Publicity art for Dark Yellow
Publicity art for Dark Yellow
The biggest news in summer theater is the June 21 launch of the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater's Julie Harris Stage, which will operate year-round. The inaugural show there is Sarah Ruhl's award-winning comedy The Clean House (June 21-July 21). Meanwhile, WHAT's humble original home, Harbor Stage, will present Julia Jordan's ominous two-hander Dark Yellow (June 27-July 21).

Elsewhere on Cape Cod, The Cape Playhouse in Dennis kicks off its 81st season with Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt's 2 Pianos 4 Hands (June 18-30), the story of two competing pianists. The Provincetown Art House Theatre offers Steven Fales' solo show Confessions of a Mormon Boy (June 21-July 1), Christopher Kenney as drag star Edie (June 22-September 16), and Jamie Morris's spoof Silence of the Clams (June 29-August 28). The New Provincetown Players mount the crowd-pleasing Forever Plaid (June 23-August 5), and Ryan Landry and his Gold Dust Orphans take up residence at the Crown & Anchor with their side-splitting noir homage The Milkman Always Comes Twice (June 26-September 11).

Out on the islands, Theatre Workshop of Nantucket premieres Suzanne Bradbeer's diner-comedy Lone Star Grace, directed by Giovanna Sardelli (June 13-30), and the Vineyard Playhouse introduces This Island Alone, a study of Chilmark's deaf community by Catherine Rush and Adrian Blue (June 13-July 7).

Berkshire stages are also getting extremely busy. Shakespeare & Co. starts off its 30th season with the Bard's A Midsummer Night's Dream (June 8-September 1) and an improvisatory, two-part portrait of Moliere's Scapin, adapted by Bill Irwin and Mark O'Donnell (June 27-September 1). Elsewhere, Barrington Stage Company celebrates the 50th anniversary of West Side Story with a production directed by Julianne Boyd (June 13-July 14); the Williamstown Theatre Festival kicks off with the quirky solo musical Herringbone, featuring Tony Award winner B.D. Wong as a child star inhabited by the spirit of a demented vaudevillian (June 14-24), and Damian Lanigan's Dissonance, about a classical quartet coping with the incursion of a rock-and-roll idol, starring Daniel Gerroll and Alicia Witt (June 27-July 8); and the Berkshire Theatre Festival revives Terrence McNally's award-winning comedy Love! Valour! Compassion! (June 19-July 7).

The city of Boston is far from dormant. American Repertory Theatre's graduating students get to show their stuff in Ionesco's The Killing Game at the Zero Arrow Theater (June 1-9), while Scottish comedian Billy Connolly brings his popular Billy Connolly Live! to ART's Loeb Theatre (June 12-16). Jack Holmes impersonates Robert F. Kennedy in RFK at the Stuart Street Playhouse (opens June 7); the incomparable Kiki & Herb bring their tragedy-tinged, hysteria-inducing song stylings to the Huntington Theatre Company's Wimberly Theater (June 13-30); and Riverdance returns once more to the Shubert (June 20-July 8).

Kathy St. George serves up her solo tribute And Now Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Judy Garland at the Lyric Stage (starting June 8); area favorite Bobbie Steinbach directs Marcia Norman's one-act 3rd and Oak: The Laundromat at an actual laundromat in Brighton (June 15-24); Small World Big Sky mounts a New England premiere of Tom Stoppard's Indian Ink at the Boston Center for the Arts (June 15-July 1); and Queer Soup Theater marks its fifth anniversary with a new-works festival, lost & found (June 18-July 21), at the Boston Playwrights Theatre.

Wellesley Summer Theatre mounts Much Ado about Nothing, starring Derek Stone Nelson as Benedick and Alicia Kahn as Beatrice (June 2-30), in tandem with a family-oriented adaptation of The Wind in the Willows (June 16-23). Gloucester Stage premieres Our Son's Wedding, a comedy about a same-sex Italian-American affair by Donna De Matteo (June 7-24), and Mike Batistick's Ponies, about immigrants drawn to the action at OTB (June 28-July 15). On the lighter side, the Reagle Players in Waltham revives its delightful 2002 production of Singin' in the Rain (June 14-23), and Stoneham Theatre offers the bio-musical George M. Cohan, Tonight! (June 14-July 1).