Live theater is back in the region this summer – and that is sure to make 2021 a season to remember after the pandemic made 2020 darn sad.
The Gloucester Stage Company celebrates 42 years of professional theater on the North Shore with five shows, presented outdoors at the Windhover Performing Arts Center, Granite Street, Rockport.
The season opens with “Tiny Beautiful Things,” based on the memoir of Cheryl Strayed and adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos, from June 11-27. Next come “Baskerville, A Sherlock Holmes Mystery” by Ken Ludwig, from July 2 to 25; the regional premiere of “Seared,” a comedy by Theresa Rebeck, August 6-22; the New England premiere of “Reparations,” by James Sheldon, September 3-19; and the world premiere of “Think of Me Tuesday” by Ken Riaf of Gloucester.
Subscriptions, tickets and info at 978-281-4433 or www.gloucesterstage.com.
The Newburyport Firehouse Center offers its Summer Outdoor Series, including “All Shook Up”, an inspired musical featuring the songs of Elvis Presley. It’s June 18-25 at Cashman Park in Newburyport. After that, they take the road to Smolak Farms in North Andover with “Godspell”, from August 13th to 29th. Firehouse’s “Glee Club”, its youth program, returns August 9-13. For more information, visit www.firehouse.org.
Further north, the Ogunquit Playhouse on the Maine coast has invested $ 300,000 to build the Leary Pavilion, a covered outdoor performance space on its south lawn. It will present four shows this season starting with the wacky “Monty Python’s Spamalot”, from June 16 to July 10, followed by “Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville” from July 14 to August. 28; the world premiere of “Mystic Pizza,” a new musical based on the 1980s romantic comedy Julia Roberts, from September 1 to October 1. 2; and “Young Frankenstein”, October 6 to 31. No air conditioning or heating, so dress accordingly.
Producers will also be relaunching last season’s popular Playhouse Patio Cabaret on the 10th weekend, June 4 through September 7. 26. Visit www.ogunquitplayhouse.org or call 207-646-5511.
If Shakespeare is your thing, you can see Christopher Lloyd of “Back to the Future” and “Taxi” fame taking on the Bard’s monumental tragic monarch “King Lear” in a Shakespeare & Company production, 2 July August. 28, outside at the New Spruce Theater, Lenox. Merrimack Repertory Theater veterans Allyn Burrows and Jonathan Epstein are among the cast. Call 413-637-3353 or visit web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/1045275.
Commonwealth Shakespeare is relaunching its Free Shakespeare series on the Common Series this year with “The Tempest” in a streamlined format, without an intermission, from July 21 to August. 8. Participation is free, but you must register first. Registration begins the week of June 21. Visit www.commshakes.org for more information.
Brown Box Theater Project, a Boston-based touring company of Shakespeare, offers Massachusetts audiences free outdoor performances of his beloved comedy “Much Ado About Nothing.” These include the Wilmington Memorial Library, August 12; Chelmsford Town Common, August 13; and Sargent Memorial Library, Boxboro, August 28. The time of the show is 7:30 p.m. Visit www.brownboxtheatre.org for more information.
The American Repertory Theater and the Arnold Arboretum present a free, unlimited Arboretum Experience series, starting August 21. The experience includes audio, music, dance and interactive performances. Visit www.AmericanRepertoryTheater.org/ArboretumExperience.
Last but not least, May 31 is the deadline to purchase Peterborough players’ Curtain Up passes for their 2021 three-show summer season. It starts with Thornton Wilder’s classic “Our Town”, performed in downtown Peterborough, NH, August 4-15, and continues with “Beehive: The 60s Musical,” August 18-29, and the premiere American comedy-drama “Where You Are”, from September 1 to 12. The second and third shows will be performed on the new outdoor stage elsewhere at The Players. For tickets and information, visit www.peterboroughplayers.org/summer-season.
In the wings
REQUIREMENTS NOTES: Jack Neary “Kick the Tires, Alma,” a new 10-minute play, lifts the curtain on the 23rd Annual Boston Theater Marathon. It premieres online at noon on Friday May 28 and will feature, in Neary’s words, “the fearless trio of Bobbie Steinbach, Ellen Colton and Cheryl McMahon,” playing the characters that Neary created 20 years ago for a marathon Neary’s mother and two friends from Lowell’s Sacred Heart Ward. For more information and tickets, visit www.bu.edu/bpt/2021/03/17/btmxxiii-special-zoom-edition-schedule-of-plays. For an interview with Neary that includes information about the play, upcoming projects, and more, visit www.bu.edu/bpt/2021/05/21/voices-of-btm-xxiii-jack-neary.
OUT AND ABOUT: Online auditions are underway for the Cannon Theater 10 Minute Game, which is scheduled to air July 16-25. They are looking for actors to play different roles or a single role. Each piece has a different director, and he / she will decide what style of video or audio to use with their production. For more information, visit www.thecannontheatre.org/10-minute-play-auditions.html. … Huntingon Theater announces the extension of “Black Beans Project” for on-demand streaming until June 6th. The digital world premiere play by Huntington artist in residence Melinda Lopez and performer Joel Perez features them as a brother and sister cooking up a family recipe that forces them to to reveal secrets. Tickets are chargeable at huntingtontheatre.org/blackbeans or call 617-266-0800.
RESERVE THIS DATE: Invitations are now available for Lowell Together: Virtual Gala, the joint event hosted by Merrimack Repertory Theater and its partner Free Soil Arts Collective on Friday, June 11. The fun night begins with a cocktail party at 6 p.m. followed by the gala live broadcast at 7 p.m. There will be performances of new work featuring artists from both companies, a live auction and a preview of the lineup. future. Proceeds go to new plays and educational programs of both organizations. Tickets and sponsorships available now. To book, visit LowellTogether.GiveSmart.com or call 978-654-7559.
Nancye Tuttle’s email address is [email protected]