History Illuminated

(Newport This Week)

The Newport Opera House & Performing Arts Center celebrated the history and future of Washington Square on Friday, May 5 with an event for supporters, entitled “A Theater Happening in Washington Square!” The happening drew more than 350 attendees who enjoyed a moveable feast of music, dance and theater in the historic buildings surrounding the square.

Newport Opera House Theater and Performing Arts Center - Mary and Peter Jenkins
Mary and Peter Jenkins

Washington Square has seen a lot in 300 years, but nothing quite like last week, as Andalucían flamenco reverberated through the Old Colony House (1739), the location of Rhode Island’s public reading of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It was a night unlike any other in Washington Square’s remarkable history, with performances hosted in its time-honored buildings. BankNewport (built in 1929) kicked with a dynamic jazz duo, Karol Richardson Boutique (1930) played host to a classical string trio, Jane Pickens Theater (1834) delighted with a contemporary theater staging and the Opera House Theater itself (1867), as part of our educational mission, highlighted talented young emerging artists.

Newport Opera House Theater and Performing Arts Center - Kelly and Clint Clemens
Kelly and Clint Clemens

The performances were followed by festivities in the Happening Tent in Eisenhower Park and remarks by Newport Mayor Harry Winthrop, Washington Square Advisory Commission Chair Lilly Dick and Opera House Theater Executive Director Brenda Nienhouse. As a “kiss goodnight,” the Opera House Theater held a grand lightshow finale for the public, which illuminated the entirety of the square and its surrounding buildings.

“We had a tremendous night and we thank everyone for their continued support!” said Opera House Theater Board of Directors Chairperson Alison Vareika.

“The evening was an example of the world-class talent that will once again grace the Opera House Theater’s stage,” said Nienhouse. “It was a first-class event.”

We look forward to opening in 2018, in the year of the Opera House Theater’s 150th anniversary.

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