Summer theater is as hot as the thermometer across the Lower Hudson Valley, with options aplenty wherever you look, many of which offer air-conditioning.
There’s the out-of-doors Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, with “King Lear,” “All’s Well That Ends Well” and “The Three Musketeers” (www.hvshakespeare.org) or the air-conditioned “How the World Began” at Penguin Rep in Stony Point (www.penguinrep.org) and “The Sound of Music” at Westchester Broadway Theatre (www.broadwaytheatre.com).
But there are plenty of local productions that might not be on theatergoers’ radar, including an ambitious run of two Shakespeare works in repertory at Rockland Community College.
Chris Plummer and Patty Maloney-Titland have been building the Rockland Shakespeare Company for 16 years, and this year took two huge leaps forward.
First, in response to arts cuts in the East Ramapo Central School District, RSC presented a late June production of “Romeo and Juliet” with a cast comprising mostly high-schoolers from the area.
This inaugural “RSC Jr. production” was just the first of three productions co-directed by RSC founders Plummer and Maloney-Titland. The others are “Macbeth” and “Twelfth Night,” being presented free of charge in repertory for one more weekend at RCC.
Explains Plummer: “We’ve been getting so many people at our auditions, we didn’t want to turn anyone away. Doing two shows was our way of building the company, but it has been a huge challenge.”
Co-directing three shows would be enough for most people, but Plummer has also cast himself as the bloody Scot in “Macbeth,” one of Shakespeare’s most-demanding roles. Because, you know, some guys aren’t doing enough until they’re doing too much. (That’s Chris Plummer as Macbeth, above, in a photo by Karyn Driscoll.)
“Macbeth” and “Twelfth Night,” Rockland Shakespeare Company presents two shows in repertory on the lawn behind the Cultural Arts Center at RCC. “Macbeth” at 7 p.m., July 19 and 21; “Twelfth Night” at 7 p.m., July 18 and 20. Free. Rockland Community College Cultural Arts Center, 145 College Road, Ramapo. 845-574-4589.
On other stages
“The Wiz” — Little Radical Theatrics presents the Motown-inspired adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz,” directed by Michael Mirra with musical direction by Brett Pontecorvo and choreography by Erika Louiz. 8 p.m., July 19; 2 and 8 p.m., July 20; 7 p.m., July 21. At Rosenthal JCC, 600 Bear Ridge Road, Pleasnatville. $25, $20 students and seniors. www.brownpapertickets.com. 800-838-3006. www.littleradicaltheatrics.com. (Inset are Maria C. Perry as Dorothy and “Pippin” as Toto.)
“Legally Blonde” — The Port Chester Council for the Arts and the Village of Port Chester present the story of Elle Woods, a girl who turns Harvard on its ear while setting the fashion bar high. Directed by Julie Colangelo with musical direction by Cindy Moore. 8 p.m., July 19 and 20. $12, $10 students and seniors. Rye Country Day School’s Dunn PAC, Cedar St., Rye. www.portchestercfa.org.
“Once Upon a Mattress Jr.” — Philipstown Depot Theater presents a youth-theater production of the musical about a princess who is anything but shy. July 18-21. At 7 p.m. July 18, 19 and 20; 4:30 p.m. July 19 and 20; 2 p.m., July 21. $10. 10 Garrison Landing, Garrison. www.philipstowndepottheatre.org. 845-424-3900.
“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” (Westchester edition) — Westchester Sandbox Theatre presents the popular sketch comedy cycle about “everything you have ever secretly thought about dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives and in-laws, but were afraid to admit.” July 19 to Aug. 4. 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays; 3 p.m., Sundays. $28, $24 students and seniors. Westchester Sandbox Theatre, 931C E. Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck. www.wstshows.com. 914-630-0804. (The cast, above from left: Ross Stoner, Allie McCaw, Alison Novelli and Chris Persichetti.)
