Friday, June 18, 2010
We want to thank our friends at Rhode Island public television for their continued support of the movie. And thank you for watching!
Friday, April 23, 2010
COURTESY THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL
2 R.I.-made movies in line for N.E. Emmys
01:00 AM EDT on Friday, April 23, 2010
By Michael Janusonis
Journal Arts Writer
Two Rhode Island-made films are vying for New England Emmy awards.
“THE TENT: Life in the Round,” a fond remembrance of the Warwick Musical Theatre by director Brian Jones, was nominated in the 33rd annual Emmy awards in the Arts/Entertainment Program category. It aired on WJAR Channel 10.
Director David Bettencourt’s “ON THE LAKE: Life and Love in a Distant Place,” about tuberculosis patients who were treated at the Zambarano Hospital in Pascoag in the early years of the 20th century, has been nominated for best documentary. It was broadcast by WSBE Channel 36, Rhode Island’s Public Broadcasting station.
Bettencourt said, “Independent filmmaking can be a challenge, but a nomination like this makes it all worthwhile. This recognizes the creative vision that is the heart of our work.”
An equally enthusiastic Larry Bonoff, who produced “THE TENT” as a tribute to his parents who ran the summer theater from 1955 to 1999, said, “While a win would be amazing, this is a humbling and unexpected recognition worthy of the old cliché: it is simply an honor to be nominated.”
Winners will be announced at a May 22 ceremony at Patriot Place in Foxboro, Mass.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Friday, April 2, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Friday, January 1, 2010
Friday, November 27, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
I hope to have these new limited-edition DVDs in the stores soon so stay tuned to see how you can get your copy, the perfect complement to the theatrical version already available in Benny's stores now or online (see link to the right).
Thanks for your continued support of our film!
Monday, October 26, 2009
Thanks very much!
Monday, September 28, 2009
URI Theatre to Screen THE TENT: Life in the Round
KINGSTON, RI – September 23, 2009 – The University of Rhode Island Department of Theatre will screen the documentary, THE TENT: Life in the Round Thursday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. in Room 271 of the Chafee Social Science Center, 10 Chafee Road, Kingston. The 90-minute documentary chronicles the legacy of the Warwick Musical Theatre from inception in 1955 to its final curtain call in 1999. Suggested donations for the evening are $10 for the general public and $5 for students. All proceeds will benefit the Bonoff Theatre Fund, which will provide scholarships for theatre students.
THE TENT: Life in the Round was directed, written and co-produced by Washington, D.C. filmmaker Brian Jones. Jones used archival footage from the Rhode Island Historical Society, local TV stations, and photos from the Larry Bonoff Collection in combination with celebrity interviews featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, Englebert Humperdink, Carrot Top, Howie Mandel, Vince Gill, and Wynonna Judd. The documentary is narrated by WJAR-10 Patrice Wood and edited by Emmy-winning filmmaker Jim Karpeichik.
Viewers will enjoy footage of Howie Mandel when he realizes he is sharing the stage with a large moth. Hear local comedian Charlie Hall recall a phone call during his birthday party one evening from a panic-stricken Larry Bonoff who begged him (with the promise that he would buy them all dinner afterward) to be the last-minute replacement for Jerry Seinfeld’s opening act who didn’t show. Discover why Patti LaBelle left in a huff after her performance.
Rhode Islanders share their memories of the “Tent.” For example, Gov. and Mrs. Donald Carcieri fondly recall their first date at the “tent.” For additional information or directions, call 401.874.5921 or 401.874-5922.
Media Contact: Bonnie Bosworth, 401-874-5922
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Pawtucket Film Festival, Something for Everyone
01:00 AM EDT on Thursday, September 3, 2009
By Michael Janusonis
Journal Arts Writer
Most events will take place at the Blackstone Valley Visitor Center Theatre at 175 Main St., but Friday’s screening of the 1920s-era Man With a Movie Camera, accompanied by the renowned Alloy Orchestra, will be at the William E. Tolman Senior High School Auditorium at 150 Exchange St. because it is expected to pull in a large crowd.
Friday’s show at Tolman, which begins at 7 p.m., will open with a performance by the Alloy Orchestra’s Roger Miller, who also is a singer, guitarist and keyboardist and who also performs with the groups Mission to Burma and The Binary System. The entire Alloy Orchestra (which actually consists of only two other members) will then play for Soviet director Dziga Vertov’s experimental Man With a Movie Camera, which is billed as a day-in-the-life portrait of a city from dawn to dusk. The film grew out of Vertov’s belief that the true goal of cinema should be to present life as it is lived, but although it is supposed to reflect life in a single city, he actually shot footage in Moscow, Kiev and Odessa, emphasizing buildings and machinery.
