Guide to 2019 Summer Theater in New Hampshire

Andy’s Summer Playhouse features outstanding plays performed by talented children. Photo by John Hession

NH is home to some truly excellent talent and venues. Whether you appreciate Shakespeare or Broadway, there’s sure to be something happening that you’ll love. Here you’ll find, in alphabetical order, seasonal summer theater venues from across the state.

This summer you could spend a sunny afternoon with the family watching a production of “Beauty and the Beast” at the Prescott Park Arts Festival in Portsmouth, experience Shakespeare’s eternal brilliance in Sandwich, see an original work at The Players’ Ring, enjoy a night at the opera with Opera North and much, much more.

Venues:

Advice to the Players | Andy’s Summer Playhouse | Barnstormers Theatre | Hatbox Theatre | Interlakes Summer Theatre | Jean’s Playhouse | Little Church Theater | M&D Playhouse | New London Barn Playhouse | Opera North | The Palace Theatre | Peterborough Players | The Players’ Ring | Prescott Park Arts Festival | Seacoast Repertory Theatre | Weathervane Theatre | The Winnipesaukee Playhouse

Advice to the Players

July-August
As Hamlet said in his advice to the players, “Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor” and head over to the Advice to the Players to hear the challenging but inspiring words of Shakespeare. Advice to the Players is an award-winning company that brings Shakespeare’s words to life every spring and summer in Sandwich and North Conway. This talented group of Shakespeare enthusiasts has been presenting Shakespeare performances and workshops in New Hampshire’s Lakes and Mountain Region since 1999. The company is a mix of professionals, community members and teenagers.

Summer 2019 Performances:

  • Kevin G. Coleman’s “Shakespeare and the Language that Shaped the World,” July 12-21. This Second Stage production will take place at The Arts Center, 12 Main St., Center Sandwich.
  • “Measure for Measure,” August 2-11. The mainstage production can be seen at Quimby Park and the Sandwich Town Hall Theatre.

Click here or call (603) 986-6253 for information and tickets.


Andy’s Summer Playhouse

July 5-August 17
Andy’s Summer Playhouse features innovative plays by children but they’re intended to be enjoyed by those of all ages. From the website: “Andy’s Summer Playhouse exists to provide a safe environment for children to experience and learn about all aspects of the performing arts, with the goal of creating innovative theater for the surrounding community. Andy’s emphasizes education and community building, encouraging all participants to explore their own creativity.”

Summer 2019 Performances:

  • Mainstage production: “Goblin Secrets,” July 5-13 Adapted and Directed by Wyckham Avery, from the National Book Award-winning novel by William Alexander. Hoping to find his lost brother, Rownie escapes the home of the witch Graba and joins a troupe of goblins who perform in Zombay, a city where humans are forbidden to wear masks and act in plays.
  • “Ripe Frenzy,” July 18-20 One of two Teen Intensive performances. Winner of the National New Play Network’s 2016 Smith Prize, this site-specific production brings us to Tavistown, New York, where a recent tragedy has rocked the community to its core. Narrator and town historian, Zoe, recounts the days leading up to the incident, as the high school prepares for the semi-annual production of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town.” Jennifer Barclay’s new play is a stunning narrative about community in the wake of unspeakable devastation.
  • URL vs. IRL,” July 25-27 This is the second Teen Intensive play. What is more real, the lives that we lead in “the real world” or “the online world?” Combining the use of high-tech gaming technology and low-tech theatricality, “URL vs. IRL” will follow a group of teenage characters as their lives intersect and collide online and off.
  • The Resisters: A Football Musical” August 8-17 When a group of girls want to shake things up in their high school by creating a new sports team, they are met with a series of unexpected set backs. What’s the big deal with an all-girls high school wanting to join the rest of the New England prep school league in a sport that has been around since the American Civil War? Join this group of rule-bending, form-smashing, heart-crushing girls as they line up against their All-American, Undefeated, “Nothing-Has-Ever-Been-In-Their-Way” team of Boys. Yes, this gang of female bandits has started a football team, named “The Resisters.” 11 men on a field, they say? Hut hut, HIKE!

