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Here are highlights at various out-of-town culture spots in Hudson Valley, the Berkshires, and beyond
While there are still plenty of shows to see in New York this summer, August is a prime time to catch theatre outside the city. The Williamstown Theatre Festival and the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival are just two of the destinations where you can enjoy high-quality and often star-studded productions. So peg your next weekend getaway to one of these worthy shows.
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival – Cold Spring, NY
Approximately 75 minutes from Midtown Manhattan by car, and easily accessible via Metro-North's Hudson Line, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival mounts classics and twists on old favorites. All shows are performed in an open-air theater tent.
Through August 26
The Bard's romantic comedy is helmed by Tony nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel. Considering his work on Hand to God and the recent Kevin Kline revival of Present Laughter, he's sure to put his own hilarious stamp on this story of mistaken identities, crossdressing, forbidden love, and long-lost siblings.
Pride and Prejudice
Through September 4
Playwright-performer Kate Hamill has become the go-to adapter of classic literature. Her Sense & Sensibility was a huge hit for Bedlam, and her quirky take on Vanity Fair fared well for the now-shuttered Pearl. Plus she starred in both productions! She takes on the same duties with Pride and Prejudice, which is enjoying its world premiere at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival before it transfers to NYC's Primary Stages this fall. Hamill stars as Lizzy Bennet in her irreverent adaptation of Jane Austen's novel opposite her real-life boyfriend Jason O'Connell as Mr. Darcy. Set against the backdrop of the Hudson River, this iconic love story is a rapturous way to spend a summer night.
Berkshire Theatre Group – Berkshires, MA
The Berkshires in Massachusetts are teeming with culture including this lauded company, which is about a three-hour drive from Midtown Manhattan. Founded in 2010 when the Berkshire Theatre Festival and the Colonial Theatre merged, the Berkshire Theatre Group presents classic and contemporary works on four stages in two nearby towns: Stockbridge and Pittsfield.
Arsenic and Old Lace
Through August 19
Tony winner Harriet Harris is sure to breathe new life into this classic dark comedy about a pair of seemingly sweet spinsters with bodies in their basement. Broadway performer Gregg Edelman swaps the spotlight for the director's chair for this revival of the 1941 farce.
Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo
Through August 26
1958's The Zoo Story, about a life-changing meeting between two strangers on a park bench, was Edward Albee's first play. Almost half a century later, the three-time Pulitzer Prize winner penned a prequel called Homelife. At Home at the Zoo pairs the works together to explore the depth of human loneliness and the desire for connection.
Williamstown Theatre Festival – Williamstown, MA
About a three-hour drive from Midtown Manhattan, this Tony Award-winning fest is known for attracting big-name celebrities to star in both revivals and new works. Sometimes productions even transfer to Broadway (The Elephant Man with Bradley Cooper, The Bridges of Madison County), so you may be checking out the next big thing.
Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow
Through August 6
It's the last weekend to catch the world premiere of Halley Feiffer's contemporary riff on Chekhov's Three Sisters. Rebecca Henderson, Tony nominee Cristin Milioti, and Tavi Gevinson star as Olga, Masha, and Irina, who are the ultimate millennials, whining and longing for their beloved Moscow. Directed by Obie winner Trip Cullman, the play also features Tony nominees Thomas Sadoski and Micah Stock.
A Legendary Romance
Through August 20
Tony-nominee Lonny Price directs this new musical about a forgotten '50s movie producer (Broadway stalwart Jeff McCarthy) forced to revisit his past when a young filmmaker decides to recut and release the former bigwig's unfinished autobiographical flick. With just four characters, this intimate show features numbers by veteran British songwriter Geoff Morrow, who's penned tunes for Elvis and Jessie J in his long career.
Barrington Stage Company – Pittsfield, MA
Approximately three hours away from Midtown Manhattan by car, this theatre is known for developing musicals. The Tony-nominated 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee actually started here, as did the recent Tony-nominated revival of On the Town.
August 10-September 10
Broadway favorite Aaron Tveit is taking on the iconic role of Bobby in this revival of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's groundbreaking 1970 musical about relationships. We expect Tveit fans to come out in droves for this one, so if you're interested buy tickets now.
Shakespeare & Company – Lenox, MA
This venerable company brings the Bard's work to life through top-notch productions and education programs. In fact, this is where Shakespeare in the Park regular Hamish Linklater got his start (thanks to his mom, a founding member).
August 10-September 3
The company's new artistic director Allyn Burrows helms this production in the outdoor Roman Garden Theatre.
Women of Will: Coming Home
The company's former artistic director Tina Packer is bringing her celebrated one-woman show about the ladies of Shakespeare back for one night only. Actor Nigel Gore joins her on stage to explore the Bard's heroines in a new light.
Top image: Pride and Prejudice at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, photo by T. Charles Erickson