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Both new and old classics

Life on the boards
The Gamm certainly has come a long way in the quarter-century leading up to this its 25th anniversary season. The evolution of its name alone is quite a trip.
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  September 16, 2009


Berlin calling

A ‘very Trinity’ take on Cabaret
If you ask someone whether they've seen Cabaret , odds are the answer will be yes. Ask Curt Columbus, and the answer is likely to be: Which one? Sitting in the upstairs theater of Trinity Repertory Company, where their production runs through October 11, the artistic director rattled off a chronology as lengthy as a convoluted German sentence.
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  September 15, 2009

Face off

Doubt explores the quicksand of certainty
If you were an ordinary Catholic boy in parochial school, giving nuns as hard a time as you were getting, you probably ended up with the usual stories of ruler-rapped knuckles. If you grew up to be talented playwright John Patrick Shanley, you ended up writing Doubt: A Parable , a fascinating exploration of the quicksand of certainty.
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  September 15, 2009


Embracing humanness

Stevie Jay's Life is a work in progress
Don't go listen to Stevie Jay if you want demure talk about sex, less than X-rated language about relationships, or polite, unemotional monologues about anything else he cares to tell you about.
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  September 08, 2009

dirty list

A royal scam

TBTS' terrific Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Admit it — we are all a little perverse. How else to explain the difficulty, unless you are comatose, in not laughing heartily at Dirty Rotten Scoundrels , the tale of two con men plying their criminal trade on the French Riviera.
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  August 25, 2009

harvey list

Imagine that

2nd Story's Harvey is simply delightful.
Mister Rogers is dead. Long live Elwood P. Dowd!
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  August 18, 2009

Mixed and mismatched

Errors are still comical in the bucket
Oh those Elizabethans, those cutups, those bawdy scamps. If we had only William Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors to go by, we'd wonder how the Brits ever built an empire between all the misidentifications and panicked confusions.
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  August 18, 2009

The farce within

CTC'S Noises Off is a laff riot 
Farces have been keeping audiences slapping their knees ever since cavemen learned to trip into the fire on purpose. A case can be made that the most exquisitely funny farce ever devised is Michael Frayn's Noises Off .
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  August 11, 2009

hugging list

No direction home

Hugging the Shoulder spins its wheels
The intense Hugging the Shoulder , by Jerrod Bogard, is the latest play presented by Theater of Thought (through August 8), actor and director Amber Kelly's vehicle for boiling-pot relationship dramas in inventively appropriate settings.
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  August 04, 2009

Shakespeare for dummies

The Bard (abridged) at CTC
No, it's not sponsored by CliffsNotes. But The Complete Works William Shakespeare (Abridged) , as ably demonstrated by the Contemporary Theater Company (through August 14), shows that the bane of phys-ed majors can be more fun than a barrel of bodkins.
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  August 04, 2009

dog list

Three-ring circus

The Brown/Trinity Playwrights' seriously funny fare
This is the fifth season of the Brown/Trinity Playwrights Repertory Theater, and the three productions are quite a delightful array of comedies-in-the-works, all dealing with social survival. The plays being workshopped include an existential examination from a canine point of view.
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  July 29, 2009


Always Always Land

Theatre by The Sea’s Peter Pan soars
The much loved tale of Peter Pan gets a revival on Broadway at least every generation for good reason. Not just because it appeals to kids, which goes without saying, but because it gives grownups a respectable excuse to see it themselves with their own kids.
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  July 21, 2009

you can't list

Laugh to keep from crying

Timeless optimism in You Can't Take It With You
Rarely did a play arrive with better timing than You Can't Take It With You , the joyfully optimistic paean to the American spirit that earned its Pulitzer in 1936, when the country was licking the wounds of collective Depression.
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  July 15, 2009

Still feeling pretty

Timeless romance in West Side Story  
It's hard to not be charmed by a production of West Side Story that doesn't get in the way of its heartfelt, bittersweet romance. The current production by Center Stage, in West Kingston through July 26, not only lets the youthful idealism pour through, it delivers enjoyable song and dance.
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  July 15, 2009


The glory of Blaze

Sabrina shines at Theatre by the Sea's cabaret
Anyone who likes musicals has to love cabarets, which are Whitman's samplers of humming-in-the-shower favorites. So if you end up taking in one of the shows this summer at Theater by the Sea in Matunuck, you also might be interested in catching the post-show Bistro by the Sea Cabaret.
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  July 07, 2009

cirque list

Beyond the big top

Cirque du Soliel's acrobatic theater
Calling Cirque du Soleil a circus is like calling Cinderella's splendiferous carriage a pumpkin. They're starting their 25th anniversary tour at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence (July 2 through 5) and, compared to Cirque, an ordinary circus appears vegetative, indeed.
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  July 01, 2009

crazy list

Gershwin done right

Crazy For You's delightful musical mayhem
Crazy for You , the 1992 homage to the Gershwin brothers' 1930 musical Girl Crazy , is rockin' the rafters at Theatre By the Sea (through July 11). Building inspectors are going to have to check out the Matunuck summer barn theater for damage after every show, if the opening night musical mayhem is going to continue.
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  June 24, 2009

Use your delusion

RWU'S Fool for Love hits emotional high notes
Fool for Love is pure Sam Shepard, as the playwright packs in an explosive blend of myth and Eros, ambiguity and knee-in-the-gut certitude, boiling it all down into less than an hour of existential essence. The current rendition at Roger Williams University Barn Summer Playhouse will impress even demanding theatergoers with its emotional confidence and finesse.
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  June 23, 2009


The Ch-Ch-Ch-Change

Menopause The Musical at Trinity
If men had menopause, going postal would be the rule rather than the exception, and we'd have to get our mail from carrier pigeons.
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  June 16, 2009

children list

Numbed by Numbers

Children of the Dnipro  should show, not tell
Such a difficult task, bringing horrific historical events to theatrical life. Ironically, the more vast the horror, the more difficult the challenge. Imagine the full sweep of something as enormous as the Holocaust reduced to stage scale.
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  June 09, 2009
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