This year the summer stages feature Shakespeare galore as always, Disney animation brought to life before your eyes, and musicals about everything from Jerry Springer to Robin Hood. Here is a preview of this summer’s offerings.
- NEW DRAMA
- DRAMA REVIVAL
- NEW MUSICAL
- MUSICAL REVIVAL
- NEW COMEDY
- COMEDY REVIVAL
The Festival of New American Musicals features shows in various sites in Southern California through August 28. A few of the offerings include “Twist” (June 26–July 17), a musical inspired by Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist” but set in 1928 New Orleans; “Jerry Springer: The Opera” (July 9–August 7), where the talk show host suffers through the worst day of his career; “Sherwood Forest” (July 25 and 26), an opera version of the classic Robin Hood tale; and “The Devil and Daisy Jane” (August 4–14), a Faustian pop-rock musical comedy that finds an aspiring singer-songwriter caught up in today’s world of reality shows, paparazzi madness and fame obsession thanks to a deal with the devil. (310) 827-2850, lafestival.org.
Visit the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego to see Henrik Ibsen’s “Peer Gynt” (June 28 – July 24), re-imagined by David Schweizer with some inventive surprises. (858) 550-1010, lajollaplayhouse.org.
The popular animated Disney film “Aladdin” will bring its magic to the stage in Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theater. “Aladdin: The New Stage Musical” will run from July 7–July 31. (206) 625-1900, 5thavenue.org.
The Municipal Theatre Association of St. Louis is one of America’s oldest and biggest theaters. This season you can see a slew of musicals including “Kiss Me, Kate” (June 27–July 3), “The Little Mermaid” (July 6–14), “Singin’ in the Rain” (July 18–24), and “Little Shop of Horrors” (July 25–31). (314) 361-1900, muny.org.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival (June 23–October 22) in Cedar City will celebrate its 50th Anniversary this year. The celebration will include an exhibition of the various costumes and other artwork created by the Festival’s staff over the years as well as a look at a first folio and two quarto editions of Shakespeare’s work on loan from the Folger Shakespeare Library. There are also shows including “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Romeo and Juliet” as well as Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie” and Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man.”
(800) 752-9849, bard.org.
The American Players Theatre
located just outside Spring Green consists of two theater arenas situated on 110 acres of hilly woods and meadows. This summer at the Up-the- Hill Theatre, an 1,148-seat outdoor amphitheater, you can see: Noël Coward’s “Blithe Spirit” (June 18–September 9); Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s “The Critic” (June 25– September 10); and John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” (August 6–October 1). (608) 588-2361, americanplayers.org.
“One Thousand and One Nights” (June 25–July 3) makes it US premiere at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. This two-part epic is about a young woman named Shahrazad who weds a king that has vowed to marry a virgin every night and kill her in the morning. She prolongs her life by telling the king enthralling stories that keep him wanting to hear more. For a little lighter fare, you can enjoy “The Adventures of Pinocchio” (July 13– August 28). (312) 595-5600, chicagoshakes.com.
The Lincoln Center Festival in association with Ohio State University are presenting the Royal Shakespeare Company fromJuly6–August14atthePark Avenue Armory. This will be a treat for Shakespeare fans who cannot make the trip to England because they will perform “As You Like It,” “Julius Caesar,” “King Lear,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Winter’s Tale”
on a full-scale replica of the Royal Shakespeare Theater in Stratford-upon-Avon. (212) 721-6500, lincolncenterfestival.org.
From the silver screen to the stage, the Cape Playhouse in Dennis Village will feature two productions adapted from popular movies, including “The Graduate” (July 11–23) and “Footloose” (July 25–August 6). You can also catch “Crazy for You” (August 8–20) a musical comedy featuring some of the most unforgettable Gershwin songs. (877) 385-3911, capeplayhouse.com.
Movie stars take to the stage at the Kennedy Center in the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Chekhov’s tragicomedy “Uncle Vanya”(August 4 – 27), with Cate Blanchett, Richard Roxburgh, Jacki Weaver, and Hugo Weaving. And back by popular demand is the musical “Wicked” (June 15–August 21). (202)467-4600, kennedy-center.org.
Stephen Foster wrote many songs that kids still grow up singing today including “Oh! Susanna” and “Camptown Races.” Every year he is honored at the My Old Kentucky Home State Park Amphitheater in Bardstown with a production of “Stephen Foster: The Musical” (June 11–August 13). Families may also enjoy a production of “The Wizard of Oz” (July 7–August 6). (800) 626-1563, stephenfoster.com.
The Houston Shakespeare Festival
“Othello”(July 29, 31 and August 2, 4, 6) and “The Taming of the Shrew” (July 30 and August 3, 5, 7) at Hermann Park’s Miller Outdoor Theatre. (281) 373-3386, houstonfestivalscompany.com.
The Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre (June 16–July 3) summer festival in Conway and North Little Rock: “As You Like It” and “Othello.” For family fun take your kids to see the classic tale “The Tortoise and the Hare” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
(501) 269-4815, arkshakes.com.
The Georgia Shakespeare Festival in Atlanta: “The Tempest” (June 8–July 23) “Antony and Cleopatra” (June 23-July 22) “The Jungle Book” (July 5 – 22) and Michael Frayn’s “Noises Off” (July 28 – August 14)
(404) 264-0020, gashakespeare.org.