newport opera house

Newport, RI – On December 28th, 2017, the Newport Opera House Theater & Performing Arts Center marks the 150th anniversary of the exact date of the theater’s original opening night in 1867. For 150 years, the Newport Opera House Theater has been an integral part of the history, civic life, culture and entertainment of Newport. It is the oldest surviving theater in Rhode Island and one of the five oldest surviving theaters in the country.

“The 150th anniversary of Newport’s historic Opera House theater is an important milestone for Newport, Rhode Island, and historic theaters across the country,” said Alison Vareika, Board Chair of the Newport Opera House Theater, “It is a visionary investment in the future of performing arts in this state. This performing arts center will have a tremendous impact on culture, the economy, and education. I’m excited for the next 150 years!”

A celebration the night of December 28th will kick off the 150th anniversary season with a reception and toast to the next 150 years and the future of performing arts in Newport.

Now under an $18 million restoration, the restored theater will revitalize an architectural landmark in historic Washington Square and serve as Newport’s premier performing arts venue. Year-round the performing arts center will showcase world-class live entertainment—including music, theater, dance, events, and educational programming—will the core mission of serving as a cultural asset, an educational catalyst, and an economic driver for Newport and Southern New England.

The Newport Opera House Theater’s incarnation as a performing arts center from 1867 to 1929 saw a rich history of performance including world-renown performers and figures such as Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Duke Ellington, and Gilbert and Sullivan productions. While under renovation, the Newport Opera House Theater is reviving its celebrated legacy of performance through events including its popular Soiree Series, which has featured artists including cellist Sergey Antonov, Gold Medal Winner of the XIII International Tchaikovsky Competition, and Grammy Award winning pianist Michael Lewin; as well as performances, such as May 2017’s “Theater Happening in Washington Square,” which featured acclaimed New York City jazz artists Andy Milne and La Tanya Hall and international flamenco troupe Flamenco con Magdalena.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.