The Williamstown Theatre Festival serves up The Front Page (July 4-15) with Richard Kind, Jason Butler Harner and Wayne Knight; Crispin Whittell's Villa America (July 11-22) a portrait of Jazz Age bon vivants and art patrons Gerald and Sara Murphy and their famous friends; the Noel Coward classic Blithe Spirit (July 18-29) with a cast including Adriane Lenox, Jessica Hecht, and Wendie Malick; and Broadway talents Hunter Foster, Malcolm Gets, Kaitlin Hopkins, and Kate Reinders in the Daniel Goldfarb/David Kirshenbaum musical Party Come Here (July 25 - August 5), which takes place one crazy night in Rio.
Barrington Stage Company remounts Peter Shaffer's 1965 farce Black Comedy (July 19 - August 4) and workshops Kirsten Child's Funked Up Fairy Tales (July 31 - August 11). The Tanglewood Music Festival stages its very first musical, as Keith Lockhart conducts the Boston Pops in a concert version of Carousel (July 10).
Before Tina Packer assays one of the title roles in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra (July 27 - September 2) at Shakespeare & Company, the theater fast-forwards a few centuries with Joe Penhall's biting 2000 comedy Blue/Orange (July 14 - September 2), about the interplay between race and mental healthcare.
Dale Wasserman's dramatization of Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, the ground-breaking psych-ward drama, resurfaces at the Berkshire Theatre Festival (July 13-28), starring Jonathan Epstein, Linda Hamilton, and Randy Harrison. The smaller Unicorn stage introduces Julie Jensen's Two-Headed (July 25 - August 18), about two late-19th century Mormon wives in Utah. BTF will also host a return visit by monologist Rick Cleveland, who will present his presidentially inspired shaggy-dog story, My Pal George (July 3-21).
Boston may be becalmed, but far from somnolent. The American Repertory Theatre jazzes up the summer schedule with A Marvelous Party! The Noël Coward Celebration (July 13-29). New Rep is also extending its season with the musical revue: Side By Side By Sondheim (July 7- 22), featuring area favorite Leigh Barrett and local radio host Jonathan Colby. Small but feisty Company One, in residence at the Boston Center for the Arts, presents Noah Haidle's Mr. Marmalade (July 13 - August 11) with local actor/author John Kuntz as the vice-ridden title character.
For an unbeatable all-family treat -- it's free! -- take in A Midsummer Night's Dream performed by Commonwealth Shakespeare on the Common (July 24-29). The Publick Theatre will be running Romeo and Juliet (July 26 - September 16) in repertory with Shaw's Misalliance (July 5 - September 9). TheatreZone will be offering Friedrich Durrenmatt's The Visit / La Visita (July 11-28) in a choice of English or Spanish.
Stars abound in the suburbs. Waltham's Reagle Players offers The King and I (July 12-21), starring Broadway's Sarah Pfisterer. Academy Award nominee Lindsay Crouse will embody Emily Dickinson in The Belle of Amherst at Gloucester Stage Company, alternating with Paul O'Brien and Sandra Shipley in Jerome Kilty's Dear Liar, based on the correspondence of George Bernard Shaw and Mrs. Patrick Campbell (July 19 - August 12).
The venerable Cape Playhouse in Dennis offers up Paul Rudnick's Regrets Only starring Dee Hoty (July 2-14), followed by Thoroughly Modern Millie (July 16-28), and Beehive, the 60's Musical! (July 30 - August 11).
With its beautiful new Julie Harris Stage, the once-humble Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre is operating at full tilt. Film director Andre Gregory stops in for a visit (July 16-17) to screen and discuss his 1981 film, My Dinner with Andre and present Bone Songs, a meditation on marriage. After that, comes Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's award-winning play, Hunter Gatherers, a dark comedy about two couples who go primal over dinner (July 26 - September 1). On the tamer side, WHAT launches its kids' show, Daisy Crockett (July 9 - August 30), under a big top.
The Payomet Performing Arts Center is a rather grandiose name for yet another tent (they're awaiting a real home), but productions here have been impressive. Cait Langstaff portrays prickly Lillian Hellman in William Luce's one-woman show Lillian (July 5-29). Shakespeare on the Cape, a troupe of Guthrie grads, has moved into the Provincetown Theater, where they'll present an adaptation of Much Ado about Nothing (July 3 - August 28), as well as the recently discovered Tennessee Williams play Parade (July 4 - September 5). Also in Provincetown this summer is Lea Delaria: DeLightful DeLicious DeLaria, at the Provincetown Art House Theatre (July 15 - September 18).
Boston's Up You Mighty Race Company is bringing Robert Johnson's well-received historical drama, Patience of Nantucket, to the island that inspired it (July 5-15). Meanwhile, Theatre Workshop of Nantucket mounts Brian Friel's allegorical Faith Healer (July 5-21). The Vineyard Playhouse -- on Martha's Vineyard -- presents Lee Blessing's hostage drama Two Rooms (July 11-28) and, in the Tisbury Amphitheatre, The Tempest (July 18 - August 11).
Finally, The North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly was one of only a handful of venues nationwide to be awarded professional rights to Disney's wildly popular High School Musical (July 3-29), in which pros will mix with some very excited local kids. Also lined up to amuse youngsters: Russian American Kids Circus (July 13), Tap Kids (July 20), and the musical group Hot Peas and Butter (July 27).