By Kim Kalunian, WPRO Contributor
CULTURE: Hanukkah begins Saturday at sundown, but it’s still not confirmed whether or not the State House Menorah will have an official lighting, a tradition that’s been upheld on Smith Hill since the mid-1980’s. Hanukkah, also sometimes known as “The Festival of Lights,” is the Jewish faith’s eight-day celebration of the re-dedication of the Holy Temple.
ART: The RISD Holiday Art Sale is this Saturday, Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Rhode Island Convention Center. The annual Rhode Island School of Design’s holiday tradition boasts alumni work from the prestigious design school. The RISD art sale is the perfect place to get something for that friend or loved one who’s impossible to buy for; it’s got everything from jewelry and textiles to paintings and ceramics. Admission to the sale is $7, and all proceeds benefit RISD scholarships.
NEW VENUE: Ocean State Theatre Company , the former producing entity at Theatre by the Sea in Matunuck, opens their brand new theater on Jefferson Boulevard in Warwick tonight with the
ir premiere production of “The Winter Wonderettes.” The show centers on The Marvelous Wonderettes, four bubbly, female harmony singers who treat the audience to their favorite holiday tunes. Ocean State Theatre Company has not only succeeded in staging what promises to be a great show, they’ve converted a former garage into a beautiful, 409-seat theater in a matter of months.
PROFESSIONAL/ SEMI PRO THEATER: At the big venues, The TONY-Award winning musical “Memphis” opens tonight, playing PPAC (www.ppacri.com) this weekend only. “The How and the Why” continues at Trinity Repertory’s Dowling Theater while “A Christmas Carol” continues its annual run in the Chace Theater upstairs. The Sandra-Feinstein Gamm Theatre continues its production of the Mark Rothko biopic “Red,” and “Lost in Yonkers” continues its sold out run at 2nd Story Theatre (www.2ndstorytheatre.com)
COLLEGE AND COMMUNITY: At the smaller venues, Epic Theater Company will open Sarah Ruhl’s “Passion Play” that shines on a light on religion, theater, and politics spanning Elizabethan England, Nazi Germany, and the Reagan-era Midwest. Encore Repertory Company stages their holiday classic “A Christmas Carol” (which closes this weekend) at the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket . Brown University/Trinity Rep’s “Machinal,” a play about a woman pushing the boundaries of societal confines, will continue this weekend at the Pell Chafee Performance Center in Providence.
FOOD AND DRINK: This Saturday, Bottles Fine Wine in Providence begins a series of holiday fine wine and craft brew tastings at their Providence location. On Dec. 8 enjoy fine Italian wines from 3 to 7 p.m.; on Dec. 14 try craft beers from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m., and on Dec. 21 try Italian beers from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tastings are free!