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Shakespeare & Beyond

What's onstage at Shakespeare theaters this summer

Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s Outdoor Stage.

Bug spray? Check.
Lawn chairs? Got ’em.
Sunscreen? SPF 50!
Cooler? Packed.
Tickets? Check.

Everybody ready? Then let’s go see what the Folger’s theater partners have onstage this summer.

Alabama Shakespeare Festival

At the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, catch The Marvelous Wonderettes through June 26. Then, José Cruz González’s American Mariachi kicks off July 27.

⇒Related: José Cruz González and David Lozano join us on Shakespeare Unlimited to talk about producing and adapting Shakespeare in Latinx communities.

American Players Theatre

The season kicks off June 11 with Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The Rivals.  Also, see Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Love’s Labor’s Lost; Marisela Treviño Orta’s The River BrideJessica Swale’s new adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brothers SizeLorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sunand Jen Silverman’s The MoorsWatch Hamlet from the comfort of your living room with the theater’s APT at Home program!

Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre

Watch Much Ado About Nothing in Fayetteville (June 16 – 18) or Conway (June 23 – July 2).

Atlanta Shakespeare Company

This summer, take a walk in the woods with the Atlanta Shakespeare Company. Ken Ludwig’s Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood is onstage through June 26. Then, beginning June 30, the company takes on A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

In rehearsal for the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s “Much Ado About Nothing.”

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

Shakespeare Under the Stars is back! The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company returns to the enchanting PFI Historic Park in Ellicott City, Maryland, for Much Ado About Nothing, beginning June 17. Beatrice and Benedick are made for one another, and everyone knows it… except for them. It will take an entire village of meddlers, gossips, and fools to help them win this “merry war” of misdeeds, misunderstandings, and mistaken identities.

Kids see the production for free: two patrons aged 18 and under get in free with the purchase of an adult ticket by reservation. Sundays are family fun days, starting pre-show at 4:30 pm with games, crafts, and activities.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater

It Came From Outer Space!, a new musical inspired by the classic cult film, begins performances June 22. Then, the theater’s Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour hits area parks July 17 – 23.

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s Free Shakespeare in the Park tour returns this summer, running July 15 through September 4 with over forty free performances of in parks around the Cincinnati area. This summer’s play is Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the beloved romantic comedy with shipwrecks and mistaken identities on an island where everyone is in love with someone—and the wrong person loves them back.

William DeMeritt and the cast of “Twelgth Night” at Yale Repertory Theatre, 2019. Directed by Carl Cofield. Photo © Joan Marcus, 2019.

Classical Theatre of Harlem

Twelfth Night kicks off in Marcus Garvey Park on July 5. Carl Cofield directs a hilarious Afrofuturist take on the play with Tony nominee Kara Young as Viola.

Classic Theater of Maryland

Carlo Goldoni’s Servant of Two Masters is onstage through August 30 at Annapolis’s Reynold’s Tavern. See As You Like It beginning July 7 at the Gresham Estate in Edgewater, MD.

Colorado Shakespeare Festival

The Two Gentlemen of Verona is onstage now in Boulder, running though August 7. Later this summer, catch All’s Well That Ends Well, Coriolanus, and Lauren Gunderson’s First Folio-focused The Book of Will. On August 2, don’t miss a one-night-only, “Original Practices” performance of Ben Jonson’s uproarious satire The Alchemist.

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company

The company’s free outdoor production of Much Ado About Nothing opens July 20 on Boston Common. Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian, the production transports us back to the vibrant and colorful 1990s, a time when the Gulf War brought soldiers back in “victory” and pop culture brought us a treasure trove of trends to love. Get ready to explore Shakespeare’s tale of jealousy, love, and self-discovery in a new light. Bringing a new perspective to the roles of Benedick and Beatrice are Tia James and Rachael Warren, respectively, with Erik Robles as Count Claudio, Rebecca-Anne Whitaker as Hero, and Michael Underhill as the dashing Don Pedro.

Folger Theatre’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” begins at the National Building Museum on July 12.

