Now that we’ve all taken part in some summer traditions- BBQ’d some hot dogs, seen a parade or two, and watched some fireworks, we can safely say it is officially summer. One of our favorite things about the warmer months is the long standing tradition of summer theatre. From summer stock to plays in the park to national tours, this is a great time of year to check out some fantastic theatre. Here are some of Team Ovation’s favorite picks. You may have seen a team member gracing the stage at one of the following:
The Cape Playhouse, Dennis MA:In its 86th Season, the Cape Playhouse is the country’s oldest professional summer theatre, having boasted performances over the years by everyone from Gregory Peck to Helen Hayes. The gorgeous old clapboard theatre gives the feel of classic summer stage, while offering performances that are a sweet, pleasant ending to a long day at the beach. The New York Times called it “where Broadway goes to summer”.
Peterborough Players, Peterborough, NH: Much of Thorton Wilder’s iconic play OUR TOWN was based on the town of Peterborough. The Players themselves have been around so long (since 1933) that a production of the play was actually staged in the theatre with Wilder in attendance. Nestled in the woods, productions run the gamut from classics to contemporary with a few musicals thrown in for good measure. Well- known actors James Whitmore and Gordon Clapp have summered with the players.
Gretna Theatre, MT Gretna, PA: June and July bring the theatre to the resort town of Mt. Gretna. Main stage musicals and revues mix with theatre for young audiences to achieve the goal of entertaining, educating and enriching the south central Pennsylvania community. This season started with Tommy Tune’s one night only performance in a show about his Broadway life.
The MUNY, St. Louis, MO: Like a bit of the great outdoors with your theatre? The MUNY is America’s largest and oldest outdoor musical theatre. During its long history, audiences at the MUNY have seen many musicals, operas, and ballets, but only ONE play- a production of the ODD COUPLE in 1975 starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman themselves. This summer, the crowds in Forest Park can catch original cast member Jennifer Holliday in DREAMGIRLS.
California Musical Theatre, Sacramento, CA: Formerly known as “Sacramento Music Circus”, CMT employs the once avant garde concept of theatre under the big top. This happy marriage between musicals and the circus has produced over 400 shows, and now has an indoor “Broadway Series” showcasing national tours in the winter months. Ever wonder how Madeline Kahn would have been in SHOWBOAT, or how Joel Grey would have taken on Huck Finn? You could have seen it at the Music Circus.
Regardless of the season or where you live, chances are there is some form of live theatre happening near you year-round. Whether community or professional theatre, the importance of seeing a live production can't be overstressed. Looking for something to do this weekend? Get out and see a show!
*Bonus Fact!: Cost of tickets at your local theatre a bit steep? Call the theatre and ask about being an usher for a certain performance. You'll get to be part of the team, help the theatre, and enjoy the show for free!