What makes summertime special for you: swimming, fireworks, cookouts, county fairs? For culture fans, it isn’t really summer without live theater, whether it’s performed under the stars, in a tent or a shed or a converted barn or an air-conditioned former vaudeville house. Put a show or two on your agenda right now, because the season will be over before you know it. Here are a bunch of appealing choices already in progress or opening this weekend:
Powerhouse Theater’s Our Country, Friday/Saturday, July 13/14, 8 p.m., Sunday, July 15, 2 and 7 p.m., Susan Stein Shiva Theater, Vassar College, 124 Raymond Avenue, Poughkeepsie. One of this season’s “Inside Look” workshops that make Powerhouse such a fascinating destination for theater buffs, this work-in-progress by Annie Saunders and Becca Wolff is set in California’s marijuana country, our still-Wild West. Inspired by Sophocles’ Antigone and origin stories from the American frontier, Our Country is based on recorded conversations between the artist and her younger brother. Tickets cost $30 and are available online at https://vassar.tix.com.
Shadowland Stages’ Honky Tonk Laundry, July 13 to August 5, Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m., Sunday, 2 p.m., Shadowland Stages, 157 Canal Street, Ellenville. Michael LaFleur directs Kim Rachelle Harris and Danielle Erin Rhodes in the regional premiere of a brand-new jukebox musical featuring some of the best country-and-Western songs of the last 60 years. There’s not a bad seat in the house in this charmingly restored vintage theater. Tickets cost $39 for evening shows, $34 for matinées, and can be ordered at (845) 647-5511 or https://shadowlandstages.org.
County Players’ A Tuna Christmas, Friday/Saturday, July 13/14, 20/21, 27/28, 8 p.m., Sunday, July 22, Falls Theatre, 2681 West Main Street, Wappingers Falls. The ever-amazing Christine Crawfis directs two actors playing all 22 colorful citizens of the third-smallest town in Texas in Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard’s hilarious sequel to Greater Tuna. Find out why the County Players keep getting voted the Hudson Valley’s favorite regional theater troupe. Tickets cost $20 and $15 and can be ordered at (845) 298-1491 or http://countyplayers.org.
Phoenicia Playhouse’s Mamma Mia, Friday/Saturday, July 14/15, 20/21, 27/28, 8 p.m., Saturday, July 21, Sunday, July 22 and 29, 2 p.m., Phoenicia Playhouse, 10 Church Street, Phoenicia. Tamara Cacchione directs Catherine Johnson’s musical comedy about a young woman who invites three strangers, any of whom could be her birth father, to her wedding. If sitting through a couple of hours of the music of ABBA sounds like more pleasure than torture, this show should be right up your alley! Tickets cost $20 and $18 and are available at (845) 688-2279 or https://phoeniciaplayhouse.com.
Bard SummerScape’s Peter Pan, Thursday/Sunday, July 12, 15, 19, 22, 7 p.m., Friday/Saturday, July 13/14, 20/21, 7:30 p.m., Wednesday/Saturday/Sunday, July 14/15, 18, 21/22, 2 p.m., Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson. Innovative restaging of Leonard Bernstein’s musical adaptation of J. M. Barrie’s beloved play about arrested childhood, directed by Christopher Alden. Ticket prices range from $36 to $95 depending on date and seating location; order yours at (845) 758-7900 or https://tickets.fishercenter.bard.edu.
Murder Café’s Gilligan’s Island of Death, Friday, July 13. August 3, 6 p.m., Thursday, July 19, 11:30 a.m., aboard the Pride of the Hudson, departing from Blu Pointe Landing, Newburgh. In this original interactive play written by Kevin O’Brien and directed by Ellen Pavloff, the castaways from the 1960s TV sitcom become targets of a new reality show’s producers and crew, who pit them against one another for the sake of ratings. When the Minnow’s survivors mysteriously start to drop dead one by one, they soon realize that a murderer is among them. Fun concept, no? Your ticket entitles you to a buffet dinner ($70) or lunch ($45), cash bar and two-hour cruise south on the Hudson River while the show is in progress. For reservations, call (845) 363-4550 or visit www.prideofthehudson.com.
Woodstock Playhouse’s The Music Man, July 6 to 22, Friday/Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Sunday, 2 p.m., Woodstock Playhouse, 103 Mill Hill Road (Route 212), Woodstock. There’s Trouble with a capital T in River City as con man “Professor” Harold Hill tries to scam the naïve townsfolk and gets his comeuppance from Marian the librarian, all ending in a big parade. Meredith Willson’s classic romantic comedy brims with well-loved songs. Tickets cost $32, $36 and $40 and can be ordered at (845) 679-6900 or www.woodstockplayhouse.org.
Coach House Players’ Barnum, Friday/Saturday, July 13/14, 7:30 p.m., Sunday, July 15, 2 p.m., Coach House Players Theater, 12 Augusta Street, Kingston. Tom Tierney directs this revival of Mark Bramble, Michael Stewart and Cy Coleman’s musical treatment of the career of the scurrilous “Prince of Humbug,” 19th-century traveling showman P. T. Barnum. John Thayer and Paula Lucas star. Tickets cost $20, $18 and $10, and are available at (845) 331-2476 or www.coachhouseplayers.org.
Bridge Street Theatre’s The Revenge of the Space Pandas, or Binky Rudich and the Two-Speed Clock, July 12 to 22, Thursday to Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Sunday, 2 p.m., Bridge Street Theatre Mainstage, 44 West Bridge Street, Catskill. Who even knew that David Mamet wrote a kid-friendly retro-sci-fi comedy/adventure play? Blast off for the Planet Crestview with a 12-year-old boy scientist, his female sidekick and a sheep named Bob. Quake with terror as our heroes are taken prisoner by Crestview’s Supreme Ruler, a preening narcissist who’ll stop at nothing to become the only man in the entire Goose Nebula to own a wool letterman’s sweater! Will a nearly-forgotten film star be able to rescue the Earthlings from being whacked-out with a giant pumpkin? Steven Patterson directs. Tickets cost $22, $10 and $5 in advance, available at (800) 838-3006 or https://pandas.brownpapertickets.com, or $25 at the door if not sold out. The July 12 and 15 performances are “pay what you will.”
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s The Heart of Robin Hood, July 12, 15, 17, 21, 23, 27, 30, August 2, 5, 8, 10, 14, 17, 20, 23, 25, 7:30 p.m., HVSF Theater Tent at Boscobel House and Gardens, 1601 Route 9D, Garrison. David Farr’s adaptation of the 700-year-old English folktale, commissioned in 2011 by the Royal Shakespeare Company, puts Marion at center stage and casts the iconic highwayman/champion-of-the-poor in a less-than-heroic light. Come early, bring a picnic and soak up the glorious view of the Hudson Highlands. Tickets range in price from $8.75 to $57.75, and can be ordered at https://hvshakespeare.org/production/the-heart-of-robin-hood.
Woodstock’s Voice Theatre presents a new production of Arthur Miller’s American stage classic All My Sons at the historic Byrdcliffe Theater between July 12 and 29. This production features Ryan Feyk as Chris Keller and John Little as Joe Keller. Performances run Thursdays through Sundays. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m., except Sunday matinées at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $25 general admission, $20 for seniors and students. The Byrdcliffe Theater is located at 380 Upper Byrdcliffe Road in Woodstock. For more information, visit www.voicetheatre.org.