Opened in 1924, Park Theatre was a major hub of Cranston's cultural activity for nearly 80 years. But in 2002, the projectors went dark, the doors were closed and locked, and the silver screens were melted down for tableware. That closure was not to last, however. In 2009, Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung oversaw the grand re-opening as the theater was newly equipped with a deeper stage for live performances, about 1,000 plush red seats, and the new Stage Door Restaurant and Lounge.
It’s the making of a hit movie. Young Jeff Allen of Providence—untrained in the world of movement, but driven by desire—starts attending social dances. It's there he learns dances such as the jitterbug, cha-cha, and lindy, and develops a taste for competition. Soon, he's winning every dance contest he enters, whether the genre is disco, ballroom, or argentine tango.
Channeling his penchant for victory into a teaching career, the self-taught hoofer transformed into an acclaimed teacher and coach, racking up more than 30 National Dance Council of America Top Teacher Awards, and holding membership credentials with the North American Dance Teachers Association. At his studio, he keeps a packed schedule, teaching west coast swing dancing, mambo, and even Dancing Dirty–style moves. For those who can't make their ways to Cranston, Jeff has produced a slew of instructional books and DVDs, including The Complete Idiots' Guide to Ballroom Dancing and The Complete Guide to Slow Dancing.
In 2006, friends Mike and Courtney—independent researcher for the historical society and ghost tour guide, respectively—drew up a unique business plan to spook Providence locals and tourists alike with fact-based ghost tours. Their combined interests in the paranormal and knack for research led them to pillage the minds of staff members and records at the Providence Historical Society, the public library, and the Rhode Island State Archives for accounts of abnormal and violent events. They dug through old files and microforms of oft-forgotten morbid events—including murders, suicides, and fires—gathering facts to present objective stories about real people. Once they’d crammed their skeptical minds with grim and gloomy facts, the tours were ready to begin. Today, these truthful and skeptical accounts of paranormal activity chill the spines of tourists and terrified library books as guides lead walking tours, lit by lantern, through centuries-old Providence streets. Since its inception, Providence Ghost Tour has been counted among TripAdvisor's top 10 ghost tours in America, and was featured on an overnight paranormal investigation with Syfy's Ghost Hunters frontmen, Brian Harnois and Keith Johnson.
Inside the historic Lederer Theater Center, which was originally constructed in 1917, the Trinity Repertory Company stages exciting presentations in two different theaters. The musical Camelot will be showing at the Chace Theater, which can accommodate more than 520 attendees and four prize-winning racehorses. A stellar cast, featuring Stephen Thorne as King Arthur and Rebecca Gibel as Guenevere, graces the stage for two hours and 40 minutes to reenact the medieval tale of how the debonair Lancelot learns to speak remedial French so he can work in a Parisian bread factory. A Tony Award–winning theater, the Trinity Repertory Company keeps audiences chuckling, sobbing, and staring in rapturous joy with delightful performances. Call ahead to reserve your seat spot.
Director and founder of JMK Entertainment, Jennifer Kennedy has been performing and teaching her dance moves for more than three decades, and she channels her sensual moves from experience performing in cabarets aboard Virgin Islands cruise ships. JMK's burlesque performers showcase their skills and sense of fun in events that feature variety acts, cabaret performers, guest artists, and guest poles. In addition to lively performances, she and her instructors patrol a studio of 20 poles, teaching basic to advanced pole-fitness classes.
During dance lessons as a child, Jean DeLuca took notes. While most students just memorized the choreography, DeLuca also memorized the style of her instructors. She noticed their teaching methods stayed the same no matter who they interacted with. DeLuca takes a different approach at her studio, Jean DeLuca Dance Studio. She and her staff believe that everyone learns a different way, so they take the time to get to know each student in order to make their lessons both effective and fun. Children as young as 2 years old learn dance steps in beginning ballet and tap classes, and older students educate their feet in combination classes that cover jazz, hip-hop, and other disciplines.