Trinity Rep

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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.

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Debra Messing, the East-Greenwich raised actress known for her role in the ``Will and Grace’’ television sitcom and Woonsocket Jazz club owner John Chan will both be honored with Pell Awards at Trinity Reparatory Theater’s annual tribute to the arts and the memory of the late U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell.

The ceremonies are scheduled for June 15 at Trinity Rep, with a reception to follow at the nearby Providence Public Library.

Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

A conservative approach to a classic play has rarely been the Trinity Rep way. Over the years full speed ahead has been more like it. That surely is the case with the theater's new take on “The Glass Menagerie.”  Bill Gale says it works, except when it doesn't.

“The Glass Menagerie” continues at Trinity Rep through March 29th. Bill Gale reviews the performing arts for Rhode Island Public Radio.

Lila Sapinsley,  former state senator from Providence’s East Side and patron of arts, education  and good government causes, has died at her Laurelmead home in Providence. She was 92.

A liberal Republican, Sapinsley rose to become the first woman  Senate Minority Leader and was nearly elected lieutenant governor in 1984, an election she narrowly lost to Democrat Richard Licht.

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?”

Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

Way back in 1843 when Charles Dickens' “A Christmas Carol” was published in London one reviewer called it “. . . a dainty dish to put before a king.” Well, Bill Gale is not entering hyperbole land quite that much. But he does say that this year's on-stage version at Trinity Rep is a winner.

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

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.

Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

There’s a myriad of ways to approach “A Lie of the Mind” and the huge production at Trinity. First of all is the fantasia of a set by director Brian Mertes and the ever-inventive designer Eugene Lee.

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All this week we're marking Brown University's 250th with a series of conversations with graduates, leaders and historians. Thursday we're focusing on the arts. Rhode Island Public Radio's Bill Gale sat down with alum and playwright Lynn Nottage about her work and the future of the theater.

Mark Turek

 

It certainly is. With a book, and music and lyrics, by the era’s one-time

wunderkind, Lionel Bart, “Oliver!” received 23 curtain calls opening night and

sailed on for six years in London’s West End. Then it became a Broadway hit and

there was a very successful film, too.

 

Later on, producer Cameron Macintosh took over and ran successful revivals.

Many theater fans loved “Oliver!” for its gutsy, and plucky, drive. It’s wistful

happy ending helped, too.

 

Mark Turek

That is for sure. Playwright Lynn Nottage, a Brown graduate, has called “Intimate Apparel” a “meditation on loneliness.” Surely that is a more exact, more piercing description of this lovely, incisive and heartbreaking work at Trinity Rep.

“Intimate Apparel” is one of those plays that will have you confused sometimes, a little bored perhaps, and then will suddenly strike, make you fall for the people involved and for the ideas being put forth. It’s a play most worth seeing, and thinking about.

Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

Ah, yes. Good old Chris Durang. What’s he gotten into now? Over the years he’s been known for such ideosyncratic shows as “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, “The Marriage of Bette and Boo” and, of course, “The Idiots Kasamazov.”

But Durang’s nicely into his 60’s now. Perhaps he’s calmed down a bit?

Well, no. “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” concerns Bucks County, PA., Snow White, licking postage stamps, movie stars, the theatuh, voodoo, pricks, getting old and the significance of the blue heron. Among many other things.

Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

Yup. Charles Dickens is back in town. Played with great good humor by the veteran Tom Gleadow, this year’s “A Christmas Carol” has Mr. Dickens on stage often and to considerable effect.

The rotund Gleadow is one of those luminous actors whom you find yourself watching anytime he’s on stage. And he’s there a lot, giving this year’s version more of the dialogue from the novel then perhaps ever. He also chides, and directs, poor old Ebenezer Scrooge a bit, too, which lends a nice comedic touch.

More than 400 thinkers and entrepreneurs plan to gather in Providence later this week for the Business Innovation Factory’s ninth summit.

The head of the factory, Saul Kaplan, said new collaborations and projects come out of the summit every year. About two-thirds of the attendees come from outside of Rhode Island.

“The people that are there and the people that are in the room have an incredibly positive view of Rhode Island. They believe Rhode Island is a place where innovation can happen, so it changes the conversation," said Kaplan.

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