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Shakespeare & Beyond

What's onstage at Shakespeare theaters in July

This July offers plenty of opportunities to pack a picnic and enjoy a show, here at the Folger and across the United States. Our theater partners can’t wait to welcome you to Twelfth Night and The Tempest on tour, As You Like It and Much Ado About Nothing under the stars, and more. Keep reading to find a theater near you.

At the Folger

Here on Capitol Hill, join us for free Folger Fridays every other Friday this summer. The party starts Friday, July 12, with music and poetry from acclaimed hip-hop artist Kokayi. Then, on July 26, show us your moves at our Cuban Salsa Night, featuring dance lessons from DC Casineros and a performance by the Gerardo Contino Band.

Families get early access to the Folger every other Saturday for free Family Takeovers. Saturday, July 20, spend your morning with the team from Callaloo Kids for an introduction to diverse cultural narratives through puppetry.

American Players Theater

In Spring Green, WI, the American Players Theater has five plays open in July. In the flagship outdoor Hill Theatre, enjoy Jean Anouilh’s elegant comedy Ring Round the Moon, adapted by Christopher Fry; a sunny production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing; and poetic August Wilson classic Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

In the indoor Touchstone Theatre, catch the world-premiere of Michael Hollinger’s The Virgin Queen Entertains Her Fool and Marisela Treviño Orta’s flowing fable Wolf at the Door.

On July 21, APT celebrates its 45th anniversary, offering games, auctions, live music, and a reading by the APT Core Company.

The cast of Much Ado About Nothing at American Players Theater, 2023.

Atlanta Shakespeare Company

Sure, “all the world’s a stage”… but the stage to catch Shakespeare’s As You Like It  on is the Atlanta Shakespeare Company’s Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse. Follow the company on a trip into Shakespeare’s enchanted woods through July 27.

Corduroy at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Photo by Liz Lauren.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater

There’s something for everyone this summer at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Chicago’s Navy Pier! Onstage through July 14, a 60-minute adaptation of Corduroy, based on the cherished children’s books, is the perfect introduction for young audiences to the magic and wonder of live theater.

The theatrical event of the summer begins July 19 with the US premiere musical The Lord of the Rings, bringing J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy to life onstage. Weaving together fantastical storytelling with a folk-inspired score, the new staging features a 24-member company filled with Chicago talents.

From July 20 – August 18, Shakes in the City presents 22 free pop-up performances of a 45-minute Twelfth Night  alongside activities with teaching artists in green spaces, neighborhood festivals, and events across Chicago.

Colorado Shakespeare Festival

In Boulder, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival just opened its second play of the season, The Merry Wives of Windsor, in the recently renovated Roe Green Theatre. Director Kevin Rich’s production has been called “a joy bomb” full of over-the-top frivolity and fun. Merry Wives runs through August 11 in repertory with Macbeth.

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company

The Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival’s free Shakespeare in the Park production of Hamlet starts a 32-park tour of the Cincinnati tri-state area on July 12!

Jessica Robblee, Ilana DeAngelo, and Lavour Addison as the Page family in The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Photo by Jennifer Koskinen.

Door Shakespeare

Door Shakespeare’s 2024 season is onstage through August 17 in the garden of Björklunden in Baileys Harbor, WI.

Dimonte Henning directs Romeo and Juliet, asking, “Are we, as a society, willing to put hatred and prejudice over empathy, compassion, and, ultimately, love?” Shakespeare’s tragic romance is accompanied by a new adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma by Joseph Hanreddy. Emma is the story of a young woman whose misplaced confidence in her matchmaking abilities leads to several misadventures and the discovery that the only path she can control is her own. Director Maggie Kettering writes, “I hope you will be carried away by the story and world of our play, that you will enjoy Emma’s reverence for and ridicule of the drama of Highbury.”

“Both shows this season are a study of chance versus choice,” shares Producing Artistic Director Amy Ensign. “Once the stories are set in motion, we watch Romeo, Juliet, and Emma navigate the paths before them, which, in turn, asks us to reflect on our own journeys. There is no better place to contemplate if the stars hold our destiny, than under our own Door County sky.”

Into the Woods is onstage at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival through August 4.

Idaho Shakespeare Festival

Famous fractured fairy tale Into the Woods  is onstage through August 4 at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. Stephen Sondheim’s award-winning music and lyrics will transport you to a land where there is a giant in the sky, a wolf in the woods, a curse reversed, and a wish in everyone’s heart.

