The spectacle of the season at the Providence Performing Arts Center is LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL (September 21-28), which will open its national tour in town. In the role that Reese Witherspoon made hilarious, we follow the self-confident exploits of Elle Woods, a blonde sorority sister who goes to Harvard Law school and proves that chipper blond shopaholics can be taken seriously.
The 14TH INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S PLAYWRITING FESTIVAL will be held at Perishable Theatre (October 2-November 2), featuring three one-act plays and local performance artists. Adrienne Kennedy’s hard-hitting FUNNYHOUSE OF A NEGRO will be at Brown University (September 25-October 5). Taking place in the imagination of a troubled young light-skinned black woman, the 1964 one-act play deals with her obsession about whiteness, which goes so far as to treat a marble statue of Queen Victoria as a shrine to her aspiration and self-loathing.
Melding “poetry, jazz riffs, hip-hop, down-home blues, and Spanish boleros,” the multimedia theater group Universes, from the South Bronx, will present LIVE FROM THE EDGE (October 9) at the RISD Auditorium, as part of the FirstWorks festival.
Providence College will stage Brandon Thomas’s CHARLEY’S AUNT (October 24-November 2). The British farce, which broke records for theatrical longevity after it opened in 1892, deals with a young man needing to masquerade as an elderly female chaperone so his two undergraduate friends can properly entertain the two young women of their hearts’ desire.
Nilo Cruz’s ANNA IN THE TROPICS is on the bill at Rhode Island College Theater (November 12-16), directed by Nehassaiu deGannes. Modern manufacturing methods are changing traditions, but factory workers in Tampa, Florida, are still rolling cigars by hand when a new lector reads Anna Karenina to them, intensifying their attitudes through the power of art.
The Providence Black Repertory Company is staging BUG, by Tracy Letts (September 18-October 19). Billed as a “darkly comic thriller,” the play “explores the line between conspiracy theory and actual conspiracy.” At Mixed Magic Theatre in Pawtucket, a workshop production of THE FREDERICK DOUGLASS PROJECT will be presented October 7-12, followed by MOBY-DICK: THEN AND NOW (October 16-November 9).
Roger Williams University Theatre is staging THE WOMEN OF LOCKERBIE (November 14-22), a poetic drama based on the aftermath of the 1998 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
In South County, Center Stage will present the musical CABARET (October 24-November 1). At URI Theatre (November 13-22), the folksy corn will rise even higher than an elephant’s eye, in OKLAHOMA!, the Rodgers and Hammerstein show that solidified a new structure for musicals — songs advancing the storyline.