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

One of Rhode Island’s only Spanish-language theater companies is getting its own home. The ECAS Theatre in Providence has been operating for nearly two decades. (ECAS stands for Educational Center for the Arts and Sciences.)

ECAS began in 1997, producing plays in both English and Spanish. Up to now, the group has rented space, but organizers have found a permanent home in Providence’s South Side.

The group mainly stages plays from Hispanic countries. Artistic Director Francis Parra said they provide a glimpse into the national cultures of many Rhode Island residents.

Trinity Repertory Company

A performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol might be part of your family’s holiday tradition. But for some families with autistic children, the bright lights and loud noises of a typical performance make that tradition nearly impossible. 

Maggie Hall / Ocean State Theatre

Warwick’s Ocean State Theatre opens the season with a mixture of music and dark humor. Rhode Island Public Radio theatre critic Bill Gale was mostly won over by The Addams Family: The Musical.

The Addams Family: The Musical runs through October 25th at Ocean State Theatre in Warwick. Bill Gale reviews the performing arts for Rhode Island Public Radio.

Trinity Repertory Company

Rhode Island's theater community said a final farewell this week to longtime Trinity Repertory Company member Barbara Meek. The Detroit native passed away on Saturday. She was 81-years-old.

Meek acted in more than 100 plays at Trinity Rep., including the current production  of "Julius Caesar," which had her on stage up until the week before she died. Over her decades-long career, she also had roles on Broadway and television.

Rhode Island Public Radio arts critic Bill Gale shared his memories of Meek, both on and off the stage, in this audio postcard.

2nd Story Theatre

Ed Shea, artistic director of Warren's 2nd Story Theatre, had to ring up theater folk in London for permission to do “Dangerous Corner,” a mostly forgotten 1930s play by J.B. Priestley. Bill Gale says the result is, somewhat mixed.

Maggie Hall / Wilbury Theatre Group

Using the same theater space where Trinity Rep began more than 50 years ago, The Wilbury Group is another young theater willing to take a chance. Bill Gale says their latest work, “Dry Land,” is certainly risky.

Ah, yes, so it is. Written by Ruby Rae Spiegel when she was still an undergraduate at  Yale University, “Dry Land” rushes you into a vortex of, well, you could say a bunch of  kids being young and stupid.

Erin X. Smithers / Mixed Magic Theatre

The Mixed Magic Theatre in Pawtucket has begun its season with a play that opened some minds back in 1965. It was called “Day of Absence” and its plot – and its warning – still has something to say. 

Bill Gale has the review.

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.”

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Viola Davis made history last night, as the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for best actress in a TV drama. In a rousing speech, Davis quoted 19th century abolitionist Harriet Tubman, then spoke to the barriers women of color continue to face today.

“And let me tell you something, the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity,” said Davis.

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.

Trinity Rep

Trinity Repertory Company opens its 52nd season with William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. The production is designed to have the feel of our modern political world, (hence the suits pictured above).

The show also offers a surprising twist in casting. The title role of Julius Caesar will be played by a woman, Trinity Rep veteran Anne Scurria. (Julius Caesar's wife, Calpurnia, will be played by a man -- with a name change to Calpurnius.)

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.

Clyde Media Productions / Trinity Rep

Thursday night was the first preview of a brand new musical at Trinity Rep. "Melancholy Play: A Chamber Musical" is the latest work from world-renowned playwright Sarah Ruhl, with music by composer Todd Almond. Ruhl received her master’s degree in Providence at Brown University. She’s since been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and has received the MacArthur "Genius" grant.

Ruhl's "Melancholy Play" is receiving a world premiere at Trinity Rep. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Morning Edition host Chuck Hinman spoke with director Leisl Tommy about the production.

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

British playwright Joe Orton is probably best remembered for his loopy yet fiery comedy's “Loot” and “What the Butler Saw”. But his seminal piece was “Entertaining Mr. Sloane” a 1964 trouble-making work now being revived by 2nd Story Theatre in Warren.

When you enter 2nd Story's upstairs performing space these nights you'll be greeted by some real oldies. No, not the ushering staff. The recorded music being played: Petula Clark's “Downtown” The Seekers “Georgy Girl” and even “She's Not There” by the Zombies.