The Pops are on another show-biz roll this month, with Victoria Clark featured in A Richard Rodgers Celebration (June 16-18) and star cabarettist Michael Feinstein presenting The Sinatra Project, based on his new CD (June 19-20). Boston -- specifically, the Berklee Performance Center -- is on Roberto Benigni's trajectory for his Tutto Dante tour (June 6). Also sweeping into town: the national tour of The Color Purple at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre (June 16-28).
At the Boston Center for the Arts, the 2009 African-American Theatre Festival continues with an interesting recasting of The Children's Hour (June 6-11) and a double-bill of inspiring one-acts by Our Place Theater Project founder Jacqui Parker, Feathers On My Arms...Zora Neale Flying High and Bess the Brave, about barrier-breaking pilot Bessie Colman (June 12-13). Also at the BCA, the Boston Eary Music Festival mounts Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea (June 6-14) -- soon to be reprised in the Berkshires, at Great Barrington's Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center (June 19-21) -- and the experimentally inclined Imaginary Beasts company performs Dream of Life, drawn from Federico Garcia Lorca's unfinished work, Play without a Title.
Cambridge's American Repertory Theater extends its focus on David Mamet -- Romance continues on ART's main stage through June 7 -- with a pair of early comedies at Zero Arrow, Sexual Perversity in Chicago and The Duck Variations (June 11-28). The Wellesley Summer Theater Company offers Oscar Wilde's ever-refreshing The Importance of Being Earnest (June 4-28); Waltham's Reagle Players have roped in no less a luminary than Drama Desk Award-winner Rachel York to headline Hello, Dolly! (June 18-27); and up on Cape Ann, Gloucester Stage kicks off its 30th season with the family-pleasing musical You're a Good Man Charlie Brown (June 4-21).
The Cape and Islands are beginning to stir. Provincetown's Art House brings back James Edwin Parker's 2 Boys in a Bed on a Cold Winter's Night (June 5-24), a soul and body-baring hit from last summer, and Naked Boys Singing returns to the Post Office Cabaret for an open-ended run (starting June 25). On Tuesdays, Ryan Landry's Gold Dust Orphans will be whipping up their latest parodic hit, Willy Wanker and the Hershey Highway, at the Crown and Anchor (June 23-September 1).
The Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre takes on Ionesco's The Bald Soprano (June 10-July 6), featuring Brenda Withers (co-creator of Matt & Ben) and Jonathan Fielding. WHAT also snagged a early date to screen the National Theatre satellite transmission of Helen Mirren starring in Ted Hughes's adaptation of Phedre (June 28). The Cape Playhouse in Dennis embarks on its 83rd season with the New England premiere of The Musical of Musicals (June 22-July 4).
On Martha's Vineyard, the Vineyard Playhouse plans a workshop production of Fly, a new play by Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan about the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II (June 17-July 11). The Theater Workshop of Nantucket revives Richard Dresser's A View of the Harbor (June 11-27).
The Berkshires are amping up as well. What better way to start the summer season than with a satirical pastiche? Forbidden Broadway may have abandoned Manhattan for the moment, but you'll find it at Great Barrington's Mahaiwe Theatre for one night only (June 6). Shakespeare & Company has a packed roster, even barring the Bard: The Actors Rehearse the Story of Charlotte Salomon, about an artist fleeing the Gestapo (June 3-14); Pinter's Mirror: A Slight Ache, Family Voices, and Victoria Station (June 11-August 2); Golda's Balcony by William Gibson (June 17-July 3); and, for the kids, Toad of Toad Hall, directed by Irina Brook (June 20-August 29). As for the Shakespeare part? Hamlet, featuring company founder Tina Packer as Queen Gertrude and her son Jason Asprey in the title role (June 26-August 18).
The Barrington Stage Company premieres Mark St. Germain's Freud's Last Session, about a late-life encounter with C.S. Lewis (June 10-28), starring Martin Rayner and Mark H. Dold. BSC artistic director Julianne Boyd is famed for her deft hand with musicals, so hopes are high for Carousel (June 17-July 11), featuring Aaron Ramey and Patricia Noonan as the ill-matched lovers. The Berkshire Theatre Festival welcomes TheaterMania contributor Scott Siegel's star-studded cabaret showcase Broadway by the Year (June 19-27), whose usual home is New York City's Town Hall. Late in the month, the main stage switches gears to reprise The Einstein Project, starring Tommy Schrider as Einstein and James Barry as colleague Werner Heisenberg (June 30-July 18).