Ocean State follows that up with the 1996 rock opera RENT (February 20-March 17), which made theater history by winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as the Tony Award for Best Musical. Both awards were presented posthumously to Jonathan Larson for the work, which deals with the turmoil and sense of community that developed around the HIV-AIDS epidemic.

Getting classy with comedy, Providence College Theater is presenting THE ILLUSION (February 1-10), Tony Kushner's adaptation of Pierre Corneille's L'Illusion Comique; a father begs a sorcerer for word about his prodigal son, then magically witnesses three scenes from the young man's adventures.

Getting classy with a classic, Brown University Theatre is staging Jean Racine's PHAEDRA (February 28-March 10), drawn from the Greek myth about the eponymous queen who falls in love with her husband's son from a previous marriage. Brown is also presenting WRITING IS LIVE (A FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS) (February 1-24), written, directed, and performed by the university's graduate and undergraduate students.

In their yearly exercise of theatrical imagination, the Contemporary Theater Company will present its 8TH ANNUAL 24-HOUR PLAY FESTIVAL (January 5), consisting of short plays written, rehearsed, and performed in a single day. They also are staging Sarah Ruhl's PASSION PLAY (January 18-19), produced by the Epic Theater Company. The trilogy presents three historical times in which passion plays are presented: Elizabethan England, Nazi Germany, and the United States during the Vietnam War and the Reagan era.

A Pulitzer Prize finalist and 2011 Obie Award winner, Kristoffer Diaz's THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY will being staged by the Wilbury Group (January 23-February 9). The lightly handled geopolitical allegory has fun combining the world of professional wrestling with hip-hop and the threat of terrorism.

Quite the span of theater opportunities. Mix or match, your call.

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