Click here or call (603) 654-2613 for information, tickets and details on other programs such as the Andy’s Academy workshops, the apprenticeship program and more.

582 Isaac Frye Hwy., Wilton


The Barnstormers Theatre

June 27-August 31
Located in the charming small village of Tamworth, the Barnstormers is one of the longest-running professional summer theatres in the country. The company was founded in 1931 by Francis Cleveland, the youngest son of President Grover Cleveland, Francis’s wife Alice and their friend Ed Goodnow – all of whom were involved with theatre on Broadway. Today, The Barnstormers is one of three Equity theatres in New Hampshire, and consists of over 40 professional actors, some of which have been performing at Barnstormers for 50 years.

Summer 2019 Performances:

  • “Damn Yankees,” June 27-July 6
  • “Laughter on the 23rd Floor,” July 11-20
  • “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” July 25-August 3
  • Agatha Christie’s “Spider Web,” August 8-17
  • “Things My Mother Taught Me,” August 22-31

104 Main St., Tamworth
(603) 323-8500
Click here for tickets and information


Hatbox Theater

Boundary-pushing black box theatres may seem like a luxury reserved for college campuses and big cities but, with the opening of Hatbox Theatre, Concord has recently gained one of its own. The 99-seat space (located in a former Coldwater Creek in the Steeplegate Mall) hosts a wide variety of theatrical and performing arts productions throughout the year, from one-act plays to magic shows by the theater’s owner, Absolutely Magic’s Andrew Pinard. Here’s a sample of what’s coming up summer 2019:

  • “Little Shop of Horrors.” May 31-June 16 This classic dark comedy will be brought to life via a vibrant and powerful production that will use various scale of puppetry and movement, as well as shadow, projection and other multi-media effects.
  • Absinthe and Opium Burlesque “Once Upon a Time,” June 20-22 In this 18+ show, the ladies and gentleman of the troupe will bring you an all out tour de force of the stories we may remember most from our childhood, but done with a twist. The night will include as always the art of the strip tease, comedy, dance, singing and hijinks galore.
  • “Bakersfield Mist,” July 5-14 A one-act, 90-minute play inspired by the true story of a California woman who bought a painting for a few dollars in a thrift shop and thought it could possibly be a lost Jackson Pollock masterpiece worth millions.
  • “The 28th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” July 18-28 Winner of the Tony and the Drama Desk awards for best book, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” has charmed audiences across the country with its effortless wit and humor. Featuring a fast-paced, wildly funny and touching book by Rachel Sheinkin and a truly fresh and vibrant score by William Finn, this bee is one unforgettable experience.
  • “Constellations” August 1-11 One relationship. Infinite possibilities. Nick Payne’s “Constellations” is a two-person romantic comedy that explores the limitless possibilities of love in the multiverse.
  • “Next to Normal” August 16-25 Cue Zero Theatre Company presents the 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winner “Next to Normal.” In this rock musical, we get an unflinching look at a suburban family struggling with the effects of mental illness.

270 Loudon Rd., Concord, hatboxnh.com


Interlakes Summer Theatre

July 3-August 18
This company seeks to bring the Lakes Region a wide variety of productions, from children’s theatre to classic favorites.

Summer 2019 Performances:

  • “Funny Girl,” July 3-14
  • “Rag Time,” July 17-28
  • “Mamma Mia,” July 31-August 11
  • “Saturday Night Fever,” August 14-18

1 Laker Ln., Meredith.
Click here or call (603) 707-6035 for information and tickets.


Jean’s Playhouse

June 20-September 14
This North Country theatre has been open for more than three decades and prides itself on bringing the community together. Over 150,000 locals have come out to support the theatre and each summer the children’s theatre entertains over 12,000 members of nearby communities. The new Jean’s Playhouse (opened in the summer of 2012) features comfortable seating, a bigger lobby and better heating and air conditioning. Jean’s Playhouse is home to many concerts and events throughout the year, but stop by in the summer and fall for great theatre.

