New England Notebook: Stage Presence

By Erin Byers | |

Among the traditions of New England summers: lobsters, days at the beach, fireworks— and performance. Whether under the stars or inside a renovated barn, these annual productions capture two things we love about the season: entertainment and a reason to get together with family and friends.


Among the traditions of New England summers: lobsters, fireworks—and performance. Whether under the stars or inside a renovated barn, these annual productions capture two things we love about the season: entertainment and a reason to get together with family and friends. Here’s a guide to some favorite regional venues.

MASSACHUSETTS
Jacob’s Pillow Dance
Nestled within the serene Berkshire Mountains, Jacob’s Pillow Dance is a festival for all five senses. Combining dance, discussion, music, art and food, the site is a playground of entertainment for an entire day or just an evening. Founded to create and nurture dance, Jacob’s Pillow brings artists from around the world to perform contemporary, classical and culturally specific dance on two main stages and one outdoor stage, June 17 to August 26.

Enjoy the revolving art exhibits or participate in a free show-related discussion before hitting the Pillow Café. With 620 seats, the main Ted Shawn Theatre is intimate, and the 220-seat Doris Duke Studio Theatre stage is a less formal space. 358 George Carter Rd., Becket, 413-243-0745, www.jacobspillow.org.

MAINE
John Lane’s Ogunquit Playhouse
Since 1933, this playhouse has brought Broadway musicals and comedies to a beach town in rural Maine. This season, the main stage features hits Forever Plaid and Aida, and the Kid’s Korner children’s theater offers four Saturday-afternoon shows. Catch one of the five productions, which run from late June through early September, at the main stage theater.

If you’re up for stargazing, an impressive selection of Broadway stars have been known to perform, including Sally Struthers. Rte. 1 S., Ogunquit, 207-646-5511, www.ogunquitplayhouse.org.

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Peterborough Players
A summer theater festival is an excellent training ground for aspiring stars, so the Peterborough Players created Second Company designed to train 20 interns each year in their children’s theater. For parents, the professional company performs six summer shows by writers ranging from Tennessee Williams to local talent.

Tucked away in southwestern New Hampshire, the company’s stage is inside a charming 18th-century renovated barn. But don’t let the rustic surroundings fool you. The performances are top quality. 55 Hadley Rd., Peterborough, 603-924-7585, www.peterboroughplayers.org.

VERMONT
Weston Playhouse Theatre Company
The oldest operating theater in Vermont, the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company is as prestigious as it is historic. Lloyd Bridges was one of the first players to grace the stage of the original playhouse, which was later destroyed in a fire. Rebuilt in the 1960s, the current theater features four shows a year and smaller performances at a second, off-site stage.

For the full experience, stop in for dinner at Downstairs at the Playhouse, and stay late for the hysterical rants of the Act IV cabaret. 703 Main St., Weston, 802-824-5288, www.westonplayhouse.org.