Theater

S. J. Perelman

S. J. Perelman, 1904-1979, was born in Brooklyn, NY, but moved to Smith Hill in Providence at an early age. Perelman attended Classical High School and matriculated at Brown University, but did not graduate. However, he did receive an honorary Doctorate in 1965 from this “Institution on the Hill.” Perelman wrote several screen stories for …

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Isabelle Florence Ahearn O’Neill

Isabelle Florence Ahearn O’Neill, 1880-1975, stage and silent-film actress and suffragette. She was the state’s first female legislator, elected to the House in 1922. She also served as deputy Democratic floor leader in the Senate. Isabelle Florence Ahearn O’Neill, 1880-1975, stage and silent-film actress and suffragette. She was the state’s first female legislator, elected to …

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Anthony Quinn

Anthony Quinn was born in Chihuahua, Mexico in April 1915 during the Mexican Revolution to a Mexican-Indian mother, Manuela Oaxaca, and a half-Irish father, Francesco, or Frank, whose father had immigrated from Cork, Ireland to work for the Union Pacific Railroad. When Anthony was only eight months old, his mother hid him in a coal …

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Ruth Buzzi

Ruth Buzzi was born on July 24, 1936 in Westerly, Rhode Island to Rena Pauline and Angelo Peter Buzzi, the latter a renowned stone sculptor associated with Westerly famed granite industry. Her father owned Buzzi Memorials. Known for her comedy routines on the 1960s variety show Rowan & Martin Laugh In (1967), Ruth Buzzi studied …

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Adrian Hall

Adrian Hall, a native of Texas who made his home in Providence, was the renowned former Artistic Director of Trinity Repertory Company, one of the country’s most recognized resident theaters. He is credited with the development of the internationally acclaimed theater group into a national model for resident theaters. His vision was principle to the …

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Van Johnson

Van Johnson, 1916-2008, a native of Newport and graduate of Rogers High School tried selling real estate for his dad, but after a year he departed for New York, where he eventually landed a part in a Broadway musical. After his role in “Pal Joey”, he was signed to a Hollywood contract by an MGM …

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Kenneth R Dooley

Kenneth R. Dooley was born in Providence in 1931. He graduated from LaSalle Academy and Providence College (Class of 1959). He spent a career in publishing and film production with the media giant Prentice Hall in New Jersey as an executive vice president of the Bureau of Business Practice (1960-1977). He oversaw 600 employees and …

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Ruth Hussey (Longenecker)

Ruth Hussey of Providence became a Hollywood movie star and accomplished supporting actress after her graduation from Pembroke College. Miss Hussey began her theatrical career on the Broadway stage where she won acclaim for her performances in “State of the Union”, “Goodbye Mr. Fancy”, and “Desk Set”. She also appeared in more than 30 films …

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Eugene Lee

“Nothing makes me happier than an impossible space and an impossible project,” says renowned theater set designer Eugene Lee. When Lee designs a set, he will often reconfigure the theatre, repositioning exits, technical booths, even walls, to accommodate the play.  His audiences frequently find themselves inside, on top of, or under sets that don’t stay …

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Eddie Dowling

Eddie Dowling, 1889-1976, was born in Woonsocket as Joseph Nelson Goucher. As the fourteenth of seventeen children, he used his Irish mother Bridgette’s maiden name of Dowling during a brilliant Broadway career as actor, composer, producer and Pulitizer Prize-winning playwright. Dowling’s work helped to bring the American stage to a new level of aesthetic maturity …

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George M. Cohan

George Michael Cohan was born in Fox Point, Providence on July 3, 1878 to Irish-Catholic parents. Cohan joined his parents and sister in a vaudeville act an an early age. Cohan became one of the leading Tin Pan Alley songwriters, publishing upwards of 300 original songs. He also became the most successful theatrical producer of …

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Edwin G. O’Connor

The late Edwin G. O’Connor, a Providence native and former Woonsocket resident, was a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist whose works included The Last Hurrah, The Edge of Sadness, for which he received the Pulizer; and “All in the Family.” A multi-talented individual, he was also a playwright, creating I Was Daning and Traveler for Brazil for …

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James H. Woods

James H. Woods formerly of Warwick, now living in Los Angeles, is a multi-award winning stage and screen actor who has had an extraordinary career. An extremely versatile performer he has excelled across a wide spectrum of acting roles in major movie, television and theater productions. His honored performances in Ghosts of Mississippi and Salvador …

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Burton L. “Buster” Bonoff

Burton “Buster” Bonoff of Phoenix, Arizona and West Warwick was a legendary entertainment entrepreneur who founded the famed Warwick Musical Theatre (WMT), in Warwick, R.I. in 1955. He also served as its general manager and as a promoter of major entertainment talent in Rhode Island and elsewhere for over forty years. Nationally prominent in his …

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Edward M. Fay

Edward M. Fay was a well known local and national theatrical impresario, musician and band leader. He was a friend of George M. Cohan (born in Providence in 1878 and composer of the famous songs Over There, Give My Regards to Broadway and You’re a Grand Old Flag). Fay was also closely associated with Eddie Dowling (born Joseph Nelson …

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Michael E. Renzi

Mike Renzi, a master American pianist, arranger, and musical director, was raised in Providence and started piano lessons at the age of eight; the style was classical. Soon he added popular music in the style known as “the American songbook,” consisting of the compositions of such artists as George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Johnny Mercer. …

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