Bill Gale

Mark Turek / Ocean State Theatre Company

  “Damn Yankees” is a musical from the 1950s that's not really about the New York Yankees. Instead it’s about being faithful, caring and decent. 

Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

  Trinity Rep has chosen the great 1943 musical “Oklahoma!” to close its season. 

Gamm Theatre

Pawtucket's Gamm Theatre is closing its season with one of William Shakespeare's most difficult to do plays.

Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

Over the years Trinity Rep has made its mark taking new looks at classic plays. This time out it's “To Kill a Mockingbird” that is seen with a fresh perspective. RIPR theater critic Bill Gale says the new take works, but just barely.


That's right. Since the days of leadership by Adrian Hall, Trinity has rarely done a show in the usual way. Think of a 1920s car being driven, more or less, through the upstairs theater decades ago. Or remember an onstage abortion, or a veteran actor chopping a chunk of beef, in place of a man.

In the past Festival Ballet Providence's popular Up Close on Hope series has presented evenings with half-a-dozen, or more, works by various choreographers.  But beginning tonight Up Close will present just two pieces, each taken from classic tales, both world premieres by choreographers familiar to Festival Ballet fans.

One is Venezuelan-born dancer-choreographer,” Gianni Di Marco's view of Marguerite Gautier's  “Lady of the Camellias,” a romantic idle, looking at love, and eventual death. 

Peter Goldberg / Gamm Theatre

Pawtucket's Gamm Theatre is currently doing the Irish play “A Skull in Connemara.” It's a work infrequently done, certainly not as often as playwright Martin McDonagh's best, “The Beauty Queen of Leenane.” Bill Gale thinks he knows the reason why.

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

The current play at 2nd Story Theatre in Warren features six women, all dressed in black, simply sitting on stage, scripts in hand, talking.

Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

The latest offering at Trinity Rep is “The Hunchback of Seville.'' Rhode Island Public Radio’s Bill Gale was unconvinced at first, but this bright and bold, silly and crude production won him over.

Yes, and you can add wacky and wild and sometimes sophomoric in the extreme. Written by Brown University graduate Charise Castro Smith this play looks in on lots of things, from feminism to the Spanish inquisition and the gross side of the development of the New World. It's filled with explosive imagination, and the romp of youth.

Mark Turek / Ocean State Theatre

“Break A Leg” is a well-known (if rarely seriously used) phrase to encourage an actor before he or she goes on stage. Now, Warwick's Ocean State Theatre presents “Breaking Legs,” a highly farcical comedy combining the theater world and the mafia. Bill Gale went to see it anyway.

The production, directed by Trinity Rep's Fred Sullivan Jr., turns out to be an overdone, over silly piece that somehow manages to be pretty darn funny.

Maggie Hall / Wilbury Theatre Group

Providence’s Wilbury Theatre Group is staging another provocative drama, filled with humor and music. Rhode Island Public Radio’s theater critic Bill Gale, says the show has something to say.

Despite that somewhat sophomoric title, this work eventually turns out to make a point or two. In a snap-fire three act production, in about 2 hours, it manages to take a look at a group of arts-world folks. It peels away the covering, lets us in the audience see their troubles, exterior and internal. And perhaps even offers us a chance to think about our own lives.

Peter Goldberg / Gamm Theatre

Remember Sarah Palin? Of course you do. Who could forget?

Well, the political career of Ms. Palin is the jumping off point for “Grizzly Mama” by George Brant, the author of the high-flying  “Grounded” done at the Gamm last year.

But “Grizzly Mama” is a very different piece of theater. It takes off and goes way beyond the blue yonder, into a world of familial atmosphere, good and bad, loving and hating.

Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

In 1989, playwright Wendy Wasserstein’s “The Heidi Chronicles” won a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize. Now, Trinity Rep in Providence has revived this very personal play. Rhode Island Public Radio Theater Critic Bill Gale says maybe they should have left well enough alone.

Joan Marcus

Even with  ticket prices sailing over $100, Broadway's musical theater season continues to thrive. Rhode Island Public Radio theater critic Bill Gale caught two shows recently and says one is a masterpiece of the new, the other a pleasant enough look at the past.

You rarely encounter two art works of the same genre that are as different as “Hamilton,” and “An American in Paris.”  

Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

As we know, Christmas comes but once a year. And this time around Trinity Rep is presenting its evergreen production of “A Christmas Carol” earlier than usual. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Bill Gale says that’s a good thing, for several reasons.

“A Christmas Carol” continues at Trinity Rep through December 31st. Bill Gale reviews the performing arts for Rhode Island Public Radio

Courtesy Gamm Theatre

Confrontations between white police officers and people of color may be the main public conflict in the United States these days. At the Gamm Theatre, a play called “The Rant” looks into the issue, and goes on to possibly even deeper questions. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Bill Gale has the review.

“The Rant” continues through December 13th at the Gamm Theatre in Pawtucket. Bill Gale reviews the performing arts for Rhode Island Public Radio.