‘Tis the Season — for Summer Theatre

Near Long Wharf Sag Harbor NYYou’ve spent the day at the beach, you’ve had a wonderful time, but you’re not ready yet to go back to the hotel or the campsite (or home). How about going down the street to the theatre?

Although most theatre companies wind down their season in May or perhaps June, some theatres are just revving up for their main season. Some theatres are mainly, or even exclusively, summer theatres with offerings that span the summer months, often lighter fare that will delight, amuse, and send the audience out smiling.

Unlike last week, when we were under the stars, or out in a sunny park, the productions we’ll be looking at today are indoors, in a variety of venues across the United States and Canada. Although my space is limited here, and I can only feature a few, perhaps there’s something similar where you are!

Get your ticket ready for the summer stage experience —

You don’t have to be in a large city to find summer stage offerings. Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada, has a population of just over 11,000 — and yet it has a thriving professional summer theatre, the Souris Valley Theatre, with a season that includes three productions staged consecutively from June 13th to August 4. Often the season includes something with a little local flavor, and that is the case this year, with a one-woman show called “Rider Girl” (the Roughriders are the professional football team in the province.) I can predict that one will definitely be a hit!

Some theatres extend the “summer” season well into the fall, and that’s the case with the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque, Ontario, Canada. Their season stretches from May 24 to November 2 with seven productions in that time period. Musicals, plays, romance, suspense — sounds like fun, in a beautiful setting. (I’ve never visited the Thousand Islands area, but I’ve certainly heard about it.)

A summer theatre with a unique history can be found in Bethesda, Maryland. Wildwood Summer Theatre was founded in 1965 by some high school theatre students who didn’t want the theatre experience to end when summer vacation came. Nearly fifty years later, the Theatre is still going strong, with its members (aged 14 to 25) presenting a musical, and sometimes two, each summer. This year, the production is A Chorus Line, which is sure to be “one singular sensation” 😉 .

Going back even further than the Wildwood, the Huron Playhouse in Ohio began in 1949, and since (according to their website) “has continued to provide to actors and community a well-balanced season of comedies, dramas, mysteries, melodramas, Shakespeare, children’s theatre, and musicals.” In this, their 65th season, they are presenting five different shows, including The Wizard of Oz, Gypsy, and Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit.

Last week, I mentioned a production of A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, and said that it would come up again this week. It is the third show on the mainstage bill for this summer at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, New York. Although Bay Street has a variety of offerings year round, their mainstage season is in the summer, this year from May 28 to September 1. I had the pleasure of attending a production of the play Men’s Lives at Bay Street Theatre last year, and so wish I were going to be there this summer. (Note: the photo at the beginning of this post was taken in Sag Harbor last summer.)

Wherever you might be this summer, I hope you have a chance to take in some theatre, maybe with kids, maybe in a place you’ve never visited before, maybe in a theatre you return to every summer. Wherever you are, enjoy!

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