An 'entertaining' 45 years: Remembering the Eighties


The column was called “What’s Doing This Weekend” and included “Potpourri,” a listing of arts and entertainment activities, which later became “In Brief” and then “Leisure/Calendar.”

I was introduced to opera thanks to the Providence Opera Theatre’s production of “Madame Butterfly,” starring Marguerite Ruffino-Connor, at the Ocean State Performing Arts Center.

Alvaro Cassuto was still on the podium as the R.I. Philharmonic’s 34th season began.

Admission to the Rocky Hill Fair was $3.50 for adults and 50 cents for kids, and featured a wrestling show and horse show most years.

Frankie Valli played the Warwick Musical Theatre, long before “Jersey Boys” was conceived.

It was a decade of great movies, including “E.T.”, “Tootsie,” “On Golden Pond,” “Sophie’s Choice,” “Kramer vs. Kramer,” “Back to the Future,” “Aliens,” “Rain Man,” “Platoon” and one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen, “A Fish Called Wanda” with John Cleese.

J. Lynn Singleton became the executive director of PPAC, a position he still holds successfully today, bringing the best of Broadway to Rhode Island.

Showcase Warwick opened.

Trinity Rep won a Tony Award.

“First Night,” a great new Rhode Island tradition, began on Dec. 31, 1986.

I started attending the Cajun and Bluegrass Festival on Labor Day weekend in 1987, and haven’t missed at Labor Day weekend festival until the pandemic canceled this year’s renamed Rhythm & Roots Festival.

Rhode Island wasn’t ready for new Trinity director Anne Bogart, who brought her avante garde style to the Ocean State.


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