The Alloy Orchestra works with an assemblage of peculiar objects pulled from what they call a “rack of junk,” plus electronic synthesizers to thrash and grind their original musical score. So far this year they have accompanied Man With a Movie Camera at screenings in Baltimore, New York City, Washington, D.C., and St. Petersburg, Russia.
The Pawtucket Film Festival, which is part of the broader ongoing Pawtucket Arts Festival, continues Saturday with a 12:30 p.m. program at the Blackstone Valley Visitor Center Theatre that seems designed to bring together two very different groups. On stage, Hope Roth will sing her melancholy and deeply personal songs of loneliness and heartbreak, followed by an interactive video folk art presentation by Jacqueline Schnabel that is designed to appeal to children.
In this portion of the program kids will choose stories, create characters out of recycled materials, rehearse and star in a video folk art film. Several movies will be made; at the end they will be turned into a DVD that the children can take home. It is suggested that participants bring recyclable material with them, such as cereal boxes, plastic, cardboard and old magazines that can be used to make characters for the video folk art films.
At 6:30 p.m. Saturday the tone will shift with a performance by Preacher Jack, who will play boogie-woogie piano and tell “honky-tonk” tales. He will be followed on screen by Melissa Lohman’s documentary short Rooftop Bees, about a man who maintains three beehives on his Brooklyn rooftop, and the feature film Frozen River, for which Melissa Leo was nominated for a best actress Academy Award earlier this year. In Frozen River she plays a struggling abandoned wife and mother who joins forces with a Mohawk Indian woman to smuggle illegal immigrants in from Canada across the frozen St. Lawrence River.
On Sunday Jeremy Lyons, a New Orleans singer-guitarist who has relocated to Massachusetts, will perform on the Blackstone stage at 12:30 p.m., followed on screen by director Gita Pullapilly’s feature-length documentary The Way We Get By, about three senior citizens who gather every day at a small airport to thank American soldiers who are departing for and returning from Iraq. As it follows the three, who are struggling with their own futures, the film turns into a meditation on aging, loneliness, war and mortality.
At 6:30 p.m. Sunday singer-kazoo player Ed “Moose” Savage will deliver his one-of-a-kind cult songs, such as “Bread Is Dangerous,” “Clove Cigarettes” and “Rrrats.” He will be followed on screen by director Elika Portnoy’s Tricks of Love feature film in which a fashion photographer accepts a bet that he can transform any girl into a fashion model and sets out to remake a fishmonger into a knockout.
The film festival will continue the following weekend with programs that include Bronx Princess at 7 p.m. Sept. 11, about a headstrong young woman who follows her father to Africa where he is a tribal chief, and THE TENT: Life in the Round, the story of the Warwick Musical Theatre, which goes on screen at 12:30 p.m. Sept. 13.
Tickets for all programs are $10 at the door.
We can't say 'thank you' enough but we will try - thanks again!
Monday, August 31, 2009
We are also excited to announce that our friends at National Amusements notified us this morning that because of your gracious response, they are extending our run at Showcase until September 10. So if you have already seen the movie, please go enjoy the fun again and if you haven't, make sure you get out there and experience the magic. Thank you all again!
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
by Joyce & Don Fowler
Aug 28, 2009
THE TENT: LIFE IN THE ROUND
(Priceless Warwick memories)
The Warwick Musical Theatre, aka The Tent, was an important part of the Fowlers’ lives from 1965 until its closing in 1999. I covered “The Tent” for the Warwick Beacon and the Cranston Herald from 1977 until its final concert. I cried when Vince Gill sang his final song, well after midnight on that warm summer evening. Like most Rhode Islanders, Joyce and I have fond memories and a barrel full of stories about the best entertainment Rhode Island ever had to offer.
Thanks to Larry Bonoff and Brian Jones for making this wonderful documentary that recalls the highlights of the Warwick Musical Theatre, from the first shovel-full of dirt removed from the cow pasture on Route 2 to the night the revolving stage stopped spinning. While the movie is a nostalgic look back at the building and its evolution from a tent to a more permanent structure, plus a look at many of the “stars who came out at night,” it is primarily about people: the people who ran it, the people who worked there, the people who sat in the uncomfortable canvas chairs in the sweltering heat, and the people who performed.