Folger Theatre

This summer, we’re not just “making theater.” We’re building a theater. While our historic building is closed for renovations, we’re taking our show on the road, building a theater from the ground up and staging A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the National Building Museum’s soaring Great Hall. Before the show, visit The Playhouse, a life-sized, immersive installation based on Joanna Robson’s pop-up book A Knavish Lad (part of the Folger collection). Then, join us for a magical new production directed by Victor Malana Maog and featuring Jacob Ming-Trent as Bottom. The show starts July 12!

Gamut Theatre Group

Join Gamut Theatre Group for their 29th annual free Shakespeare in the park production of The Winter’s Tale, onstage through June 18. Then, catch a short encore run of their Educational Engagement Production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, June 22 – 24.

Houston Shakespeare Festival

The festival is thrilled to return to live performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre with a “Summer of Swords.” Stephanie Shine directs King Lear and Jack Young directs Cymbeline, running in repertory from July 27 – August 6 and performed for free in Houston’s beautiful Hermann Park.

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival presents three enthralling and refreshing shows to its audiences this summer season beginning July 7. Romeo and Juliet is seen through a new lens in director Gaye Taylor Upchurch’s bold take on the iconic, boisterous, poetic, and, above all, romantic tale of the star-crossed lovers. In Anne Washburn’s Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play, directed by Davis McCallum, audiences will revel in a love letter to live theater and a hymn of survival and resilience sung by America’s unlikeliest hero: Bart Simpson. In August, catch the touring Woolly Mammoth Theater Company and Folger Shakespeare Library production of Where We Belong. Created and performed by Mohegan theater-maker Madeline Sayet, Where We Belong is an intimate and exhilarating solo piece that follows Sayet’s personal journey of self-discovery, and traces the intertwined relationship between Shakespeare and colonialism.

⇒Related: Watch Madeline Sayet discuss Where We Belong on the Folger’s Shakespeare Lightning Round.

Idaho Shakespeare Festival

On June 17, the festival welcomes Ain’t Misbehavin’ to the amphitheater, under the direction of “mayor of Broadway” Gerry McIntyre. A new production of Romeo and Juliet, directed by associate artistic director Sara Bruner, kicks off in July. Then, in August, catch the delightfully campy horror of Little Shop of Horrors, directed by Victoria Bussert.

Illinois Shakespeare Festival

The summer is already underway at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. This is the last weekend to see The Complete Works of Shakespeare [Abridged], with performances through June 12. Much Ado About Nothing begins July 1. King Lear kicks off July 8.

The Old Globe

A new production of Taming of the Shrew directed by Shana Cooper is onstage through July 10. Later this summer, catch Freestyle Love Supreme (starting June 21) and the legendary Bill Irwin in On Beckett (starting July 14).

Hannah Rose Honoré, Ciera Dawn, and Dominique Lawson (foreground), with Camille Robinson, in “Once on This Island,” Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Photo: Jenny Graham.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Once on this Island, unseen, August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned, The Tempest, and the awesome-sounding new Qui Nguyen musical Revenge Song: A Vampire Cowboys Creation are all onstage now. Beginning in August: Rosh Joshi directs King John and OSF Artistic Director Nataki Garrett directs Dominique Morisseau’s Confederates.

Seattle Shakespeare Company

It’s fairytale summer in Seattle, where the company’s free Wooden O productions are A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Cymbeline, both beginning July 7 and performing in park venues throughout the region. The two outdoor shows will be directed by Artistic Director George Mount (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Associate Artistic Director Makaela Milburn (Cymbeline).

“I originally created a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream 10 years ago for the touring arm of the company,” said Mount. “Puppets on stage bring a whole different kind of wonder and magic that’s perfect for a show that’s all about love and magic. We’re expanding the vision of the show for an outdoor production but keeping it tight to allow for artist creative contributions.”

Milburn created an adaptation of Cymbeline for the summer with artist Meme García. “We’re seeing it as a modern folktale of identity and forgiveness,” said Milburn. “Cymbeline will be a queer-forward story with music that draws upon a joyful blending of different styles and times. 

San Francisco Shakespeare Festival

The Festival’s 40th Season of Free Shakespeare in the Park features Much Ado About Nothing.  The company’s Resident Artists chose the play, feeling, according to Artistic Director Rebecca J. Ennals, that “after the past 2 years, we were ready for a comedy.” But the festival notes that Much Ado’s humor isn’t purely escapist—the darker side of life is very much present, and the lovers have to be brave enough to take risks and be willing to change. “It feels like a good story for our 40th,” says Ennals.

