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Get Your Spring On

Your guide to music, arts and other can't miss events this spring in Rhode Island

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Rock Out at a Concert
Olivia Newton-John brings the glory of the ‘80s to Twin River in Lincoln on April 14, followed by disco legends The Pointer Sisters on April 21, Paul Anka on May 20 and Keith Sweat on May 26. 

The Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence goes country when Alan Jackson brings his Highway Country Tour to town on April 22, followed by Jason Aldean’s They Don’t Know Tour on May 18. 

East Greenwich’s Greenwich Odeum continues its streak of big-name performers with Rusted Root on April 27, Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone (Henry VIII himself) on April 28, and ‘70s singer/songwriter legend Todd Rundgren on May 14.

Sandywoods Center for the Arts in Tiverton will host a Pete Seeger Tribute on May 6, featuring accomplished Rhode Island musicans like John Fuzek, Ed McGuirl, Tom Perrotti and Cardboard Ox.

Fresh off his Grammy win, top-selling contemporary jazz musician Chris Botti plays at The Vets in Providence on May 7.

Multi-platinum country singer and songwriter Sara Evans comes to Woonsocket’s Stadium Theatre on May 20, performing hits like “A Little Bit Stronger” and “Slow Me Down” in a special acoustic performance.

Get a Taste of Delicious Food Events

From April 27-29, the Eat Drink RI Festival celebrates the delicious food in the Ocean State, from their highly anticipated Dinner by Dames, to the Truck Stop food truck event, to the Grand Tasting, featuring over 60 locally produced foods. 

At Savor the Story, fans of great food, great wine and great tales will gather at the Providence Public Library on April 28 for a fine dining event featuring Robert Sinskey Vineyards, Russell Morin Fine Catering and guest chef Maria Helm Sinskey.

Enjoy fresh-from-the-ocean shellfish at the Newport Waterfront Oyster Festival on May 19, where local restaurants and oyster farms will shuck up something delicious. 

Stage Some Cultural Appreciation at Plays and Musicals 
Trinity Repertory Company in Providence presents two very different tales this month: Faithful Cheaters, from April 20-May 21, a farce about a creative solution to infidelity; and an original translation by Artistic Director Curt Columbus of Like Sheep to Water, or Fuente Ovejuna, a play by one of Spain’s preeminent playwrights about Ferdinand and Isabella, from May 11-June 11. 

Warren’s 2nd Story Theatre asks the question “What is art?” with their staging of Art from April 21-May 21, which centers on a white-on-white painting, differences of opinion and the nature of friendship. From May 5-28, The Best of Everything is a stage adaptation of Rona Jaffe’s mid-century work on up-and-comers at a Manhattan publishing house.

Contemporary Theater Company
 in Wakefield presents two counterpoints on difficult human experiences, Dirt by Bryony Lavery and The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl, in alternating performances from April 21-May 14.

In Westerly, Granite Theatre’s Taking Sides takes place in the American Zone of Berlin in 1946, and is about the gray area between art and politics, running from April 21-May 13. 

The cross-dressing musical caper that is Victor/Victoria takes the stage at Warwick’s Ocean State Theatre Company from April 26-May 21. 

Pawtucket’s Gamm Theatre stages King Elizabeth from April 27-May 28, a new version of Friedrich Schiller’s classic Mary Stuart, about the power struggle between Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots. 

Providence Performing Arts Center brings the new classic about murder and fame, Chicago, from May 2-7, and Matilda: The Musical, based on the Roald Dahl book about a little girl with extraordinary powers, from May 17-21.

Young Frankenstein, The Musical, the stage adaptation of Mel Brooks’ legendary film, is alive at the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket from May 5-7.

Four friends catch up on 15 years of friendship over golf during The Foursome, playing at Newport Playhouse through May 13. 

Go Highbrow with Fine Arts 
The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra is celebrating Conductor Larry Rachleff’s 21 seasons with his farewell performance of works by Debussy, Canteloube and Strauss on May 6 at The Vets in Providence.

