Newport Opera House Theater and Performing Arts Center to honor Ronald Lee Fleming

(News Release)

Three nationally renowned performing artists will join in support of theater restoration project and tribute to Newport leader and patron of arts

NEWPORT, RI:  On Friday, November 18th, the Newport Opera House Theater and Performing Arts Center will honor Ronald Lee Fleming for his contributions to the historic and cultural landscape of Newport – especially to the Opera House Theater restoration.  The “Beyond the Velvet Rope” reception to honor Mr. Fleming will be held at the Clarke Cooke House SkyBar on Bannisters Wharf in Newport from 6:00 to 8:30 pm on Friday, November 18th.   Three nationally renowned performing artists will join supporters of the Opera House Theater restoration in honoring Mr. Fleming and his work.

Ronald Lee Fleming has been an avid supporter of the Opera House Theater restoration for the past 10 years. In 2007, Mr. Fleming hosted the initial gathering to kick off the Opera House Cornerstone Campaign at his Newport residence, Bellevue House, to introduce the theater restoration project to potential donors and supporters in the Newport community. In 2015 Mr. Fleming opened his home for the inaugural meeting of the 34 member Opera House Ambassadors Cabinet around the Bellevue House dining table to inspire participation in the “Setting the Stage” Capital Campaign to fund the construction project to turn the 1867 Opera House Theater building into a 21st Century Performing Arts Center, while preserving the theater’s historic details and character.

The Opera House Theater and Performing Arts Center will honor Mr. Fleming for his strategic support over the years, and for his leadership in personal philanthropy to sponsor the Fleming Family Gardens for the Opera House Theater Rooftop Atrium and Terrace.

Amongst the guests supporting the Opera House Theater Restoration and paying tribute to Mr. Fleming will be Tony Award Nominee Robert Fairchild and his wife Tiler Peck, both Principal Dancers of the New York City Ballet.  Fairchild is best known recently for his starring role in the Tony Award Winning production of “An American in Paris” on Broadway, where he received the 2015 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical and a 2015 Theatre World Award, and he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical.

Tiler Peck made her Broadway debut as Gracie Shinn in Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man” at the age of 11 and has had the honor of performing for President Obama at the 2012 and 2014 Kennedy Center Honors.  Most recently, she played the title role in Susan Stroman’s newest musical “Little Dancer” at the Kennedy Center and was seen on Broadway as Ivy Smith in the Tony Nominated “On The Town”.

Renowned violin soloist, Gil Morgenstern will perform a special piece in honor of Mr. Fleming. Acclaimed for his artistry and technical brilliance, Gil Morgenstern has performed in the world’s great concert halls and now serves as artistic director of Reflections Series International where Morgenstern creates original programs combining music, dance, visual art, poetry and prose in ways that invite the audience to reflect on the relationships between works of art, and to reflect anew on universal themes.

For further information about the “Beyond the Velvet Rope” reception to honor Ronald Lee Fleming, and to purchase tickets, please contact the Opera House Theater office at 1-401-619-4599.

(Bios and Additional Information on the Performing Artists can be found at the links below:

Robert Fairchild  — www.nycballet.com/Dancers/Dancers-Bios/Robert-Fairchild.aspx

Tiler Peck  — www.nycballet.com/Dancers/Dancers-Bios/Tiler-Peck.aspx

Gil Morgenstern  — www.gilmorgenstern.com/

Biographical Information on Ronald Lee Fleming Ronald Lee Fleming is an author, city planner, designer, gardener, preservationist, public art advocate, world traveler, and trustee. Ron Fleming graduated with honors from Pomona College where his family had gone before him, and has spent most of his life in Cambridge after getting his graduate degree at Harvard.  Following graduate school, he served as an intelligence officer in Vietnam, where his experience during the Tet offensive was documented by war correspondent Peter Arnett in his book Live from the Battlefield From Vietnam to Baghdad.

In 2005, Washington based Partners for Livable Communities honored Mr. Fleming with a lifetime achievement award, calling him a “Renaissance Man.”  Mr. Fleming was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of City Planners in 2008 because of his pioneering Main Street revitalization projects in New England towns and for his advancement of “placemaking” projects which he articulated in a series of books, including his The Art of Placemaking: Interpreting Community Through Public Art and Urban Design (Merrill 2007).

Fleming’s early “main Street” projects were some of the first in the nation and had a long-term impact on the New England communities in which they were implemented. As a designer, he developed with artists and artisans a series of placemaking commissions which connect people to the historical and emotional associations that enrich the meaning of a place.  As the founding chairman of the Cambridge Arts Council, he made the initial contacts with the Department of Transportation that resulted in the innovative “Arts on the Line” program which generated more than a million dollars for public art projects in four MBTA Red Line stations, and became a national model.

The Massachusetts Historical Society nominated his trilogy, The Power of Place in 1982, for a Pulitzer Prize.  The book focused on the proprietorship involved in conserving building facades, caring for public space, and utilizing placemaking elements of urban design, street furniture, and public art.  His most impressive project was in Radnor township, PA where he recruited sculptor William Reimann to create cairns and Stonehenge-like rings and markers to re-imagine the Welsh landscape of the original settlers along a highway corridor. It was part of an exhibit on innovative urban design at the National Building Museum.

Mr. Fleming has been a trustee of many organization related to preservation and the quality of the built environment, including Historic New England, the US Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, the Mass. Horticultural Society, The Preservation Society of Newport County, the Royal Oak Foundation, The Boston Museum, and Chairman of Scenic America in Washington, DC.

In 1999, Mr. Fleming purchased and began restoring Bellevue House, a federal revival Newport “cottage,” designed by Ogden Codman, Jr.  Over the years he has “re-imaged” the gardens with allees of trees, architectural follies, ornamental pools, a greenhouse, sculptures carved from the remnant trunks of ancient beech trees, and a library to house his collection of garden and urban design publications and histories of cities and towns. Bellevue House has won national recognition and has been the scene of many Newport charitable events over the years.  Mr. Fleming  is the founding force in Newport for quietly insuring the planting of 600,000 daffodils at the entries of the city and for underwriting the historic markers on Bellevue Avenue and along the Cliff Walk.

Ron Fleming has been an avid supporter of the Opera House Theater restoration project in Newport’s historic Washington Square, and is a lead donor and sponsor of the gardens which will enliven the Opera House Rooftop Atrium and Terrace which overlooks Washington Square, the surrounding historic neighborhoods, Newport harbor and the Pell Bridge.