Getting Out of Town: Summer Theatre Outside the City
By Carey Purcell
For those itching to escape the concrete jungle, never fear: Quality theatre can still be enjoyed while appreciating the great outdoors. Playbill.com has rounded up a list of productions outside of the Big Apple where theatre lovers can see a show while soaking in the sun and maybe enjoy a swim, too.
Described as "where Broadway meets Main Street," this theatre, located in Northport, NY, currently features the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific (through July 14) and will then offer the slightly more silly Nunsense (July 25-Sept. 8). Visit engemantheater.com.
The rustic red-wood performing arts center in Suffolk County is surrounded by about seven acres of grassy land. Their summer season will feature Legends (July 2-20), Singin' in the Rain (July 24-Aug. 10) and Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Aug. 28-Sept. 14). Visit pacsc.org/online.
Williamstown Theatre Festival
The resident summer theatre in Williams College in the Berkshires features Animal Crackers (now through July 13), Pygmalion (July 17-27) and the new musical adaptation of The Bridges of Madison County (Aug. 1-18). The Nikos stage will run American Hero (now through July 7), Hapgood (July 10-21), Johnny Baseball (July 24-Aug. 3) and Blood Play (Aug. 7-18). Visit wtfestival.org.
Some highlights of the summer season at this theatre company in Stockbridge, MA, include Audra McDonald in concert, The Lion in the Winter (now through July 13), Oklahoma! (now through July 20), Extremeties (July 18-27) and Just So Stories (July 18-Aug.10) performed in both classic, gilded-age theatres and more rustic performing spaces. Visit berkshiretheatregroup.org/.
Barrington Stage Company
Also located in downtown Pittsfield, this company was home to the development of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Their summer season includes On the Town (now through July 13), Muckrackers (now through July 6), The Chosen (July 18-Aug. 3), Southern Comfort (July 19-Aug. 10), Disney's The Little Mermaid JR. (July 24-Aug. 11), Much Ado About Nothing (Aug. 8-25) and Scott and Hem in the Garden of Allah (Aug. 15-Sept. 29). Visit barringtonstageco.org.
Bucks County Playhouse
This stage, at the site of a former grist mill on the banks of the Delaware River in New Hope, PA, features The World Goes Round (now through July 21), Really Rosie (July 5-July 21), Summer of '42 (July 25-Aug. 11) and The Tale of the Allergist's Wife (Aug. 15-Sept. 1). Visit bcptheater.org.
Located in East Haddam, CT, the waterfront opera house is currently home to Hello, Dolly! (through Sept. 14) and the forthcoming LMNOP (July 25-Aug. 18). Over the years, 19 Goodspeed productions have transferred to Broadway, receiving more than a dozen Tony Awards. Visit goodspeed.org.
Adirondack Theatre Festival
This professional not-for-profit summer theatre located in Glens Falls, NY, kicks off its 19th summer season with Heartbreaker – Two Months with Judy Garland (now through July 6). The play tells the true story of John Meyer meeting and falling in love with Judy Garland and features some of Garland's most memorable songs and stars four-time Tony nominee Christine Andreas.
The summer season will also include Filming Office (July 11-20), Second Act Cabaret (July 18-20), Avenue Q (July 25-Aug. 3) and Faraway Nearest One (Aug. 9-10). Visit atfestival.org.
Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival
This musical theatre festival in Auburn, NY, produced by Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, features The Great American Trailer Park Musical (now through July 14), Legally Blonde (now through July 17), Neurosis: A New Muscial (July 18-Aug.10), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (July 24-Aug. 14), CATS (Aug. 21-Sept. 11), Hank Williams Lost Highway (Sept. 18-Oct. 5) and The Pitch (now through Aug. 17). Visit fingerlakesmtf.com.
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival is the region's only professional resident Shakespeare company. The Festival makes its home under a tent theatre on the grounds of the 19th century Boscobel estate in Garrison, NY, overlooking the Hudson River. Guests of the 27th season can enjoy views of the Hudson Highlands while watching King Lear, The Three Musketeers and All's Well that Ends Well. Performances run through Sept. 1. Visit hvshakespeare.org.
Westport County Playhouse
This spacious red performance space, which resembles an old-fashioned barn, will be home to Loot, by Joe Orton (July 16-Aug. 3). The British farce follows the late Mrs. McLeavy, whose final repose is disturbed by her son and his cohort of thieving miscreants, and is followed by the world premiere of Oblivion (Aug. 20-Sept. 7) by Carly Mensch. Visit westportplayhouse.org.
Bay Street Theatre
Located in Sag Harbor, NY, in the heart of the Hamptons, Bay Street Theatre's summer lineup includes The Mystery of Irma Vep (July 2-28) and A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum (Aug. 6-31). Visit baystreet.org.
Located in Long Beach Island, NJ, Broadway at the Beach's 64th season features George M! (now through July 7), Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific (July 10-28), Les Miserables (July 31-Aug. 24) and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Aug. 28-Sept. 8). The company also hosts the nationally famous Show Place Ice Cream Parlour, where guests are served by singing waiters. Visit surflight.org.
The 29th season of the Vassar & New York Stage and Film Powerhouse Theater season is presented by New York Stage and Film and Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. Mainstage plays include Downtown Race Riot, by Seth Zvi Rosenfeld (now through July 7) and When the Lights Went Out, staged by Kate Whoriskey (July 17-28). Readings of musicals-in-progress include Bright Star, which features a score by Steve Martin (July 12-14), and a new, untitled pop musical inspired by the Brooklyn Hero Supply Company (July 26-28). Inside Look will feature Found (July 12-14) and Mother of Invention (July 19-21). Numerous works in progress will be read as part of the Readings Festivals, which are free to the public. Visit powerhouse.vassar.edu.
Chester Theatre Company
Located in the Berkshires in Chester, MA, this theatre company opens its 24th season with the world premiere of Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's new music-filled stage venture, Arms On Fire (now through July 7). The season continues with Tryst, by Karoline Leach, a psychological thriller described as "'Downton Abbey' meets Hitchcock" (July 11-21). Annie Baker's Body Awareness follows (July 31-Aug. 11), and the season concludes with the regional premiere of Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare's An Iliad (Aug. 15-25). Visit chestertheatre.org.
This theatre began in a barn on the Columbia County fairgrounds. Now, it is "at home" on a hill overlooking the quaint Victorian village of Chatham, NY. The summer season will feature Singin' in the Rain (July 4-7, 10-14, 17-21), Les Miserables (July 25-28, July 31-Aug. 4), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Aug. 8-11, 14-18), Gypsy (Aug. 22-25, Aug. 28-Sept. 1) and All Shook Up (Sept. 6-8, 12-15). Visit machaydntheatre.org.
Saratoga Shakespeare Company
Located in the heart of Saratoga Springs, Saratoga's only professional theatre will feature an al fresco production of The Merry Wives of Windsor (July 16-28). More than 1,000 guests can attend each show. Visit saratogashakespeare.com.
The 25th anniversary season of the company that produces free musicals and plays outdoors in Albany's Washington Park will feature Spamalot (July 5-28) and Shrek (Aug. 6-18). More than 1,500 people can enjoy the shows in the stepped amphitheatre on the hillside opposite the Lakehouse stage. Visit parkplayhouse.com.
The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center
The 49th summer season of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, located in Waterford, CT, features the National Puppetry Conference, NTI TheaterMakers, Cabaret Conference, Music Theater Conference and the Playwrights Conference. Some Broadway hits that began at the O'Neill include Nine, In the Heights and Avenue Q. Visit theoneill.org.
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