Larry Bonoff pays a loving tribute to his parents, Buster and Barbara, who were more than theatre managers and booking agents. They were friends to Rhode Islanders and to the entertainers that visited Warwick, played golf with Buster, and dined with family and friends at the much-missed Golden Lantern. Bonoff and Jones have uncovered vintage television and video footage of performances, from Jack Benny to Johnny Carson, to a plethora of singers, comedians, actors and musicians who were truly “up close and personal.”
We see Liberace holding out his ring to be kissed by a lady in the audience. We’ll always remember his remark, “Go ahead. Take a good look. You paid for it.” The funniest sequence shows Howie Mandel at one of his many Warwick performances, chasing a moth around the stage. It lands in a precarious spot on his body. Then he spots a huge bug on the leg of a young lady sitting in the front row. What happens next is worth the price of admission. Mandel, a close friend of the Bonoffs (as were most of the performers), did promos for the movie, taped a special opening night welcome, and played an important part in the movie.
If you go online to http://www.bonoff.net/, you can follow the history of the Warwick Musical Theatre, with photos and program covers from every year. But if you want to feel the excitement, caring and love for the entertainers and patrons that Barbara and Buster displayed, you must see the movie. Bonoff, in addition to showing many highlights, takes the time and effort to pay tribute to the employees, many of whom admitted that they would have worked for nothing. The movie is interspersed with “talking heads” reminiscing about their favorite stars, funniest moments, meeting and falling in love at The Tent and experiences behind the scenes.
There are great interviews by Wynonna, Vince Gill, Huey Lewis and dozens of others. It is interesting to see footage of their performances and then see them as they are today. Carrot Top has grown up. Engelbert has grown old (the audience gasped when they saw him being interviewed). Wynonna has grown. And Howie Mandel has lost his out-of-control head of hair.
There is so much more that can be said about this wonderful movie. Even if you weren’t one of the thousands fortunate enough to have the “tent” experience, go see the movie and get a feel for why people still wish it were still here. One of the main reasons was the Bonoff family. Larry and Brian (who started as an usher at the theatre) have captured the spirit of Barbara and Buster, who must be looking down on them with their sincere humility, saying “Great job!”
“The Tent: Life in the Round” will be shown at the Warwick Showcase for a week, opening this Friday. Hopefully, there will be more showings scheduled in the future. Note: This is the first “biased” review I have ever written. I had my 15 seconds of fame near the end of the movie, where I am interviewed for my comments on reviewing Vince Gill’s closing night performance. The film is not rated, but it is OK for all ages. Bring the children and show them what the good old days of quality entertainment was like.
Monday, August 24, 2009
It was amazing to see years of work finally come to life on the big screen. We had a packed house of theater-goers and Warwick Musical enthusiasts who came to watch the world premiere of our film. 630 WPRO's very own Ron St. Pierre and Buddy Cianci kicked off the evening as our emcees and introduced Larry Bonoff and me for a few quick words. Once we were done, the lights went down and we were off.
Our film takes a break for 4 days until it begins a week run over at Showcase Cinemas Warwick (Quaker Lane) on Friday, August 28. We hope to see you there and look for some exciting announcements in the coming days too. Thank you again for all of your support!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
As we head into our final day of media blitz (Larry is on so many television and radio stations tomorrow I can't keep them all straight), we pause to thank everyone who has sent us positive messages of support and has purchased tickets to the premiere Saturday night. If you haven't, we hope you will because it will be a very special and memorable evening to be sure.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
- The Premiere at Providence Performing Arts Center, 7pm, Saturday, August 22. VIP tickets for $35 are still available which will get you into the film, to the post-show reception, and a few collectible trinkets to commemorate the night. $10 tickets are also available. (How cool does the marquee at PPAC look?)
- On Sunday, August 23, the film will be shown at the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket, tickets are $12.50. VIP tickets which include dinner at Chan's are also available.
Liberace, right, played The Tent for 16 straight years, from 1964 to 1980. He’s shown here on the Warwick Music Theatre stage in 1979 with Alexander Tomasso III of Providence. (Providence Journal files)
THE TENT: Life in the Round Is An Ovation to Warwick Musical Theatre
01:00 AM EDT on Friday, August 21, 2009
If you lived in Rhode Island at any point in the second half of the 20th century, The Tent was more than likely a part of your summertime life.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Barbara Bonoff never threw anything away.
And not just stuff from the 45 seasons that she and her husband ran the Warwick Musical Theatre. She saved mementos and historical records and playbills and costumes from a family show business line going back to 1919, when her mother was the lead dancer in a vaudeville act’s chorus line that toured “the entire country, as far west as Pennsylvania.”