Summer 2019 Performances:

  • “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” June 20-29
  • “Titanic the Musical,” July 11-27
  • “Cinderella,” August 1-17
  • “The Fantasticks,” August 21-31
  • “Almost, Maine,” September 5-14

34 Papermill Drive, Lincoln
Click here or call (603) 745-2141 for information on summer show and tickets


Little Church Theater

This Holderness venue — located in, sure enough, a small former church — has a knack for fun productions and bold choices.

Summer 2019 Performances:

Details not yet available — check back soon!

Little Church Theater
Route 113, Holderness
littlechurchtheater.com


M&D Playhouse

Tucked away in a strip mall on the edge of the White Mountains, North Conway’s M&D Playhouse has quietly amassed a reputation in its 18-year history for staging some of the most challenging theatre in the state. Daring past productions include “Equus” and “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

Summer 2019 Performances:

  • “The Shadow Box,” May 23-June 10 Michael Cristofer’s “The Shadow Box” was the recipient of both the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for best play in 1977. The play follows three cancer patients as they live out their last days in a cottage community hospice environment and, along with their families and loved ones, attempt to come to terms with their circumstances. Although the subject is death and dying, “The Shadow Box” celebrates life, love and family ties, and places those things at the top of the focus list.
  • “The 39 Steps,” July 4-21 Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, add a dash of Monty Python and you have The 39 Steps, a fast-paced whodunit for anyone who loves the magic of theatre! This two-time Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning treat is packed with nonstop laughs, over 150 zany characters (played by a ridiculously talented cast of four), an onstage plane crash, handcuffs, missing fingers, and some good old-fashioned romance.
  • “Little Shop of Horrors,” August 15-September 1 The meek floral assistant Seymour Krelborn stumbles across a new breed of plant he names “Audrey II” – after his coworker and crush. This foul-mouthed, R&B-singing carnivore promises unending fame and fortune to the down and out Krelborn as long as he keeps feeding it … blood. Over time, though, Seymour discovers Audrey II’s out of this world origins and intent towards global domination.

M&D Playhouse
1857 White Mountain Hwy., North Conway
Click here or call (603) 733-5275 for more information.


New London Barn Playhouse

June 12-September 1
One of the oldest summer stock theatres in the country, the New London Barn Players combine emerging talent with seasoned professionals to produce high quality theatre. Although some things have changed since its 1933 opening (such as the 50-cent tickets), Mr. Holmes’ core mission still stands true – “To establish … a theatre group presenting dramas of stimulating artistic and literary merit.”

Summer 2019 Performances:

  • “The Pajama Game,” June 12-23
  • “Peter and the Starcatcher” June 26-July 7
  • “The Odd Couple,” July 10-14
  • “Grease,” July 17-August 4
  • “Catch Me If You Can,” August 7-18
  • “The Marvelous Wonderettes,” August 21-September 1
  • Select Mondays (July 1, 22 and August 12) see the new Spotlight Series, formerly known as New London Barn Idols.
  • Children’s Theater Series at the Barn: The 2019 Children’s Theater Series consists of five shows performed by the Barn’s own Junior Intern Company.

84 Main St., New London
Click here or call (603) 526-6710 for information and tickets.


Opera North

July 12-August 10
Opera North (ON) is in its 37th season in the Upper Valley. Opera North is a nonprofit, professional opera company serving residents of this region and beyond. Throughout its 37-year existence, ON has focused on bringing classical music theater to this region in its myriad of styles and through the nurturing of talent. Opera North is the only full-time opera company in the tri-state region of New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine that stages original productions.

