On a typical evening by the sea, you might hear waves crashing loudly on the shore, or the dune grass rustling wildly in the wind. You might hear a distant foghorn or the rattling of rocks tumbling over one another as they are pushed and pulled in the water’s ebb and flow…
But what if you heard the stamping feet of exuberant actors captivating their audiences on an old wooden stage? Bellows of audience laughter echoing throughout a post-and-beam ceiling? Or a sax player hitting a high note from a mysterious little room under the stairs, like that troll you swear hid under your childhood bed despite the fact he never showed his face…
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Theatre By The Sea!
This stunning historical venue is located in Matunuck, Rhode Island right by the beaches. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Theatre by the Sea was originally a summer camp for girls in the 1920′s. When the depression hit, the owner converted the barn into a 300-seat theater in an effort to create jobs. Thus, Theatre By The Sea was founded in 1933. Over the decades, it has featured incredible talent, including stars Judy Holliday, Groucho Marx and Marlon Brando. While the theater has changed hands several times over its long history, the current owner since 2007, savvy performance venue entrepreneur Bill Hanney, has made a significant commitment to continuing this important piece of Rhode Island history.
I was recently invited to a private preview performance of one of Theatre By The Sea’s incredible summer acts, courtesy of local print house Meridian Printing*. As a top supporting donor to Theatre By The Sea, Meridian hosts a preview night every year. This year it was the very funny and touching 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. I am no theater buff but suffice to say that if the deafening audience laughter and cheers are any indication, you must see this incredibly talented cast and script in action.
The hilarious and incredibly talented "Spelling Bee" cast
“This is better than some shows I’ve seen on Broadway,” said one awe-struck patron in the row behind me. It’s true. Theatre By The Sea’s production staff and cast come with extensive backgrounds in creating award-winning national productions.
If the performance itself weren’t enough, this gem of a property is truly a treasure to behold. From the dazzling landscaped grounds to the quaint little box office window, it’s an experience in and of itself just to sit on the patio at sunset, sip a cold beverage from the gazebo bar, and enjoy time with friends and family.
How to Get There:
Theatre By The Sea
364 Cards Pond Road
Matunuck, RI 02879
Take Route 1 to Matunuck Beach Rd (NOT East Matunuck Beach exit). Follow to Cards Pond Rd. then take a right. Theatre By The Sea is 1/2 mile down on the left. Parking is free.
2011 Summer Line-Up:
- The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (June 3 – June 19)
- Man of La Mancha (June 24 – July 16)
- Hairspray (July 22 – August 14)
- The Drowsy Chaperone (August 19 – September 4)
- and several children’s festival performances
Pre- and Post- Show Food & Entertainment:
- Bistro By The Sea: This beautiful restaurant is attached to the Theatre By The Sea and is open on performance nights both before and after the show (check out the post-show cabaret!)
- Matunuck Oyster Bar: Located just a 10-minute drive from the theater, this local favorite receives raves for its “farm to table” seafood and shellfish.
- The Ocean Mist:Another local icon, the Ocean Mist is a casual ocean-front pub offering a wide selection of beers, standard pub faire, and live entertainment.
- Matunuck Beach
- East Matunuck Beach
- South Kingstown Town Beach
- Moonstone Beach
All tickets on sale now!
Visit www.theatrebythesea.com or call (401) 782-TKTS
Enjoy the Show!
*Meridian Printing is a full-service printing company located in East Greenwich, RI. Specializing in art prints, special edition books, annual reports, corporate brochures and more, Meridian is one of the highest quality print houses in New England, if not the nation. http://www.meridianprinting.com While I have done business with Meridian, I have no direct affiliation.