“Shrek: The Musical” — Rockland Theatre Company and Haverstraw PAL present the story of an ogre, a princess, a donkey and a lord who just doesn’t measure up. 7:30 p.m., July 19, 20, 26 and 27; 2:30 p.m., July 27. Evenings, $18, $12 students and seniors; matinuee, $15, $8 students and seniors. North Rockland High School, Hammond Road, Thiells. www.rocklandtheatrecompany.com. 845-548-6699. (Inset: Shannon Cokeley and Nick Culver as Fiona and Shrek.)
“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” (Rockland edition) — Elmwood Playhouse presents the same sketch-comedy cycle through Aug. 3. 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Extra performance at 8 p.m., Aug. 1. $25, $23 for students and seniors. (No discounts on Saturdays.) Elmwood Playhouse, 10 Park St., Nyack. www.elmwoodplayhouse.com. 845-353-1313.
“Big: The Musical” — The Tom Hanks movie, about a boy who gets his wish to be “big,” adapted into a stage musical at Yorktown Stage. (With Daniel Moser in the Tom Hanks role, Josh, seen above with Jessica Crilley, who plays his love interest, Susan.) July 20-28. 7:30 p.m. Saturdays; 1 p.m., Sundays. $26, $21 students and seniors, $19 for those 11 and younger. Yorktown Stage, 1974 Commerce St., Yorktown Heights. www.yorktownstage.org. 914-962-0606.
Next weekend: ‘Barrymore’ and more
Michael Muldoon’s latest role finds the actor stepping into the shoes of one of America’s greatest actors: John Barrymore.
In a production that will bring theater to the Carriage House at Lyndhurst in Tarrytown from July 27 to Aug. 11, Muldoon (above) plays the man best known for portraying Hamlet and Richard III on Broadway and for the films “Grand Hotel” and “Dinner at Eight.”
William Luce’s play — set in 1942, the year Barrymore died at age 60 — earned Tony and Drama awards for Christopher Plummer in 1997. It ran on Broadway for 236 performances.
“He can quote Shakespeare and Byron and Shelley,” Muldoon says. “He has this wealth of knowledge, but he can’t remember the lines to ‘Richard III,’ one of his first successes. It’s a fascinating part, a mix of desperation, sadness and bravado.”
Directed by Muldoon’s wife, Melinda O’Brien, “Barrymore” runs three weekends, with performances at 7 p.m. Saturdays and 3 p.m., Sundays. Theatergoers are invited to picnic on the grounds of the Gothic home two hours before curtain time.
“Barrymore,” July 27 to Aug. 11. 7 p.m., Saturdays; 3 p.m., Sundays. $35. Lyndhurst, 635 S. Broadway, Tarrytown. Buy tickets here. 914-631-4481. www.lyndhurst.org
Elsewhere next weekend:
“The Drowsy Chaperone” — Philipstown Depot Theater presents a teen production of the valentine to musicals and the people who love them. July 25-28. At 7 p.m. July 25, 26, 27; 4 p.m. July 27, 28; 1 p.m., July 28. $10. 10 Garrison Landing, Garrison. www.philipstowndepottheatre.org. 845-424-3900.
“Bare: A Pop Opera” — White Plains PAC and Harrison Summer Theatre team up July 26-28 to present the Westchester premiere of the coming-of-age, sung-through rock musical set in a Catholic boarding school. Directed by Jeremy Quinn with musical direction by Stephen Ferri and choreography by Lexie Fennell Frare, “Bare” focuses on the romantic relationship between the outsider Peter and the popular jock Jason — and the Catholic Church. The show is suitable for mature audiences and not recommended for those 13 and younger. $25, $20 students. 8 p.m., July 26, 27; 7 p.m., July 28. White Plains PAC, 11 City Place, White Plains. www.wppac.com. 914-328-1600. (Above, Ferri puts the cast through their paces.)
