Thom Sesma, Charles Busch, Gordana Rashovich
and Jodi Lin in Shanghai Moon
(© Lia Chang)
Thom Sesma, Charles Busch, Gordana Rashovich
and Jodi Lin in Shanghai Moon
(© Lia Chang)
While New York is often a theatrical destination for people from all over the country and the world, if you live in the city (and even if you don't!), you may be in the mood to go somewhere for a weekend or longer. Luckily, you won't have to travel too far away from the Big Apple to see some terrific theater and some of the stage's biggest stars.

The Hamptons

Sag Harbor favorite Charles Busch returns to Bay Street Theatre with Shanghai Moon (June 3-29), a delirious homage to movie melodrama of the 1930s. In addition to the playwright/performer, the production will feature Jarlath Conroy, Julie Halston, Jodi Lin, Gordana Rashovic, and Thom Sesma. Next up will be Chistopher Durang's comedy Beyond Therapy (July 8-27), starring Kate Burton, Katie Finneran, Darren Goldstein, Darrell Hammond, Matt McGrath, and Bryce Pinkham. Alex Timbers directs the production, which opens the season for the Williamstown Theatre Festival (see below). The Fats Waller revue, Ain't Misbehavin' concludes Bay Street's summer season, directed and choreographed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge. It's sure to get the joint jumpin'.

Hudson Valley

Famed architect Frank Gehry designed the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, which houses Bard SummerScape 2008 in Annandale-on-Hudson. The main event of this year's annual festival is Peter Dinklage in the title role of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya (July 9-20), with a cast including Ritchie Coster, Lynn Cohen, Robert Hogan, and Mandy Siegfried. Also on tap will be the world premiere of Mark Morris' Romeo & Juliet, on Motifs of Shakespeare (July 4-8), a restored version of Sergei Profokiev's ballet, to be performed by the Mark Morris Dance Group and the American Symphony Orchestra; Spiegeltent (July 5-August 17), featuring a variety of dance, circus acts, cabaret, and performance art including artists like John Kelly and the Wau Wau Sisters; and George and Ira Gershwin's Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, Of Thee I Sing (August 1-8), directed by Will Pomerantz.

New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Theater's 2008 summer season, to run June 27-August 3 at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, will include mainstage productions of Eric Bogosian's new play 1+1 (July 1-13), to be directed by Mark Brokaw, and Joe Gilford's Finks (July 23-August 3), based on true events from the lives of the author's late parents, Jack and Madeline Gilford. There will also be concert readings of Spring Awakening creators Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik's Nero (July 11-13) and notes to MariAnne (July 18-20) with book, music and lyrics by David Rossmer and Dan Lipton. In addition, new works by playwrights including Stephen Belber, Eve Ensler, Dael Orlandersmith, John Patrick Shanley, Michael Weller, and Alan Zweibel will receive either readings or brief stage productions.

The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in Garrison performs in a tent theater on the grounds of Boscobel House and Gardens, situated on a bluff on the east bank of the Hudson River opposite the United States Military Academy at West Point. The picturesque location is a draw in and of itself, but you can also catch productions of Shakespeare's Cymbeline (June 10-August 30) and Twelfth Night (June 18-August 31). As an added treat, the festival will also offer up the comedy The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (July 22-August 28).

The Berkshires

The Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge offers a something-for-everyone line-up of plays. Jayne Atkinson headlines Anders Cato's production of George Bernard Shaw's Candida (June 17-July 5); James Barry, Jonathan Epstein, and Tommy Schrider will star in Harold Pinter's The Caretaker (May 22-June 28); Matthew Wilkas and Mark Setlock's satiric comedy Pageant Play features the authors along with Daiva Dupree and Jenn Harris (July 1-26); Karen Zacaraias' The Book Club Play (July 8-19) includes Cherise Booth, Sarah Marshall, Keira Naughton, Bhavesh Patel, Tom Story, C.J. Wilson, and Anne Louise Zachry; Robert Bolt's large-cast historical drama A Man for All Seasons (July 22-August 9), will include David Chandler, Greg Keller, Thom Rivera, and Gareth Saxe; and Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot stars David Adkins, Stephen DeRosa, Randy Harrison, David Schramm, and Cooper Stanton (July 29-August 23).

Dick Latessa and Brooks Ashmanskas
in She Loves Me
(© T Charles Erickson)
Dick Latessa and Brooks Ashmanskas
in She Loves Me
(© T Charles Erickson)
Nicholas Martin celebrates his first year as artistic director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival, starting off with his own production of the Joe Masteroff-Jerry Bock-Sheldon Harnick musical She Loves Me (June 28-July 13), starring Brooks Ashmanskas and Kate Baldwin. Other mainstage highlights include Michael Greif's star-studded production of Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters (July 16-27) with Rosemarie DeWitt, Sarah Drew, and Jessica Hecht in the title roles; and David Storey's Home (August 13-24), with Richard Easton, Dana Ivey, and Paxton Whitehead. The smaller Nikos Stage will house Campbell Scott in Ronan Noone's solo piece The Atheist (June 25-July 6); and Bradley Cooper, Kristen Johnston, and Reg Rogers in the world premiere of Theresa Rebeck's The Understudy (July 23-August 3).

Barrington Stage's season includes the return of the award-winning musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (June 11-July 12); the new musical The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (June 18-July 5), written and directed by Joe Calarco with music by Chris Miller and lyrics by Nathan Tysen; the Korean rock musical My Scary Girl (July 9-26); Mary Testa and Michael Starobin's theatrical concert Sleepless Variations (July 31-August 3); Christopher Innvar, Rebecca Brooksher, Tandy Cronyn, Mark H. Dold, and Gretchen Egolf in Noel Coward's Private Lives (August 7-24); and Richard Rodgers Musical Theatre Award winner See Rock City & Other Destinations (August 7-23), featuring book and lyrics by Adam Mathias, music by Brad Alexander, and direction by Kevin Del Aguila.

Not to be overlooked is Shakespeare & Company, which offers Charles Morey's farce The Ladies Man (May 23-August 31), and two of the Bard's celebrated works, All's Well That Ends Well (June 20-August 31), and Othello (July 18-August 31), as well as the world premiere of Christine Whitley's The Goatwoman of Corvis County (August 1-31).

Cape Cod

Highlights at the Cape Playhouse include world-famous mentalist Marc Salem's Mind Games (June 23-July 5); A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine (July 7-19), with Jeffry Denman and Michael McGrath; the Jeffrey Lane-David Yazbek tuner Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (July 21-August 2), featuring Brent Barrett, Dee Hoty, Perry Ojeda, and John Scherer; and Born Yesterday (August 18-30), starring Nancy Anderson, Ross Bickell, and Jeff McCarthy.

At the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre, Tony nominee Max Wright will star in Joe Orton's What the Butler Saw (June 19-July 12). WHAT also presents world premieres of Eric Lane's Ride (June 4-29), Rolin Jones' Short Stack (July 2-27), John Kolvenbach's Fabuloso (August 14-September 6), and David Johnston's The George Place (September 11-October 4).

The Cape Cod Theatre Project provides a valuable service by developing new American plays through week-long workshops followed by staged readings. This year's selections include Carter W. Lewis' comedy, Evie's Waltz (July 10-12); the new musical Reality! (July 17-19), featuring a book by Itamar Moses, music by Gaby Alter, and lyrics by both; John Cariani's Last Gas (July 24-26); and Nocturama (July 31-August 2), by Annie Baker.