Some may say that winter productions of “A Christmas Carol” are theater’s most reliable tradition. But I’d argue that the most time-honored theater tradition is, in fact, sitting outside on a blanket or lawn chair and seeing some Shakespeare. Now, Shakespeare isn’t always what everyone is up for, so luckily there are a number of theater productions to enjoy under the sun or stars this summer.
In addition to the classic Shakespearean plays, you can check out a comedy from the 1920s, a classic family musical, a trip to the land of Who or even some choreography from one of Seattle’s contemporary dance companies. If you’re looking for artistic outings this summer, these six companies are ready to welcome you into their audiences.
“The Tempest” presented by Bainbridge Performing Arts
Bainbridge Performing Arts is heading to Bloedel Reserve this summer to present Shakespeare’s exploration of heroes and villains, following the lives of the exiled former duke of Milan, Prospero, and his daughter, Miranda. The performances are scheduled to be held at the Sheep Sheds on the reserve, and visitors are advised to bring low lawn chairs or blankets. (Additional preparatory advice can be found at bloedelreserve.org.)
June 23-July 9; 7571 N.E. Dolphin Drive, Bainbridge Island; $30; 206-842-8569; bainbridgeperformingarts.org
“Good Morning, Bill” presented by Burien Actors Theatre
Coming to a South King County park near you this summer will be Burien Actors Theatre’s production of this 1927 comedy from P.G. Wodehouse, adapted from playwright Ladislaus Fodor’s Hungarian play, “Doktor Juci Szabo.” The play follows Bill, who falls for an aloof doctor named Sally while on holiday in Sussex. Complications arise when Bill’s older uncle confuses Bill’s pining for Sally for him missing a completely different woman.
July 21-Aug. 20; various locations; free; battheatre.org
GreenStage’s Shakespeare in the Park, Backyard Bard and Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival
This year, GreenStage’s Shakespeare in the Park offerings will include mainstage productions of “Romeo & Juliet” as well as “Henry VI: Part 1,” the beginning of Shakespeare’s Wars of the Roses saga about the 15th century battles for control of the English throne. Backyard Bard’s abbreviated Shakespearean productions this summer will include “Comedy of Errors” and the dark fairy tale “Cymbeline.” The Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival will also return this summer with two days (July 9-10) of live theater at Seattle’s Volunteer Park.
July 7-Aug. 12; various locations; free; 206-748-1552; greenstage.org
Kitsap Forest Theater
The Kitsap Forest Theater will be celebrating its centennial this summer with two productions for the whole family. Founded in 1923, and located in the 460-acre Rhododendron Preserve near Bremerton, Kitsap Forest Theater will kick off its summer season with the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein collaboration, “The Sound of Music.” Follow along as Maria serves as governess for the seven children of the stern Captain, bringing music to their lives in the form of timeless songs like “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Do Re Mi” and “Edelweiss.” The second show heads to the land of Seuss to tell the story of Horton who befriends a young Who living on a dust speck in “Seussical, The Musical.” This colorful 2000 musical was created by the music-and-lyrics team behind “Ragtime” and “Once on This Island.”
“The Sound of Music” runs May 28-June 18 and “Seussical, The Musical” runs July 29-Aug. 20; 3000 Seabeck Hwy., Bremerton; $23; 206-542-7815; foresttheater.com
“The Tempest” presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company’s Wooden O
This summer will see a bit of a scaled-down version of Seattle Shakespeare’s Wooden O tradition. Running at various parks this summer will be its production of “The Tempest.” Additional details were not available at the time of publication, but more information about this summer’s offering, which is to be directed by Leah Adcock-Starr, should be available online soon, according to the theater.
July 6-Aug. 6; various locations; free; 206-733-8222; seattleshakespeare.org/woodeno
Pop-up performances presented by Whim W’Him
Details were still being finalized as of this writing, but Seattle contemporary dance company Whim W’Him will be returning to various parks in the area for pop-up performances this summer. This will be the fourth season of this programming, which was created in response to the pandemic. Keep an eye on Whim W’Him’s website for more information on what creations and choreography will be presented this summer.
Aug. 16-23 (additional dates may be announced); various locations; free; whimwhim.org
The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.