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Newport Vineyards Sets Weekend Stage for Jazz, Shakespeare

The Lois Vaughan Trio performs Thursday, August 5, and the Rhode Island Shakespeare Company's "Taming of the Shrew" takes the stage Friday and Saturday, Aug. 6-7.

Newport Vineyards sets the stage this weekend for three, quite literally, star-studded evenings of cool jazz and Shakespeare, paired with New England style food and, of course, local wine made possible by Middletown's coastal breezes and unique microclimate.

This summer marks the second year the Rhode Island Shakespeare Company has performed at the West Main Road vineyard and the first year for the jazz show.

"It's nice to offer these events to our community," said vineyard owner John Nunes, who's also thinking about lining up similar events there for October. To would-be guests, he added, "Come enjoy the sunset in our beautiful vineyard setting. Enjoy the shows and a little wine!"

This week's back-to-back special events kick off Thursday evening, when the last night of "Bridgefest" spans across the island from Newport to Middletown for cool jazz performed by the Lois Vaughan Trio. A performer for more than 24 years, Vaughan's repertoire is broad, encompassing jazz, Latin & standards, and classical music, as well as swing, classic rock, disco, reggae & Motown.

Set amidst 60 rolling acres of vineyards, such an event would be reason enough to visit the Vineyard. But owners Paul and John Nunes also lined up a traditional, old-fashioned McGrath's New England clambake that will be paired, of course, with wine from the vineyard. Cooked over hot rocks and seaweed, the traditional New England style clambake menu includes Rhode Island clear broth chowder, lobster, barbecued chicken, mussels, steamers, salad greens, corn on the cob, chourico and watermelon. Wine tasting and chowder will be served from 6-7 pm, with dinner scheduled for 7 pm.

The cost is $68 per person, or $58 without lobster. Advanced reservations are required. Call 401 848-5161 to RSVP or email info@newportvineyards.com

The program switches gears a bit Friday and Saturday nights, with sunset theatrical performances of the Rhode Island Shakespeare Company's "Taming of the Shrew."

The company has spent the summer touring with the popular comedy throughout New England. "Taming of the Shrew" is the wildly funny tale of Katherine, a woman noted for her scolding tongue and brash temper, and her suitor, Petruchio, a coarse, ill-mannered man more interested in her father's wealth than Katherine herself. Add mistaken identity and physical comedy, and this is a play you cannot miss.

"Taming of the Shrew" tickets are $15 in advance or $18 the night of the show. The performance starts at 7pm, but the grounds open at 6 pm and organizers suggest arriving early to picnic amidst a beautiful setting and claim your plot of grass for the show.  The seating is "bring your lawn chairs and blankets."

Picnic menu options start at $7.95 and may be purchased prior to arrival by calling Fatullis ahead of time at 401-847-5166. Wine by the glass will be available to purchase from Newport Vineyards, but guests may not bring in their own wine. To reserve tickets for "Taming of the Shew," call 401 848-5161 or email info@newportvineyards.com.

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