Friday, August 14, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
‘THE TENT: Life in the Round’ Offers Celebrity Memories and More
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
- Vegas Legend Bobby Vinton
- Comedian Carrot Top
- Rock Sensation Huey Lewis
- Comedian Louie Anderson
- Country Legend Mel Tillis
- Country Legend Vince Gill
- Country Legend Wynonna Judd
Stay tuned for more exciting celebrity announcements soon!
Friday, June 5, 2009
Special thanks to the great people PPAC for hosting us, once again, all day long. Alan Chile and the crew there (thank you Matt) always take care of us in the most incredible ways. From providing us with everything from internet access to an amazing venue to film our interviews, the PPAC team members is top notch and we appreciate their kindness and generosity so much.
After today sessions, we only have a few more celebrity interviews to complete and then we are done. Well at least until the editing process that is! Thanks again to everyone who came out today and who continues to support our film.
Onward we go, but first a little sleep in short order after a very long day. Stay tuned!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
- 92PRO-FM: Michael Stravato for his story about meeting the legendary man in black, Johnny Cash.
- Lite 105: Donna Houle for her story about performing onstage as a child actor.
- 630WPRO-FM/AM: Anthony Del Toro for his hilarious anecdote about Tom Jones' drinking glass.
Each winner will now be invited to our next filming session sometime next month. Thanks to EVERYONE who called in to the shows and participated in our contests. Thanks to our friends at 92PRO-FM, Lite 105, 630WPRO-FM/AM (especially the good folks at the Buddy Cianci Show). And congratulations to Michael, Donna, and Anthony!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
The “Go Under the Tent Movie Contest” is your opportunity to listen and win a chance to be in the forthcoming WMT documentary film. We asked for this in October at our press conference but we are making it official again now, and asking anyone and everyone who has a special memory or story about WMT to enter a contest, and possibly end up on the big screen! Maybe you met your future spouse, saw an incredible performance, or even graduated at the Tent. Whatever your connection to it may be, now is your chance to let the world know about it.
The rules for the “Go Under the Tent Movie Contest” are simple:
1. First, between now and noon on April 16 dust off your favorite Warwick Musical memory and turn it into a 2-minute story.
2. Then, tune in to the Buddy Cianci show on 630WPRO AM/FM starting at 10am on Thursday April 16.
3. When prompted, call in to Buddy’s show and a panel which will include Buddy and Larry Bonoff will listen to your story. At the end of the hour, the panel will vote, the story with the most votes (based on presentation and story quality) will be declared winner, and that individual will have his/her story filmed at the next production shoot in Rhode Island (date and location TBD).
4. Contestants should be available to call into the designated radio show on April 16 beginning at 10am.
5. While every effort will be made to include the winner’s story, final inclusion in the finished production will ultimately be at the discretion of the filmmakers.
Final thing to keep in mind is that if you submitted a story to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, it has been received and is being considered in another contest to run next week as well. More details on that contest will come shortly. But you can certainly try to call into Buddy's show as well.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Also, I wanted to let everyone know that Larry Bonoff will begin a series of monthly appearances on the Buddy Cianci show on 630 WPRO AM starting tomorrow at 1pm. Larry will be talking about the work currently underway with the Bonoff Family Collection at the University of Rhode Island and the latest on the WMT film currently in production. He will also take your calls and answer your questions through 401-438-WPRO or 1-800-321-WPRO. Make sure to tune in for an exciting announcement at the end of Larry's hour as well!
TO LISTEN LIVE, CLICK HERE.
Thanks for the continued support!
Saturday, February 14, 2009
TO VIEW THE TRAILER, CLICK HERE.
And then, please give us your feedback at email@example.com. Thanks!
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
It's quite a feeling to see what was once simply an idea now beginning to take on a real face. We got 11 interviews in the can and will look to do 4-5 more of these interview days in the next 3 months with the same ambitious schedule. Thank you to Alan Chile and the entire PPAC staff for rolling out the red carpet for us once again, we really appreciate your friendship. And thanks to our Emmy-award winning videographer Jim Karpeichik for making our first round of interviews look so professional.
Please continue to send your stories in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and check back to http://www.wmtmovie.com/ for updates. Have a great week and Happy New Year!
Monday, January 5, 2009
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
If you have a special memory from the theatre, I want to hear from you. Maybe you were at the famous Patti Labelle show. Maybe you proposed to your spouse in the mezzanine. Maybe you went to wrestling 10 years in a row. Maybe your child just loved those Tuesday morning kiddie shows. Whatever your story is, let me know. As we announced in October, our filmmaking team will review all submissions and decide which stories best capture the character and history of the Tent. And if your story is chosen, you will appear in our documentary. So make sure you check out all of the wonderful pieces of theatre history here at bonoff.net to spur those memories and then fill out the form below. Or if you prefer, simply drop me an email at email@example.com. When sending in your story, please include your Name, Address, Phone number(s) and best time to contact you.
