7 Shows You Should See This Summer Across the Country
From War Paint to Broadway Bounty Hunter, here are the must-sees of 2016.
While the summer is a notoriously slow time for theater in New York City, across the country, new productions thrive in festivals and as regional playhouses kickoff their new seasons. Here are 7 shows located far away from Manhattan that should be on your radar.
1. War Paint
June 28-August 14
With two-time Tony winners Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole heading the company, War Paint will prove to be one of this summer's theatrical highlights. Reuniting the creative team of Grey Gardens, the musical explores the professional rivalry between entrepreneurs Helena Rubenstein (LuPone) and Elizabeth Arden (Ebersole). Joining them in Michael Greif's production are Tony nominees Douglas Sills (Living on Love) and John Dossett (Dear Evan Hansen), among other stage regulars.
2. Born for This: The BeBe Winans Story
July 1-August 28
Music icons BeBe Winans brings his life to the stage in the form of a new musical coauthored with Motown scribe Charles Randolph-Wright. With Winans classics and new songs, the work follows the rise and fame of Winans and his sister, CeCe, as they join Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker's Praise the Lord television show and integrate televangelism. Keeping it in the family, the show stars siblings Juan and Deborah Joy Winans as their real-life uncle and aunt.
3. Grey Gardens
July 6-August 14
During the summer of 2015, Tony winner Betty Buckley (Cats) and Tony nominee Rachel York (Disaster!) took on the iconic roles of Big Edie and Little Edie in the Tony-nominated musical Grey Gardens at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor. Now, they return to the roles, along with director Michael Wilson, to give the production its Los Angeles premiere. The full company will be announced in the next few weeks.
4. Junk: The Golden Age of Debt
La Jolla Playhouse
July 26-August 21
Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar (Disgraced) teams up with Tony-winning director Doug Hughes (Doubt) for this world premiere. The story of a junk bond trader hell-bent on changing the rules, Akhtar takes us back to the 1980s, to offer "an origin story for the world that finance has given us." Casting is still to be announced.
5. An American Daughter
Williamstown Theatre Festival
In his final production before taking over as artistic director of Lincoln Center Theater's LCT3, Evan Cabnet (Gloria) stages Wendy Wasserstein's prescient 1997 drama, about a prominent doctor nominated by the President to the position of Surgeon General, and the scandal that threatens her confirmation. Leading the company is Kate Walsh (Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice), alongside Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Grace Gummer, Stephen Kunken, and others.
Berkshire Theatre Group
Married Broadway couple Kate Baldwin (Big Fish) and Graham Rowat (Mamma Mia!) star in Nick Payne's Tony-nominated two-hander about the romance between beekeeper and a quantum physicist, and how it would play out in several different universes. Four-time Tony nominee Gregg Edelmann (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) directs.
7. Broadway Bounty Hunter
Barrington Stage Company
August 12-September 4
Acclaimed songwriter Joe Iconis ("Broadway, Here I Come") teams up with two longtime members of his "family" of performers, Lance Rubin and Jason "SweetTooth" Williams, to create a brand-new musical for theater icon and Orange Is the New Black favorite Annie Golden. Inspired by the Blaxploitation movies of the 1970s, the funkadelic tuner stars Golden as Annie, a 60-something down-on-her-luck actor who's asked to become a bounty hunter to capture a drug lord in South America. Fellow Broadway vet and Barrington favorite Jeff McCarthy (Southern Comfort) will head the company alongside Golden.