From the looks of the powerful plays lined up at local theatres, 2012 should be a happy new year for drama lovers. Here’s a list of some of the upcoming theatrical offerings that promise to make the next few months pretty robust for us all. Go enjoy. Applaud when appropriate. And help support our ever-vibrant local arts community.
The Gamm Theatre closed 2011 with a powerful production of Hamlet, and will open 2012 with Festen by David Eldridge, another powerful play adapted from the award-winning 1998 Danish film by the same title.
The play opens with Helge’s 60th birthday party, where a shocking family secret is revealed. Director Tony Estrella says “the haunting Festen redefines tragedy for a modern age.” Be forewarned, however, the play is for mature audiences only. Now through February 12.
Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s Boom will be at Gamm March 8-April 8. Director Fred Sullivan Jr. says that “rising American playwright Nachtrieb tackles our fascination with myths about the origins (and end) of life with this clever, sharp-witted doomsday comedy developed in Rhode Island at Brown/Trinity Playwrights Repertory Theatre.” Nice to see some of the ongoing benefits of the Brown/Trinity collaboration come to fruition.
Providence Performing Arts Center
Mary Poppins arrives at PPAC on February 8, with a two-week engagement that runs through February 19. The hit Broadway musical features the story and unforgettable songs from one of the most popular Disney movies of all time, plus “breathtaking dance numbers and spectacular stagecraft,” according to its press release.
Come Fly Away is a new Broadway musical that combines the seductive vocals of Frank Sinatra with a live on-stage band and Twyla Tharp’s choreography. Fourteen dancers tell the story of four couples falling in and out of love. The innovative production is at PPAC March 2-4. The Addams Family, based on characters created by the bizarre Charles Addams, is the fourth smash-hit musical to grace the PPAC stage, playing March 20-25. All your favorites – Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, It and the kids – will be there. Nothing like the ultimate dysfunctional family singing and dancing say we.
2nd Story Theatre
Director Ed Shea has made a number of changes in this season’s lineup at 2nd Story, taking advantage of newer plays when the rights become available. Richard Greenberg’s Take Me Out will be at the Warren theatre now through February 12. The baseball-themed play was a big hit on Broadway, taking a passionate and patriotic look at America’s great pastime.
The Rhode Island premiere of August: Osage County will be presented March 2-April 1. It’s a great play that won all the big Broadway awards a few years back and promises to be a winner in Warren.
FirstWorks presents a fun glimpse into the lively world of Bollywood as Caravanserai comes to stage on February 7. This fun evening of pop/folk/rock music and dancing from the other side of the world will feature Punjabi superstar singer Arif Lohar. Performance venue to be announced. Tickets go on sale soon; go online to learn more about Caravanserai or FirstWorks’ many other exciting upcoming theatre, dance or music events.
Trinity’s new year starts on February 3 with Shakespeare’s classic, The Merchant of Venice. The tragic comedy comes at a time when the “money lenders” are as timeless as ever. Shylock will be around through March 4.
There’ll also be something new and different at Trinity from February 16-May 13, where director Curt Columbus will be presenting Sparrow Grass, a premiere of bold new works by American playwrights done in repertory.
Rhode Island College
RIC presents Breaking the Code, a play about British mathematician Alan Turing, a man of many contradictions. As he worked to crack the Nazi’s Enigma code, he dealt with having to live as a gay man at a time when homosexuality was considered a criminal act. Turing was sentenced to undergo hormone treatments, which rendered him mentally and physically incapacitated. This war hero, marathon runner and brilliant mathematical mind died forgotten and alone. Breaking the Code comes to the stage February 15-18.
Brown University’s Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies continues to tackle tough plays that challenge actors, students and playgoers. Deepali Gupta, Class of 2012, has written a play titled We Can Rebuild Him, which will be directed by Talya Klein and presented at Leeds Theatre on Waterman Street, March 1-11.