kicked off this week in Southern New England with a contemporary version of Shakespeare's “Julius Caesar” at Trinity Rep. Rhode Island Public Radio theater critic Bill Gale says there's hardly a better way to begin.

Mark Turek / Ocean State Theater

The Ocean State Theatre in Warwick is reviving one of the big musical hits of the 1950s, “Gypsy,” a story about family, show business and the life of the striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee.  Bill Gale says that despite some problems “Gypsy” is still worth seeing, one more time.

That's right. For you see “Gypsy” is one of those musicals you could call a “But, still . . .” piece of work.

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.”

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.

John Bender / RIPR

The lineup has been announced for the first annual Providence International Arts Festival.  Part of the idea is branding the city as a national cultural destination.

The festival will take place over four days this June, and will feature more than 500 artists. International headlining acts include African singer Angelique Kidjo and the Mexican Squonk Opera.

Even with international headliners, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza stressed that festival will showcase dozens of local acts.

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.

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.

John Bender / RIPR

World renowned composer and performer Philip Glass is in Rhode Island.  He performed at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence Wednesday as part of a program put on by local arts non-profit First Works. He continues his visit Thursday, to work with students at the Jacqueline Walsh School for the performing arts in Pawtucket.  For this month’s Artscape, Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender examines the draw of Philip Glass’ music, and why it endures.

James Baumgartener / RIPR

Fans of more esoteric pop music, and perhaps of a certain age, may be familiar with the 60's psychedelic rock band Autosalvage.  Former guitarist Rick Turner is a small piece of rock history, and an alumnus of Moses Brown School in Providence.  In addition he's a master guitar maker.

Turner has returned to his alma mater, to teach a course in ukulele making.  Rhode Island Public Radio's weekend host, Chuck Hinman sat down with Turner to talk about his music, life after the band, and returning to teach at his old school.





Catherine Welch / RIPR

The International Writers Project at Brown University presents a 2-day festival of Cuban writing and music on Feb. 4th and 5th. Called "Cuba In Splinters:  New Fiction from Generation Zero," it honors the Cuban writer and blogger Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo. Rhode Island Public Radio's Chuck Hinman spoke to Orlando Luis about the festival and contemporary Cuban literature. 

Rhode Island Philharmonic

Rhode Islanders head to the polls in just a few short days.  In addition to the major races, voters will also decide on spending bonds.  There are four of them. 

For this month’s Artscape, and as part of our Rhody Votes ’14 coverage we’re looking into question Five: the arts and culture bond.  Rhode Island Public Radio's John Bender spoke with morning host Elisabeth Harrison.

For all of our election coverage, visit the Rhody Votes '14 page at our website here