Summertime: when the stars take the stage on their breaks from doing film and television. Many people seem to think that theater is limited to New York City and celebrities to Los Angeles, but by the looks of things, that's far from true. From stages as far west as San Diego, as south as Georgia, and right up to Chicago, your favorite celebrities are treading boards across the country. Read on to find out who's taking their act on the road in June, July, and August.
1. The Delacorte Theater — Central Park, New York
For the second offering of the Public Theater's free Shakespeare in the Park initiative, Daniel Sullivan directs King Lear, with Tony and Emmy winner John Lithgow (Dexter, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, 3rd Rock From the Sun) in the title role. Joining him is four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right, American Beauty) as his evil daughter Goneril. Tickets, as the name of the program specifies, are free and available either via a virtual lottery or in person, but we advise getting there at 5am to snap up one of these coveted tickets.
2. Old Globe Theatre — San Diego, California
A trio of television (and theater) favorites — Emmy winner Richard Thomas (The Waltons), Blair Underwood (L.A. Law), and Kristen Connolly (House of Cards) — take on Shakespeare's Othello through July 27 under the direction of Shakespeare expert Barry Edelstein. The eternally hunky Underwood tackles the title role, with Thomas as the scheming Iago and Connolly as the ill-fated Desdemona.
3. Williamstown Theatre Festival — Williamstown, Massachusetts
Audiences that flock to this bucolic stage company in the Berkshire Mountains have the opportunity to see a host of boldface names performing brief runs in new and well-known shows. From July 16-26, the region will see opera star Renée Fleming and New Girl cast member Justin Long in Joe DiPietro's Living on Love, an adaptation of Garson Kanin's play Peccadillo. Then from July 23-August 2, Sam Rockwell (Seven Psychopaths) and Tony winner Nina Arianda (Midnight in Paris) will take on Sam Shepard's Fool for Love. Simultaneously, Tony winner Chita Rivera will star in the long-simmering Kander and Ebb musical The Visit from July 31-August 17.
4. Bucks County Playhouse — Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Taxi star Marilu Henner takes on one of the four title roles (Masha) in Christopher Durang's Tony-winning Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike from July 17-August 10. Sheryl Kaller, who helmed Terrence McNally's Mothers and Sons at the venue and on Broadway, directs the dark comedy, which, in an even more interesting casting coup, also stars playwright Durang as the titular Vanya.
5. Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company — Atlanta, Georgia
Tony winning-director Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun, Holler If Ya Hear Me) joins Tony-winning actress Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show) in Bernard Slade's classic 1975 romantic comedy Same Time Next Year. Directed by Chris Coleman, the production runs July 8-August 3 at the Southwest Arts Center.
6. The Muny — St. Louis, Missouri
On its summer roster, this well-known outdoor theater is presenting recent Broadway musicals Billy Elliot, Tarzan, and The Gershwins' Porgy & Bess, alongside classics like Grease, Seussical, and Hello, Dolly! The last of these, running from August 11-17, stars Tony winner Beth Leavel (The Drowsy Chaperone) in the title role, alongside Seinfeld and Dancing With the Stars favorite John O'Hurley as the blustery Horace Vandergelder.
7. Steppenwolf Theatre — Chicago, Illinois
Michael Cera (Arrested Development), Kieran Culken (subUrbia), and fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson (Rookie) star in Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth through July 27. The revival, directed by Anna D. Shapiro, comes to Broadway's Cort Theatre on August 18.
8. Powerhouse Theater — Poughkeepsie, New York
Tony and Emmy winner Robert Morse (Mad Men, How to Succeed…) makes his long-awaited return to the stage with In Your Arms, a theatrical dance piece conceived by Tony winners Christopher Gattelli and Stephen Flaherty. Gattelli directs and choreographs the show (July 5-13), which brings to life 10 different vignettes written by the likes of Carrie Fisher, Marsha Norman, and Alfred Uhry.
9. Hollywood Bowl —Hollywood, California
Frozen and Veronica Mars lead Kristen Bell and Weeds favorite Hunter Parrish take on the roles of Sheila and Claude in the classic musical Hair, directed by Adam Shankman for this outdoor venue, from August 1-3. If that's not enough star power, the production also features Beverly D'Angelo of National Lampoon's Vacation films, as well as Glee cast members Amber Riley and Jenna Ushkowitz.
10. Barrington Stage Company — Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Nine-time Tony Award-winning giant Tommy Tune (The Will Rogers Follies, Arrested Development) brings his solo concert, Taps, Tunes, and Tall Tails, to this award-winning theater on July 28. It's the closest we've gotten him to Broadway in quite a long time.
- Tommy Tune
- Richard Thomas
- Phylicia Rashad
- Sam Rockwell
- Chita Rivera
- John Lithgow
- Barrington Stage Company
- Renee Fleming
- Williamstown Theatre Festival
- Kristen Bell
- Sam Shepard
- Kieran Culkin
- Jenna Ushkowitz
- King Lear
- Marilu Henner
- Beth Leavel
- Kenny Leon
- Steppenwolf Theatre Company
- True Colors Theatre Company
- Nina Arianda
- The Visit
- Annette Bening
- Hunter Parrish
- John O'Hurley
- Michael Cerea
- Blair Underwood
- Kristen Connolly