On Stage: Four Performances and a Remote Providence Children’s Film Festival

Shake off the mid-winter blues with engaging arts around the state


The performing arts are back in earnest. Sure, it’s tempting to spend every night in February scrolling through your Twitter feed. And yes, there’s still a pandemic afoot, and we all need to take some precautions. But there are plenty of exciting reasons to leave your den this month: provocative plays, a high-speed theater experiment, and a film festival that’ll have you heading south. So, throw on that coat and mask; soul-stirring evenings await.

Angélique Kidjo

Angélique Kidjo burst onto the world stage in the early 1990s, blending Pan-African musical styles and blowing away audiences with her powerful alto. On stage, the Beninese singer is a tectonic force, blasting through song after song of empowerment and celebration. Kidjo has collaborated with everyone from Herbie Hancock to Dave Matthews, and it’s no wonder that Kidjo has earned not one, not two, but four Grammy Awards in her epic career. She returns to Providence to perform at The VETS as a FirstWorks guest artist. Catch this one-night engagement in person and find out why this formidable songstress has been dubbed “Africa’s premiere diva.” February 13

An Octoroon

Nearly two centuries ago, Dion Boucicault wrote a melodrama called The Octoroon about the antebellum South, centering on slaves and slaveholders. The story faded into obscurity until MacArthur Fellow Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins reconceived it as An Octoroon, his postmodern exploration of race, history, and the nature of storytelling. Also, it’s shockingly funny. The Gamm Theatre, now in its 37th season, presents this award-winning sensation. January 27 - February 20

Gem of the Ocean

Playwright August Wilson left us one of the greatest legacies in theater history: the 10-play Pittsburgh Cycle, where each script represents a decade in the African-American experience. Gem of the Ocean is the saga’s origin story, beginning in the first years of the 20th century and introducing the mythical character of Aunt Esther. Discover the house that plays such a profound role in the cycle and take a soul-stirring journey into the “City of Bones.” Trinity Repertory Company presents a high-octane production, directed by Jude Sandy. February 24 - March 27

24-Hour Play Festival

At first, a 24-hour play festival seems impossible. How could you start with one writer, one director, and a handful of actors and then, only a day later, present a brand-new stage-play – much less five of them? Well, such festivals are actually quite popular, and you’d be amazed what hard-working thespians can turn out in such a short time. The Contemporary Theater Company will take up the challenge for a one-day performance – worth the 40-minute drive from PVD. February 5


Please note that events may require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test and mask-wearing regardless of vaccination status. Be sure to check each venue for updates.


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