Highlights of what's touring at the Providence Performing Arts Center are CATCH ME IF YOU CAN (October 17-14) and MEMPHIS (December 4-9). The former is a musical adaptation of the Leonardo DiCaprio movie about a young man who assumes various identities, from doctor to airline pilot; the latter is a song-and-dance spectacle about a radio DJ and a club singer whose career skyrockets.
Brown University Theatre is staging the unlikely Broadway musical adaptation KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN, based on the Manuel Puig novel about an imprisoned gay hairdresser (November 1-11), with music by John Kander and Fred Ebb and book by Terrence McNally. The stage adaptation of Toni Morrison's THE BLUEST EYE follows (November 29-December 2), concerning child abuse as well as racism. Brown is also presenting Erik Ehn's new play YERMEDEA RAW, an actor and puppet performance about genocide in Central America (September 20-30).
YERMEDEA will also be performed at AS220's Empire Black Box (October 11-14). That space will host LEIGH AND MELISSA PRESENT: HAMLETTE!, about two stultified workers rehearsing in their office after hours (September 21-30), as well as PETER GLANTZ AND THE IMAGINARY COMPANY: NEAR TO FEARLESS (September 14). And don't forget the sign-up storytelling of LIVE BAIT on the first Friday of each month (and all day on October 19), plus the off-the-cuff theater of IMPROV JONES on Thursdays and Saturdays at 10 pm.
Other college theaters will also be busy. University of Rhode Island Theatre is doing a funny and touching play about family, home care, and dying, Scott McPherson's MARVIN'S ROOM (October 11-21), plus the Stephen Sondheim musical COMPANY (November 29-December 9). Roger Williams University Theatre is exploring facets of being American in Arthur Miller's BROKEN GLASS (October 12-20) and Edward Albee's THE AMERICAN DREAM (October 26-27), before moving on to Bertolt Brecht's adaptation of Sophocles's ANTIGONE (November 16-December 1). At Rhode Island College Theatre, William Gibson's THE MIRACLE WORKER tells the story of Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan (September 26-30); and A.R. Gurney's SYLVIA is a portrait of the title dog and the family who adopts her (November 14-18).
Considering having a child in a world that might not outlast us is the theme of Duncan Macmillan's LUNGS; the Wilbury Group will stage its Rhode Island premiere at the Butcher Block Mill Building (October 12-27). The Elemental Theatre Collective will present 44 PLAYS FOR 44 PRESIDENTS (November 1-6), with quirky biographical sketches of the American leaders, first produced by the Neo-Futurists of Chicago in 2002. Epic Theatre Company will bring us the RI premiere of Noah Haidle's MR. MARMALADE (November 9-25), a short comedy about an imaginary friend and an imaginary pregnancy, and Sarah Ruhl's PASSION PLAY, a lengthy lark charting the history of Christianity (November 30-December 16). And the Contemporary Theater Company takes on Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST (October 13-November 3).
Capping off the year, Trinity Rep is not the only theater staging Dickens's A CHRISTMAS CAROL (November 10-December 29). The Black Box Theatre will present it in Cranston at the Artists' Exchange (December 6-16) and at the Park Theatre (December 20-22). And Ocean State Theatre Company will bring the ho-ho-ho with David Sedaris's THE SANTALAND DIARIES (December 12-30) and WINTER WONDERETTES, by Roger Bean (December 5-30).