Inductees in Theater

  1. Burton L. "Buster" Bonoff

    Inducted in 1999

    Burton "Buster" Bonoff founded the Warwick Musical Theatre (WMT), in Warwick, R.I. in 1955. Buster came from a family of theater operators and grew up working in his parents' movie theater. Read more >

  2. Ruth Buzzi (1936-)

    Inducted in 1971

    Ruth Buzzi is a Westerly native who gained national recognition for her performances on the Broadway stage, and on television in character roles, although many say she was best known for her work as a comedienne. Read more >

  3. George M. Cohan

    George M. Cohan (1878-1942)

    Inducted in 1965


    Cohan, George M. (George Michael), 1878-1942

    Mr. 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. Read more >

  4. Eddie Dowling (1889-1976)

    Inducted in 1966

    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 and international renown. Dowling sought the 1934 Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat from Rhode Island. Read more >

  5. Edward M. Fay (1875-1964)

    Inducted in 1980

    Edward M. Fay, 1875-1964, was a well known local and national theatrical impresario, musician, and band leader. He was known as "the Dean of Rhode Island Showmen." A friend and partner of George M. Read more >

  6. Adrian Hall

    Inducted in 1994

    Mr. 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 theatres. He is credited with the development of the internationally acclaimed theatre group into a national model for resident theatres.  His vision was principle to the founding of the Company, and he is credited with being the single most driving force behind its’ unqualified success over the past three decades. Read more >

  7. Ruth Hussey (Longenecker)

    Ruth Hussey (Longenecker) (1911-2005)

    Inducted in 1967

    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 including "Flight Command", "The Great Gatsby" and "The Philadelphia Story, which won her an Oscar nomination. Read more >

  8. Van Johnson (1916-2008)

    Inducted in 1969

    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 executive who saw this redheaded, freckled face Rhode Islander as the star with a long succession of outstanding roles. He did a turn on the vaudeville circuit, starred in television guest spots and numerous films. Read more >

  9. Eugene Lee

    Inducted in 2007

    “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 put.  Robert Brustein, founding director of the Yale Repertory Theatre and the American Repertory Theatre once said that Lee has “the remarkable capacity to create an illusion of vast reaches out of circumscribed space. Read more >

  10. Isabelle Florence Ahearn O’Neill (1880-1975)

    Inducted in 2014

    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.

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