2011-08-11 / News

August is full of shows at Theatre by the Sea

Ocean State Theatre Company will welcome the Hudson Vagabond Puppets with their presentation of two classic Beatrix Potter stories – “The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck” and “The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit” tomorrow – Friday, Aug. 12 – at 10 a.m. and noon.

The production is part of Theatre By The Sea’s 2011 Children’s Festival.

In the shows, giant puppets dance and act in narrated ballets with music by William Walton. “The Tale of Jemima Puddle- Duck” is about an absent-minded duck that takes flight on a fine spring day in search of a place to lay her eggs. She is impressed with a mysterious, handsome, foxywhiskered stranger who convinces her to lay her eggs in his shed. An honest collie and two rowdy foxhound puppies save the day.

In “The Story of A Fierce Bad Rabbit,” the audience gets involved with a chorus of cheers and boos as the Fierce Bad Rabbit and the Nice Gentle Rabbit argue over the ownership of a carrot.

Incorporated in 1980, the Hudson Vagabond Puppets create larger-than-life puppetry and mask programs designed to entertain children and their families. The performers are professional dancers and actors. Clad in black, the puppeteers borrow from the traditional Japanese Bunraku style of puppetry, becoming mere shadows of the enormous figures they bring to life. The Hudson Vagabond Puppets use several different methods to create and operate the characters of the story, which are all played by giant puppets.

Single tickets are $10.

The theatre will also welcome the five-time Tony Award-winning musical “The Drowsy Chaperone,” which will open on Wednesday, Aug. 17, at 8 p.m. at Theatre by the Sea.

The show begins when a die-hard musical fan decides to play his favorite cast album, a 1928 smash hit called “The Drowsy Chaperone” and the show magically bursts to life right in his apartment.

Audiences are immersed in the uproarious wedding day with a Broadway bride, a celebrity groom and, of course, a “drowsy” chaperone.

Lennie Watts, who previously appeared at Theatre by the Sea as Nicely Nicely Johnson in “Guys and Dolls,” returns in the lead role of Man in Chair. He will be joined by New York actress Happy McPartlin, who will portray the role of the drowsy chaperone. Broadway performer, director and choreographer Michael O’Steen will make his directorial and choreographic debut at the theatre and Aaron McAllister, who directed productions of “Man of La Mancha,” “Peter Pan,” “Evita” and “George M!,” returns as music director.

Rhode Island performers include Phyllis Lynn of Warwick as Mrs. Tottendale and Cranston native Ron Sarro as Feldzieg.

“The Drowsy Chaperone” will be presented at Theatre By The Sea from Aug. 17 to Sept. 4. Performances on Wednesday, Aug. 17, at 8 p.m., and Thursday, Aug. 18, at 2 and 8 p.m., cost $35.

Additional performances can be seen Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m.; Thursdays at 2 p.m.; Saturdays at 4:30 and 8:30 p.m.; and Sundays at 5 p.m. There will be special performances on Sunday, Aug. 21, at 3 and 8 p.m.

Tickets range from $39 to $54 for all performances.

Discount rates are available for groups of 20 or more by calling 782-3800. Tickets can be bought at the box office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or online at theatrebythesea.com. Theatre by the Sea is located on Cards Pond Road in Matunuck.

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