Summer 2019 Performances:

  • “Hoedown at Blow-Me-Down Farm,” July 12-14 This unique not-to-be-missed event blends opera with the circus. Big Apple Circus director Mark Lonergan and a team of professional circus artists team up with Opera North again this summer for an exciting new production. Celebrate American dreams with the music of Copland, Gershwin, Rodgers and Hammerstein and more.
  • “Pirates of Penzance,” July 26-28 at Blow-Me-Down Farm
  • “Macbeth,” August 4-10 at the Lebanon Opera House
  • Special events include the Aria Jukebox at the United Methodist Church in Lebanon (July 7), veranda concert at the Fells Historic Estate and Gardens in Newbury (July 21), the Lake Sunapee musical cruise (July 24 and August 7) and more.

51 North Park St., Lebanon
Click here or call (603) 448-4141 for information.


The Palace Theatre

July 4-September 29
The Palace Professional Theatre for Children Series takes the stage this summer at one of New Hampshire’s most well known and historic theatres. The beautiful 840-seated theatre is the only one of it’s kind in the area. The children’s series will have you and your children leave the theatre singing.

Summer 2019 Performances:

  • “Shrek Jr.,” July 4-5
  • “Into the Woods Jr.,” June 12-13 and 18-19
  • “Beauty and the Beast,” July 9-11
  • “Peter Pan,” July 16-18
  • “The Wizard of Oz,” July 23-25, September 13-15, 20-22 and 27-29
  • “The Little Mermaid,” July 30-August 1
  • “Aladdin,” August 6-8
  • “Jack and the Beanstalk,” August 13-15
  • “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” August 20-22

Also, don’t miss the 2019 Summer Children’s Series including events like Magician BJ Hickman (July 2-3)

80 Hanover St., Manchester
Click here or call (603) 668-5588 for an updated list of plays and ticket information.


Peterborough Players

June 19-September 15
A true rustic theatre company, the Peterborough Players was founded in 1933 and perform in an 18th-century barn to this day, but don’t worry — there’s air conditioning. Each season seven mainstage productions are showcased and two second company children shows. Though the summer season is a must, the Players are now offering a full year of events.

Summer 2019 Performances:

  • “Mahida’s Extra Key to Heaven,” June 19-30 Cultures collide in a chance encounter between an Iranian college student and a lonely American artist. Playwright Russell Davis sends Mahida and Thomas on a beautifully awkward search for common ground in this fascinating blend of tense drama, and inspired comedy. Rated PG-13
  • “Gertrude Stein and a Companion,” July 3-14 This evocative and witty play explores the 40-year relationship between avant-garde novelist, poet, playwright and art collector, Gertrude Stein and her partner, editor and muse Alice B. Toklas. Rated PG-13
  • “Morning’s at Seven,” July 17-28 The four highly strung Gibbs sisters have lived next door to each other most of their long lives. Three are married, and one, Esther, managed to escape with her husband to a few blocks away. But only Ida has produced a child. Homer is now 40, and after eleven years of courtship, may or may not be getting married himself. In his play Morning’s at Seven, playwright and screenwriter, Paul Osborne (“East of Eden,” “South Pacific”), captures the Midwestern eccentricity of a simpler time to hilarious effect.
  • “She Loves Me,” July 31-August 11 One of the most charming musicals ever written, “She Loves Me” is a heart-stopping comedy about finding love in a very old-fashioned way. Georg and Amalia, two sparring co-workers in a 1930s Budapest perfume shop, simply can’t see eye to eye. But using the “lonely hearts advertisements” in the newspaper, each of them has found and fallen for the perfect secret admirer. MGM twice used the same source material, the Hungarian play “Parfumerie” by Miklós László, to make classic movies: “The Shop Around the Corner” starring James Stewart and “In the Good Old Summertime” starring Judy Garland. But it took Harold Prince and the writers of “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Cabaret” to bring “She Loves Me” to Broadway. Rated PG
  • “Dumas’ Camille,” August 14-25 In 1895 Paris an elderly man, confused and unwell, disrupts a rehearsal of Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata.” As he is being escorted from the theatre, he is recognized as Alexandre Dumas fils, the world famous author of the novel and the play “La Dame aux Camélias” upon which “La Traviata” is based. As the rehearsal continues, Dumas remembers his love affair of a half century prior that inspired his novel and play as well as Verdi’s opera. Prompted by the soaring arias and duets, Dumas is forced to confront his memories, regrets and guilt as he tries to reconcile the conflict between the reality of actual events and the varying levels of fiction and artifice he created from those events. “Dumas’ Camille” is a play with music filled with Verdi’s rich and powerful melodies from “La Traviata.”
  • “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” August 28-September 8 Fifteen years after slamming the door on her marriage, leaving her husband and children behind, Nora opens the door again. Now a successful and somewhat scandalous writer, she needs her not-quite-ex-husband’s help. But her husband, daughter and nurse have a few grievances they want to air.
  • “Rose,” September 11-15 Rose is a survivor. Her remarkable life began in a tiny Russian village, took her to Warsaw’s ghettos and a ship called The Exodus, and finally to the boardwalks of Atlantic City, the Arizona canyons and salsa-flavoured nights in Miami Beach. The play is both a sharply drawn portrait of a feisty Jewish woman and a moving reminder of some of the events that shaped the 20th century.