Also, this website will be constantly updated with information about the production so make sure you check back often for exciting announcements. Thanks again for visiting wmtmovie.com and I look forward to hearing from you!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Bonoff partners with the University of Rhode Island, the Providence Performing Arts Center, Michael Corrente, and Southern New Englanders to document and preserve the legacy of the Warwick Musical Theatre through an online museum and a documentary film.
PROVIDENCE , R.I. – OCTOBER 21, 2008: On September 4, 1999, the lights dimmed for the last time at the Warwick Musical Theatre after an impressive, and unprecedented multi-decade run. As the ‘Professionals of Summer Entertainment,’ the theatre provided theatre-goers in Rhode Island and Southern New England the rare opportunity to see the biggest stars and the biggest performances in show business.
The theatre may be gone, but its proud tradition lives on. To celebrate that legacy, Larry Bonoff today announced an exciting partnership with the University of Rhode Island which will house and catalog thousands of artifacts from Bonoff’s personal collection. The items represent 85 years of theatre history and span four generations on one side of his family (the Bonoffs) and three on the other (the Wassermans). All of these items, which document the history of the families’ involvement in theatre, will be available to scholars and enthusiasts alike. Scholars can access the processed archives for research purposes immediately through the Special Collections Unit of URI’s University Library. A web portal accessible by the public will be available in 2009, but a sneak preview of some of those items can be found at www.bonoff.net. In addition, the Bonoff Theatre Fund has been created through the URI Foundation’s Dean’s Excellence Fund to help provide scholarships for URI theatre students and financial support for university theatre productions.
“The University of Rhode Island is honored to accept Mr. Bonoff’s very generous contribution,” said URI President Robert Carothers, “The Bonoff and Wasserman family collections, which feature the Warwick Musical Theatre, are an important part of Rhode Island history and now that history can be preserved and studied for generations to come.”
In addition to the archives collection and in coordination with the 10th anniversary of the theatre’s closing next year, Bonoff also announced the production of a documentary film about the 45-year history of the Warwick Musical Theatre, the longest-running theatre-in-the-round ever owned and operated by the same family. The feature will be produced over the coming year and will premier at the Providence Performing Arts Center sometime in late 2009. That venue was selected because of its status as a leading center of arts excellence and because of the tireless efforts of President J.L. “Lynn” Singleton to preserve and celebrate the arts in Rhode Island . The legacy of WMT also lives on at PPAC through the work of Betsy Bonoff Menders, Larry’s sister and the former director of operations at the Tent, who currently serves as PPAC’s events manager.
This project will be spearheaded by Brian C. Jones, who served as Bonoff’s chief assistant for eight years and worked at the theatre for twelve seasons. He will lead a filmmaking team which will include some former theatre employees and will be advised by Rhode Island film stalwart Michael Corrente, who will serve as a creative consultant on the project.
The film will chronicle the theatre’s impact on the Rhode Island , New England , and the broader show business communities. It will also highlight the incredible story of the Bonoffs, a theatre family spanning four generations. Archival news footage will be intertwined with new interviews from the people who made the theatre so special – the talented performers who graced the stage, the dedicated employees who worked the aisles, and the loyal patrons who came summer after summer. In conjunction with the film, Jones announced that former theatre-goers and employees will be given the opportunity to come and recount their favorite WMT memories in person at a time and place to be announced in the future, or they can submit them electronically at www.wmtmovie.com. Many of those stories will become part of the final film.
“I am so excited that the incredible story of both the Warwick Musical Theatre and the Bonoff family will be immortalized on film,” said Bonoff, “This documentary will be a proud and lasting tribute to the vision first held by my grandfather 85 years ago. I hope it will also evoke some found memories of how things used to be.”
The feature will be produced by a partnership entity formed by Bonoff and Jones earlier this year. All profits from the film’s theatrical run will go to the Bonoff Foundation and charitable organizations which fight diabetes and cancer, diseases that took the lives of Bonoff’s parents, Buster and Barbara. In coordination with both of these projects, Bonoff also announced that a 2009 Warwick Musical Theatre commemorative calendar is now available with a $10-minimum donation to the Bonoff Foundation at select locations throughout Rhode Island. The calendar is packed with photos direct from the Bonoff family archives. For more information about the where and how to get the calendar, please visit www.bonoff.net.