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Gina Gionfriddo on the art of playwriting

Character studies
Although playwright Gina Gionfriddo was raised in Washington, D.C., Rhode Island has also made its contributions, since she polished her writing skills at Brown University, where in the late 1990s she sought out eventual Pulitzer winner Paula Vogel and her MFA playwriting program, attracted by the kind of dark comedy Vogel was coming up with.
By: BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  January 18, 2011

Review: The Murder Trial of John Gordon at the Park Theatre

Trial from another era
Who knew? Everybody knows about that frisky, independent start by Roger Williams, and the first bloodshed of the American Revolution with the burning of the Gaspee , but who knows about the dispute between the lowly immigrant Gordon family and the prestigious Spragues, which resulted in the last state execution in Rhode Island, back in 1845?
By: BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  January 18, 2011

Review: Bluebird Café

From bacon and eggs to fried catfish
How easy it is to take your favorite local places for granted. The Bluebird Café is my regular weekly lunch spot and a shortlist contender for taking out-of-town guests to breakfast, but I've shamefully neglected its once-a-week dinners.
By: BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  January 11, 2011

Review: Lieutenant of Inishmore is the cat’s me-oww!

Gore and guffaws
Hysterical laughter — of both the pathological and the funny sort — has its place as stopgap comfort when things seemingly can't get worse. Written in 2001 and set in 1993, Martin McDonagh's The Lieutenant of Inishmore treats the terrorist Troubles in Ireland with gravely black humor.
By: BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  January 11, 2011

Review: Narragansett Grill

A visit to the latest resident
Over the years, restaurants have come and restaurants have gone at the remote 1200 Ocean Road in Narragansett: Wiley's, the Drunken Clam, the Ugly Old Toad, 1200 Ocean Grill, and so on.
By: BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  January 04, 2011


Winter theatre preview: From the Bard to Becky Shaw

Gionfriddo, Synge, Ibsen, and more
From the latest Pulitzer winner for drama to a musical adaptation of a popular board game, and from the Bard to Becky Shaw, Rhode Island theaters are certainly starting 2011 with varied offerings.
By: BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  December 29, 2010


Theatre that ran the emotional gamut in 2010

The human condition
We laugh, we cry, we stifle annoyance and look at our watches. Theater performances vary widely in what they attempt and how well they accomplish it.
By: BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  December 22, 2010

Review: W.B. Cody's

Buffalo Bill BBQ
There aren't any theme parks close by, but a drive down to Westerly will get you to a close approximation with bells on. Well, with chaps and spurs on. W.B. Cody's is a barbecue specialist — local, not a chain — with a Western theme clearly inspired by the showmanship of its namesake.
By: BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  December 22, 2010


Trinity Rep's uplifting It's A Wonderful Life

The road taken
Who says you can't have it both ways? Trinity Repertory Company is presenting the sentimental movie classic It's a Wonderful Life as "A Live Radio Play" (through January 2) and they've managed to make it an absorbing — and theatrical — experience.
By: BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  December 15, 2010


Review: The Gamm's Child's Christmas in Wales

Thomas's tales
The Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre is presenting Dylan Thomas's A Child's Christmas in Wales , always a good idea at this time of year. This expanded version of the 2003 adaptation by artistic director Tony Estrella incorporates fragments of other works by the Welsh poet, even a complete short story, and continues in a short run through December 26.
By: BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  December 15, 2010


Review: Tennessee Williams's self-indulgent Vieux Carré

Only the lonely
Tennessee Williams scholars and melodrama buffs will be quick-marching over to the Brown/Trinity Rep performance of his early Vieux Carré (at the Pell Chafee Performance Center through December 19).
By: BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  December 15, 2010

Review: Hemenway's Dockside Dining

Not just a clone of Providence
When a successful restaurant opens another location, the easiest thing is to clone the original, or at least the menu that was its claim to fame.
By: BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  December 15, 2010


URI's lively Rocky Horror Show

A terrific Time Warp
Although more fans know the comical musical from the 1975 film version, if any performance was made for the stage, The Rocky Horror Show is. The current production at URI Theatre is demonstrating this in full fright-wig fervor through December 12.
By: BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  December 08, 2010


An enchanting South Pacific at PPAC

Love and war
History is written by the winners, and there are few good-guy winners in the history of warfare more hallowed and haloed than the American victors of World War II, saviors of Western civilization.
By: BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  December 08, 2010


Review: Trinity Rep gets to the Heart of Scrooge

The inner Ebenezer
The more things stay the same, the more they change; at least that's so regarding Trinity Repertory Company's A Christmas Carol (through December 31). Every year on Washington Street, they task themselves with resurrecting the Charles Dickens tale by breathing new life into it.
By: BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  December 01, 2010

Review: Billy's

Philanthropy for foodies
Prominent in Billy's is the sort of plaque and menu notation you expect to see in a tavern that has "Ye Olde" in front of its name, only this one declares "Est. 2009." Optimistic. In a business that has the mortality rate of migrating salmon, it's approaching its second anniversary and appears healthy, as the "Reservations Recommended" suggestion on its website implies.
By: BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  December 01, 2010


Review: 2nd Story's spirited School For Wives

The mating game
With increasing delight, we knew what was ahead for us when Tom Roberts, in whiteface and rosy cheeks, gave the 2nd Story Theatre audience their customary instructions in verse: "If at intermission you phone, text or tweet/ please turn it off when you return to your seat," and such.
By: BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  November 24, 2010


Preview: Trinity charts Ebenezer's emotional journey

The Tao of Scrooge
There are more than 30 different productions of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol being performed at hundreds of theaters around the country, usually in clone versions as identical as re-screened films. Familiarity breeds big box office.
By: BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  November 30, 2010


Review: Fusionworks gets really physical

Mesmerizing movements
The rock/jazz fusion band Bixit will be amping up the energy for collaborative dance concerts with Fusionworks, at Rhode Island College's Sapinsley Hall on November 19 and 20 at 8 pm.
By: BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  November 16, 2010


Review: A Radio City Christmas at PPAC

High-kicking holiday spirit
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular , at the Providence Performing Arts Center through November 28, should be called Santa Claus and the 18 Leggy Showgirls . They could have packed the place with hubbies.
By: BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  November 16, 2010

Review: Apsara Palace

For cheapskate food fans
It's more than being loved by our mommy and being safe from barbarians from the North that we take for granted, isn't it? I found myself again and again going to Apsara Palace for lunch when I was in town, kind of a gastronomic migratory impulse, before it occurred to me to review the place and figure out what was so appealing.
By: BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  November 17, 2010

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