Second Company Children’s Shows:

  • “How I Became a Pirate,” June 22-July 20 Sail off on a fantastic musical excursion when a band of comical pirates lands at North Beach looking for an expert digger to join their crew. Braid Beard and his mates enlist young Jeremy Jacob as they try to find the perfect spot to bury their treasure. Jeremy finds that adventuring can be lots of fun, but also learns that love and home are treasures you can’t find on any map.
  • “Cindy Reilly,” August 17-24 A modern retelling of “Cinderella”

55 Hadley Rd., Peterborough
Click here or call (603) 924-7585 for information and tickets.


The Players’ Ring

June-August
The Players’ Ring aims to promote local artists by performing original works at an affordable price. Each winter, The Players’ Ring holds the Producers’ Meeting where theatrical artists of all types come to propose plays and performance pieces for the upcoming season, including the Late Night Summer Season.

2019 Late Night Summer Series

  • Wilderness,” June 21-30 An original tale of mistrust, violence, stars, solitude and what lies unseen.
  • “A Backwards Fairytale,” July 5-14 A narrator prepares to read what he thinks is an ordinary fairytale. But, he is taken by surprise when the princess refuses to do anything the fairytale says.
  • “Jason, Jason and Florence,” July 19-28 What if all of your bad thoughts, were a person? And what if this person was the only one you could trust?
  • “Final Analysis,” August 2-11 A therapist thinks he can go through the motions of caring for his clients until two women from his past return to both terrify and terrorize him.
  • “Somebody Dies,” August 16-25 “Somebody Dies” is a triple dose of dark comedy from the heart and mind of Chris Elliott, noted L.A./Portsmouth renaissance rap trumpet troubadour and raconteur extraordinaire.

105 Marcy St., Portsmouth
Click here or call (603) 436-8123 for information and tickets.


Prescott Park Arts Festival

June-August
A delightful s summer tradition since 1974. Held in the waterfront Prescott Park, the festival offers a full summer of events that are family appropriate. Live theater is highlighted here, but the festival includes much more, including outdoor movies, music, a fairy house tour, chowder fest, road race, chili cook-off, brewfest and other entertainment and special events.

Summer 2019 Performances:

  • “Beauty and the Beast,” running most Thursdays through Sundays from June 21-August 17. Thursday and Sunday shows will begin at 7 p.m. while Friday and Saturday shows start at 8 p.m. At each show you can buy a table, reserve a blanket and even order a pizza.
  • Check out Camp ENCORE, where performers, artists and aspiring technicians, ages 8-17, all work together towards a common goal — a fully produced musical presented at the end of each session.

Click here for tickets and more information.


