At the Boston Center for the Arts, the "imaginary beasts" company premieres Matthew Woods' Impossible Things (June 5-14), inspired by the writing of Lewis Carroll; the Gurnet Theatre Project presents the Boston premiere of Adam Rapp's Essential Self-Defense (June 13-28); and the fledgling Independent Theater Company tackles Patrick Marber's Closer (June 25-28).
The brand-new Fort Point Theatre Channel (the outgrowth of an artsy district) debuts in Gods, Monsters, and the Other, a festival of six short new international works (June 27-28). At the Factory Theatre, the Orfeo Group revives Look Back in Anger (June 19-July 6), with a stellar cast (Daniel Berger-Jones and Liz Hayes as the embattled Porters, Georgia Lyman as the interloper).
Out in the burbs, The Wellesley Summer Theatre Company opts for a classic, Our Town (June 4-28). Gloucester Stage starts in with Billy Bishop Goes to War, a "play with music" about a World War I fighter pilot, with Will McGarrahan as the narrator/pianist (June 5-22), and segues to Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt's Enigma Variations (June 26-July 13), a portrait of the reclusive Nobel Prize-winning Norwegian novelist Abel Znorko. Beverly's North Shore Music Theatre continues its Susan Stroman homage season with Tony Award winner Jarrod Emick in Contact (June 10-29), and Stoneham Theatre initiates Late Night Catechism (June 12-22). Reagle Players, which mixes pros in with amateurs, have secured an impressive divo, Eric Kunze, for the title role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (June 12-21). And Watertown's New Repertory Theatre has scored both a world premiere and a star to launch it: Ken Howard in Dick Flavin's According to Tip (June 22-July 13), a "bioplay" with music about the late Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill, one of Boston's more colorful pols.
New England's strawhat theatres have been entertaining the motoring masses practically since there was such an entity. Wherever you go, you can probably save on gas -- and expand your theatrical horizons -- by signing up for a couple of overlapping productions. Head out to the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre on Cape Cod, for instance, to take in Eric Lane's Ride (June 4-29) -- about three young girls' adventures when they flee rural New Jersey for a road trip -- and you could also fit in the New Provincetown Players' staging of Wendy Kesselman's The Notebook (June 5-15), about two New York private school kids vying for the favor of their esteemed English teacher. Soon enough, you'll want to make a return trip for WHAT's mainstage revival of Joe Orton's What The Butler Saw (June 19-July 12), directed by Boston theatre legend David Wheeler, plus a guest appearance by the young Guthrie-spawned Shakespeare on the Cape troupe in Marivaux's Triumph of Love (June 29-August 31). The Cape Playhouse will kick off its 81st season with Marc Salem's Mind Games, the famed mentalist's antic, interactive exploration of ESP (June 23-July 5). And should you find yourself anywhere near Provincetown's Crown & Anchor club on a Tuesday (June 24-September 9), Whizzin' -- auteur Ryan Landry's hilariously twisted take on The Wizard of Oz -- is an absolute must.
If you venture to the Berkshires for the Williamstown Theatre Festival's sure-to-be-stellar production of Christopher Durang's comedy Beyond Therapy (June 11-22), with Kate Burton, Katie Finneran, Darren Goldstein, and Darrell Hammond, you could supplement it with the Barrington Stage Company's triumphant reprise of its recent Broadway hit, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (June 11-July 12) or a brand-new musical based on Chris Van Allsburg's sophisticated children's book, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (June 18-July 5). In the mood for a classic? Alternate Berkshire Theatre Festival's Candida, with Jayne Atkinson and David Schramm (June 17-July 5), and Shakespeare & Company's All's Well That Ends Well, directed by company founder Tina Packer (June 20-August 31). Before you know it, Williamstown will have two more shows up and running: Campbell Scott in Ronan Noone's corrosive monologue, The Atheist (June 25-July 6), and the charming musical She Loves Me (June 28-July 13), with Brooks Ashmanskas and Kate Baldwin fresh from a triumphant run at Boston's Huntington Theatre.