After Into the Woods… well, turn around and head back into the woods with Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, beginning August 9.

Thin Air Shakespeare's 2023 production of Richard III.

Off Square Theatre Company and Thin Air Shakespeare

Off Square Theatre and Thin Air Shakespeare present Romeo & Juliet July 12 – 21 in scenic Jackson, WY. Edgar Landa’s energetic, visceral adaptation brings multi-generational appeal and stunning fight choreography to an eager audience. Now in its twelfth year, Thin Air Shakespeare brings free, outdoor Shakespeare to a setting worthy of the Bard’s great poetry.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

At the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a dazzling, music-filled production of Much Ado About Nothing , directed by Miriam A Laube, lights up the Allen Elizabethan Theatre through October 12. Meanwhile, Macbeth continues along with one-actor show Virgins to Villains: My Journey with Shakespeare’s WomenJane EyreBorn with Teeth; and musical  Lizard Boy.

Shakespeare Dallas

This month, Shakespeare Dallas presents The Odyssey and Twelfth Night. Pack a picnic and enjoy dinner and drinks at the breezy Samuell-Grand Amphitheater while enjoying these two stories of shipwrecks and reunions, running concurrently Tuesday-Sunday for two more weeks,

Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation of The Odyssey follows a young woman struggling to understand The Odyssey in modern times. A Greek muse appears and the young woman suddenly becomes the goddess Athena, helping Odysseus on his epic journey, with well-known figures from Greek myth including Circe, the Cyclops, Poseidon, Calypso, and the Sirens. The Odyssey is onstage through July 19.

Twelfth Night runs through July 21. This adventurous 1930s-set production is a must-see for fans of the Indiana Jones series!

SPARC Theater's Shakespeare in the Vineyard

SPARC Theater

SPARC Theater’s Shakespeare in the Vineyard is back with Twelfth Night! Catch the show outdoors at Darcie Kent Vineyards in Livermore, California, through July 28. Our, join the company in August for an indoor extension at The Village Theatre & Art Gallery in Danville.

St. Louis Shakespeare Festival

The St. Louis Shakespeare Festival presents the adventure of the summer and a larger-than-life production of Shakespeare’s most enchanting romance, The Tempest. Directed by Tom Ridgely, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival Producing Artistic Director, the free 90-minute production tours 24 Missouri and Illinois parks with a cast of six.

San Francisco Shakespeare Festival

Things are heating up in San Francisco (literally and figuratively) as the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival gets ready for the start of its 42nd Season of Free Shakespeare in the Park. This year’s tour takes The Tempest to three parks around the Bay Area, beginning with performances July 20 – August 4 at Cupertino’s Memorial Park Amphitheater. Director Rotimi Agbabiaka (Folger Theatre’s 2022 A Midsummer Night’s Dream) highlights the themes of forgiveness and recovery from loss.

St. Louis Shakespeare Festival's TourCo production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo: Phillip Hamer Photography.
STNJ's Outdoor Stage at St. Elizabeth University.

Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey

It’s a Shakespearean double feature at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey this month. Join the merriment, music, and mischief under the stars at STNJ’s Outdoor Stage with As You Like It, directed by Jemma Alix Levy, with original music by Alexander Sovronsky. The bucolic campus of St. Elizabeth University transforms into the Forest of Arden in this event that has become a favorite summer tradition for families across the region. Performances run through July 14; kids under 17 attend for free!

How far would you go to honor and preserve a friend’s legacy? What if that friend was William Shakespeare and his plays were about to be lost to the history forever? Lauren Gunderson’s acclaimed play The Book of Will shines a light on the amazing true story of two ordinary men whose love for their friend and his genius continues to influence our world four centuries after Shakespeare’s death. Directed by Artistic Director Emerita Bonnie J. Monte, The Book of Will is onstage July 10 – 28 at Drew University’s F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre.

Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

The 2024 Summer Repertory Season at Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum runs through October with outdoor repertory theatre and educational programs for all ages. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is back, alongside The Winter’s Tale, Wendy’s Peter Pan, Tartuffe: Born Again, and The Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx/Latine Vote. Bring a picnic and relax in the shade of Topanga Canyon’s California Live Oaks before the show.

The Winter's Tale, at Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum.

American Players Theater, Atlanta Shakespeare Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Door Shakespeare, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Off Square Theatre Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Dallas, SPARC Theater, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum are members of the Folger’s Theater Partnership Program.