Seacoast Repertory Theatre

All year
This award-winning professional performance space once acted as the warehouse for the Portsmouth Brewing Company in the ’70s but has since made a great addition to the seacoast community’s theatre life. Though there are performances all year long, Portsmouth is a popular summer destination, and it would be a shame to leave out this excellent theatre. While you’re in town to soak up some summer seaside life, stop in at the Rep for an excellent show.

Summer 2019 Performances:

  • “West Side Story,” June 13-July 20
  • “Evita,” July 25-August 24

Second Stage Performances:
Now you can see even more great shows just across the border. In partnership with with the Kittery Community Center’s Star Theatre, the Rep offers even more professional theater at the well-equipped and comfortable STAR Theatre in addition to what’s happening in Portsmouth.

  • “The Wolves,” June 25-July 7
  • “Hair,” July 18-August 4
  • “The Sunshine Boys,” August 29-September 8

125 Bow St., Portsmouth
Click here or call (603) 433-4472 for information and tickets.


Weathervane Theatre

July 9-August 31
The Weathervane Theatre brings Broadway all the way to North Country New Hampshire for its 53rd season this summer. Weathervane is the only professional alternating repertory theatre in the country, producing seven shows in eight weeks – a different show every night. See the full calendar here.

Summer 2019 Performances:

  • “Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” opens July 9
  • “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeksn” opens July 10
  • “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill,” opens July 13
  • “Spring Awakening” in concert, opens July 22
  • “The Drowsy Chaperone,” opens July 23
  • “Bright Star,” opens August 1
  • “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” opens August 12
  • “Sister Act,” opens August 21

389 Lancaster Rd., Whitefield
Click here or call (603) 837-9322 for information and tickets.


The Winnipesaukee Playhouse

June 12-September 7 (and all year long)
The Playhouse is a nonprofit, award-winning theatre churning out high-energy shows. Newer to the theatre scene, The Playhouse was founded in 2004, but is still considered a gem to central New Hampshire. You can catch performances all year long, but there’s something extra special about catching a show on a warm summer evening after a day spent on the lake. The Playhouse also offers some excellent summer youth educational camps and other programming.

Summer 2019 Performances:

  • “On Golden Pond,” June 12-22 This special production features “On Golden Pond” creator Ernest Thompson as both director and actor in the role of Norman.
  • “Moon Over Buffalo,” June 26-July 6 Buffalo is not Broadway. And touring actors Charlotte and George Hay are not Barrymores or Lunts. That sets the stage for a hilarious farce by an American master who delivers not only one play-within-a-play but two in this backstage ham sandwich that combines the fading thespians with agents, ingenues, roues, and some misbegotten swordplay designed to wow a Hollywood director who may (or may not) arrive.
  • “Avenue Q,” July 11-20 In this multiple Tony-winning musical, new and surprising friends take recent college grad, Princeton, under their wing and give him a slice-of-life experience like nothing he – or we – might imagine. No sweet and goofy childhood rhymes here: these character puppets swear, have noisy sex, and still endear themselves to audiences despite foul language and adult situations.
  • “Chicago,” July 25-August 10 The Second City takes center stage in this bold and brassy Broadway hit.
  • “Look Who’s Coming to Diner,” August 14-24 What could be more traditional than a young woman bringing her fiancé home to meet the parents? The Drayton household exudes traditional white, progressive thinking in a comfortable setting in San Francisco. While 1967’s summer of love bursts out elsewhere in town, love’s challenge here is that the daughter’s fiancé turns out to be a black man.
  • “California Suite,” August 28-September 7 Sweet. And Sassy. And Simon: As in Neil Simon, arguably America’s foremost and celebrated comedy writer, whose multiple Tonys, Golden Globe, Pulitzer Prize, and Mark Twain Award (not to mention more than 4 dozen plays and multiple film and tv screenplays) attest to the high regard for all his works. On the one-year anniversary of his passing, you’ll clearly hear his voice and laugh along with this suite of stories, West-Coast style.

50 Reservoir Rd., Meredith
Click here or call (603) 366-7377 for information and tickets.

Categories: Arts & Shopping, Guide to Summer

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