Festival Ballet Providence will cast an enchantment over the crowd when they present Cinderella from May 12-14 at The Vets. 

The Chorus of Westerly Symphonic Series presents Johann Sebastian Bach’s Mass in B Minor on May 21, conducted by Andrew Howell, at Westerly’s Kent Performance Hall.

Get on the art bus on the third Thursday of every month for Gallery Night Providence, which takes patrons around the city to 20 artful destinations. 

Add Variety (Shows) to Your Life 
Every Friday night, The Contemporary Theater Company in Wakefield hosts the long-running audience favorite Micetro Improv, an on-the-spot mix of short scenes and songs. 

In downtown Providence, the always eclectic performance space Aurora has two out-of-the-box shows in April: The Sweet Little Variety Show, a mix of music and sketch performances, happens on April 13, and burlesque show Aurora, After Dark is on April 16. 

Vaud and the Villians, a 19-piece New Orleans-style orchestra and cabaret show that they call a “genre-bending spectacle” of rock, jazz and R&B with everything from musical washboards to dancing girls, will take the stage at Woonsocket’s Stadium Theatre on April 22. 

On April 29-30, Cher, Bette Midler, Elton John and more will all take the stage at West Kingston’s Courthouse Center for the Arts when The Edwards Twins stage their uncanny, Vegas-style celebrity impersonation act. 

Laugh Out Loud at Comedy and Spoken Word Performances 
On April 14th, Women Behind Barz brings together three of Rhode Island’s funniest female comediennes, Doreen Collins, Colleen Galvin and Mary Ellen Rinaldi, for another round of their sellout show at Woonsocket’s Stadium Theatre.

On April 20, John Valby will bring his unique blend of adults-only songs and jokes to East Providence’s Comedy Connection. On April 21, WWE legend Hacksaw Jim Duggan will make a special appearance at the club.

At AC2, An Intimate Evening with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen, the two cultural luminaries will share “deep talk and shallow tales,” April 29 at PPAC

The Greenwich Odeum Comedy Series presents Joe DeVito and Marion Grodin on April 29, and Saturday Night Live alum Jim Breuer on May 13.

Get Some Air at Outdoor Events 
Over 20,000 rubber ducks will hit the Pawcatuck River in Westerly for the 19th annual Pawcatuck River Duck Race on April 29. There are kids’ games, rides, food and the main event, which could win you a trip for four to Disney World or $2,500 in cash. 

On April 30, runners will Get Gored For Good, when members of the Providence Roller Derby stage a “running of the bulls” 5k through the streets of Providence, as a fundraiser for Amos House.

The PVD Artisans Market starts up again for the season on May 6, when artists, artisans and makers set up their wares in Lippitt Park.

From May 12-14, Misquamicut Springfest kicks off beach season with three days of rides, games, food and fun, including a performance by Christopher Cross. 

The Tiverton Four Corners Nestival! is a family-friendly art and artisan marketplace on the grounds of the Tiverton Four Corners meetinghouse, happening from May 13-14.

At the Hope Street Spring Block Party in Providence on May 20, there will be live music, a beer garden, food trucks, kids’ activities and more - the annual party always has a few surprises. 

The Rhode Island Air Show returns to Quonset Point from May 20-21, featuring the Canadian Snowbirds, the SOCOM Parachute Team, a Combined Arms Demonstration and more.

The Virtu Outdoor Art Festival takes over Westerly’s Wilcox Park for two days of visual and performing arts, from May 27-28.

Channel Rhode Island’s Heritage at Historical Events
Coventry’s Nathanael Greene Homestead is hosting a Revolutionary War Reenactment on May 6-7, complete with Continental and British camps, a rifle and cannon demonstration, tours of the 1770 home and two reenacted battles. 

On May 20, Coggeshall Farm in Bristol brings back their annual Wool and Fiber Festival, a celebration of 18th-century arts and crafts that also features live animals, uniqely historic foods and early American fun.