2022 – the arts recover from the pandemic

By Don Fowler
Posted 1/3/23

Theatres reopened in 2022, most requiring masks and proof of vaccinations, but theatre and music lovers were finally able to get out of the house and see live performances.

People were able to …

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2022 – the arts recover from the pandemic


Theatres reopened in 2022, most requiring masks and proof of vaccinations, but theatre and music lovers were finally able to get out of the house and see live performances.

People were able to see movies on a big screen once again, although there weren’t an abundance of good ones. Thank the movie gods for Netflix.

Many restaurants reopened with precautions (keep your masks on until food and drinks appeared at your table). We noticed all new menus. Yikes. We also noticed all new prices.

New restaurants like the soul food sensation, Kin, opened downtown. An authentic and superb take-out Mediterranean restaurant, Enerjy, opened on the Warwick/Cranston line.

Trinity Rep was among the first to open its doors with a quirky play, “Tiny Little Things,” about all of us needing to show a bit more empathy, love, and hope. The right message at the right time.

Then came Gamm with “An Octoroon” an overwhelming and thought-provoking play.

“An Officer and a Gentleman,” kicked off PPAC’S ambitious season in February followed by a dazzling “My Fair Lady.”

In March, the community theaters were ready to turn the lights on, and Pawtucket’s Community Playhouse opened its 100th season.

Burbage came back with a funny and poignant play featuring five actresses, “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress.”

FirstWorks had to deal with strict immigration rules as it returned to Vets with a concert from the international supergroup, Amadou and Marian, appearing with the Blind Boys of Alabama. The premier arts group continued to provide high level entertainment for many community and school groups who had been denied the arts because of the pandemic.

The Art World was not overlooked as a Van Gogh exhibit, like something never seen before, opened at the Convention Center.

Summer Entertainment

Summer arrived, and Rhode Islanders were ready for dining outdoor and attending music festivals, and outdoor concerts.

Kicking off classical concerts was the 47th season of Music on the Hill, held on the lawn of the Clouds Hill Victorian House Museum.

Theatre-by-the-Sea also opened its barn doors in June and had an entertaining and well attended summer season. Their production of “Kinky Boots” was a big hit.

The 40th season of the Rhode Island International Film Festival brought some of the film showings outside and to the drive-in.

Summer ended, as it welcomed a record crowd to R.I.s greatest festival -- The Rhythm and Roots Labor Day Weekend Festival at Ninigret Park -- an event that almost didn’t happen, when founder Chuck Wentworth had to give it up for health reasons. Connecticut’s GoodWorks come to the rescue, working with Wentworth, and a glorious weekend of Cajun, zydeco and roots music was enjoyed by thousands.

Back to school. Back to work. And back to a full schedule of the arts, with theatres buzzing with activity, bands and singers booked, restaurants filling up and lots of entertainment events.

Trinity challenged us with “The Inheritance”, and gave us a more diverse “A Christmas Carol”>

FirstWorks entertained us with the Bill T. Jones dancers.

We lost Larry Rachcleff and Bramwell Tovey, the wonderfully talented leader of our fabulous RI Philharmonic but our wonderful orchestra continued to give us quality performances under acclaimed guest conductors and soloists.

Movies got better in December.

The year closed with Festival Ballet’s outstanding production of “The Nutcracker,” the best I’ve ever seen.

The scene is set for a banner year for the arts in Rhode Island in 2023.

They need our support!


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