Summer Theatre Kicks Into High Gear

Check out one of these upcoming performances


If thoughts about saving money, getting on an airplane or traveling to big cities have you thinking about staying close to home this summer, there is a busy, bold and bright summer theatre season awaiting you right here in Rhode Island.

Brown/Trinity Playwrights Repertory Productions
Each summer, Brown University teams up with Trinity Rep to perform myriad original and well-known plays. From July 10-August 3, the joint theatre company will be putting on three new productions:

Melena: A High Energy Drama by playwright Emily Young, is the first installment of the Brown/Trinity trifecta. Beginning July 10, this drama portrays Melena, a bride who has unfortunately, or is it willfully, forgotten her wedding vows. Her and her soon-to-be husband throw everything at each other in a drastic attempt to stay together, but will they?

The Hunchback of Seville, premiering July 17, takes us back in time to Spain’s conquest of the New World and the atrocities that follow. Written by comedic genius Charise Castro Smith of The New Dramatists based in New York City, the play depicts a hysterical image of Queen Isabella’s imaginary family.

With the tagline “Faith is a journey. Not a destination,” The Gospel of Lovingkindness by Brown’s own playwright professor Marcus Gardley focuses on a reverend’s battle with his own optimism that things will turn around in his troubled neighborhood in south Chicago. The violence that surrounds his shrinking congregation and hardships that befall his family comes to a climax when Reverend Seer must choose between his hope that things will improve and his prodigal son. This production hits the stage on July 24. Reserve your tickets by calling 863-2838, or online. 

Theatre By The Sea
Bill Hanney’s Theatre by the Sea will feature oldies but goodies:

First up is Andrew Llyod Webber’s musical CATS. Based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, Broadway’s longest running musical makes yet another trip to Rhode Island June 19-July 13. One of the best songs ever to come out of a musical is “Memory,” which still gives me goose pimples.

Starting July 17-August 10 is Annie, another musical that has made its appearance in Rhode Island at least a dozen times. Chances are you will start humming “Tomorrow” when you read this. Reserve your tickets by caling 782-8587, or online

Newport Playhouse & Cabaret
The Newport Playhouse & Cabaret Restaurant opened its 30th summer season in May with James Sherman’s Beau Jest. Sarah is a Jewish girl whose parents have no idea that her real boyfriend is a WASP executive. Sarah even hires a man from an escort service to present to her family when they come to dinner. The comedy plays through July 7.

Beginning shortly after Beau Jest’s final showing, Jesse Jones’ The Hallelujah Girls will be in Newport July 11-August 18. This southern comedy takes place in an abandoned church-turned-day-spa, where the girlfriends meet every Friday afternoon. When they lose a dear friend, they decide to change their lives and achieve their dreams – with hilarious results. For reservations to evening and matinee performances, with buffet and cabaret, call 848-7529, or visit them online.

2nd Story Theatre
Ed Shea’s 2nd Story Theatre has a “killer” summer treat, offering Agatha Christie’s classic The Mousetrap in repertory with Jack Sharkey’s parody of whodunits, The Murder Room. The two plays will run from July 5-September 1 at their Market Street theatre in Warren.

The Mousetrap is “the longest running play in the world,” and although I’ve seen it more than once, I can’t for the life of me remember who did it.

The hilarious spoof, The Murder Room, depicts two newlyweds who already want to kill each other – literally. Individual tickets are $25, or you can see both plays for $40. Call 247- 4200 for reservations, or go online.

Ocean State Theatre Company
After a successful opening season, Warwick’s Ocean State Theatre Company is planning one musical for this summer – the 2007 Broadway hit Legally Blonde.

Everyone will enjoy the music, dancing and light-hearted comedy. It is scheduled to run from July 10-28 at their new theatre located at 1245 Jefferson Blvd. Purchase tickets online, at the box office or by calling 921-6800. Tickets range from $39-$49.