“Annie Jr.” — Another Port Chester Council for the Arts production, this one with 92 kids in two casts telling the story of that plucky orphan who’s always looking forward to the day after today. 3 and 8 p.m., July 26 and 27. $12, $10 for seniors and those 12 and younger. Rye Country Day School’s Dunn PAC, Cedar St., Rye. www.portchestercfa.org.
“Seussical” — The Summercliff Players present the Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty musical about all things Seuss July 26 and 27 in Tarrytown, directed by Kathleen Donovan-Warren, with musical direction by Nadia Rizzo, and choreography by Helen Coope. With its traditional Briarcliff home closed for the summer, the troupe moves to Washington Irving School, 103 S. Broadway, Tarrytown. 7:30 p.m., July 26; 2 and 7:30 p.m., July 27. Tickets, $17, at www.showtix4u.com. Details at www.summercliff.com.
“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” — The St. Lawrence O’Toole Theatre Department’s alumni presents the “Peanuts” musical about a boy, his friends and his dog at 7 p.m. July 26 and 27. Proceeds aid the theater department’s programs. On the near horizon, a student production of “Seussical,” Aug. 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m., Aug. 10 and 11 at 2 p.m.. “Charlie Brown” tickets are $10. St. Lawrence O’Toole gymnasium, 31 Prospect St., Brewster. 845-279-2021.
On the horizon
“The Taming of the Shrew” — Port Chester Council for the Arts presents its eighth season of Lawn Chair Theatre, with a “Mad Men”-inspired version of Shakespeare’s tale of battling lovers Kate and Petruchio.5:45 p.m., Aug. 2-4 and 8-10 at various locations: Aug. 2 at Rye Town Park, Dearborn Avenue, Rye; Aug. 3 at Crawford Park, 122 N. Ridge Street, Rye Brook; Aug. 4, Bedford Village Memorial Park, Greenwich Road, Bedford: Aug. 8 and 9, Lyon Park, 60 Parkway Drive, Port Chester; Aug. 10, Pine Ridge Park, Latonia Drive at Mohegan Lane, Rye Brook. (Rain date for Rye Town Park and Pine Ridge Park is Aug. 11.) $20, $15 for seniors and those 12 and younger. Bring your own lawnchairs and blankets. www.lawnchairtheatre.org.
“City of Angels” — Brewster Theater Company presents the Tony-winning film-noir musical (book by Larry Gelbart, music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by David Zippel) about detective novelist Stein and his screen creation Stone. Told in color and black-and-white. (Yes, you read that right.) $20, $18 students and seniors. 8 p.m. Aug. 1, 2, 3, 9, 10; 2 p.m. Aug. 10. Brewster High School PAC, 50 Foggintown Road, Brewster. www.brewstertheater.org. 845-598-1621.
“Avenue Q: School Edition” — Hudson Valley Teen Summer Theatre presents the Tony-winning musical that mixes puppets and people on a way-out street, where the rents are affordable and Gary Coleman is the building super. $15, $12 students, $10 seniors. 8 p.m., Aug. 9 and 10; 2 p.m., Aug. 11. Clarkstown High School South, 31 Demarest Mill Road, West Nyack. www.hvtst.org. 845-290-1376.
“Les Miserables: School Edition” — New Generation Theatre presents the revolutionary musical. 6:30 p.m., Aug. 15, 16; 2 and 6:30 p.m., Aug. 17. $16, $13 students. North Rockland High School, 106 Hammond Road, Thiells. newgenerationtheatre.com. 845-461-4325
“Company” — The Hope Players, the performing arm of the cancer-fighting Hope for Change Foundation, present Stephen Sondheim’s “Company,” at the Westchester Sandbox Theatre on Aug. 16, 17 and 18. All proceeds go to finding a cure for breast cancer. 8 p.m., Aug. 16 and 17; 2 p.m., Aug. 18. $20 dollars in advance; $25 at the door. Westchester Sandbox Theatre, 931C E. Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck. 914-206-9617. www.hopeforchange.org.