Director Shannon R. Davis describes her directorial focus as “a classical re-envisioning through an intercultural lens to explore societal inequities and raise awareness. Then, I add in satire and silliness.” Shows start in Cupertino’s Memorial Park Amphitheater on July 23, then move to Redwood City and San Francisco.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” begins at Shakespeare Dallas on June 15.

Shakespeare Dallas

It’s a very special summer for Shakespeare Dallas, which brings A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest to the stage starting this month. “We are thrilled to have two of Shakespeare’s greatest works as part of our summer season, welcoming our audience to a summer of magic for our 50th anniversary,” said Executive and Artistic Director Raphael Parry.

Shakespeare at Notre Dame

The Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival has a busy summer planned for its Community, Touring, and Professional Companies. The Community Company kicks off the Festival with Shakespeare After Hours on July 15, with the family-friendly favorite ShakeScenes following on July 16.

The Touring Company also kicks off its summer on July 16, with a new staging of All’s Well That Ends Well traveling to parks and theaters across Michiana through August 22.

Finally, the Professional Company returns to its home in the Patricia George Decio Theatre with a new production of Romeo and Juliet helmed by Chicago-based producer, actor, teacher, and director Chris Anthony, beginning August 16.

Beatrice (Claire Karpen) and Benedick (Stanton Nash) in St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” Phillip Hamer Photography

St. Louis Shakespeare Festival

Much Ado About Nothing returns to St. Louis’s Forest Park through June 26, under the direction of Bruce Longworth, with Claire Karpen as Beatrice and Stanton Nash as Benedick. The show is free, no reservations required. The company also includes Liam Craig (Dogberry), Kenneth Hamilton (Claudio), Sorab Wadia (Don John, and lately of Theater J and Folger Theatre’s Nathan the Wise) and newcomer Carmen Cecilia Retzer (Hero).

Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey

Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Eleanor Holdridge, begins June 29 on the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s Outdoor Stage. Theater-goers 17 and younger see the show for free!

Utah Shakespeare Festival

Summer in Cedar City, Utah, features productions of three plays by Shakespeare (All’s Well That Ends Well, King Lear, and The Tempest), as well as Sweeney Todd, The Sound of Music, Clue, and Thurgood. A nationwide Alice Childressance continues: the Festival’s production of Trouble in Mind, beginning June 24, follows recent high-profile Childress revivals on Broadway and at The Old Globe (Trouble in Mind) and Theatre for a New Audience (Wedding Band).

Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

Theatricum’s 2022 Repertory Season presents two Shakespeare productions: The Merry Wives of Windsor, set in 1950s small-town America to a score of rockin’ ’50s tunes, as well as the theater’s signature production A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which infuses Shakespeare’s beautiful language with music and song to heighten the pleasure.

Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, Atlanta Shakespeare Company, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Classical Theatre of Harlem, Classic Theater of Maryland, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Gamut Theatre Group, Houston Shakespeare Festival, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, The Old Globe, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Shakespeare Company, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare at Notre Dame, Shakespeare Dallas, St Louis Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum are members of the Folger’s Theater Partnership Program.


What about the ASC at the Blackfriars in Staunton or other theater companies in Minneapolis (where I live) say? But I suppose your list was not meant to be representative and not definitive.

Walter Cannon — June 10, 2022

Absolutely: if our list were definitive, it would go on forever. We’re just covering the companies that are a part of our Theater Partnership Program. In Minnesota, looks like you could catch some excellent shows at the Great River Shakespeare Festival, if you didn’t mind a trip down to Winona. In Minneapolis, the Shakespearean Youth Theatre is staging Macbeth in July! And, of course, the ASC has a very cool summer season going down in Stauton.

Ben Lauer — June 23, 2022

Don’t forget our local Maryland National Park and Planning’s Publick Playhouse’s Macbeth on July 24.

Niki Choudhury — June 22, 2022

Thanks Niki! These are just performances from the Folger’s theater partners. But I could never forget about MNPPC’s Macbeth, because I’m actually playing Lennox in it. See you at the Publick!

Ben Lauer — June 22, 2022