There’s sort of spell created by the season’s elements — the sound of waterskiing and crickets just outside your tent, the smell of fireworks and sunscreen, lazy sunshine and air condition buzz, the buttery indulgence of corn on the cob — that calls for a certain style of entertainment.
Kicking things off in outdoor style next weekend, Ghostlight Productions (www.ghostlightproductions.org) opens its 4th annual Shakespeare in the Park production of Romeo and Juliet at South Abington Park in Chinchilla. Gaslight Theatre Company will debut short works by seven regional playwrights in its new Playroom series June 6-16 at King’s College Theatre. The following weekend in Wilkes-Barre, Little Theatre’s new Repertory Company will star in Stage & Screen: a Broadway Revue June 23-34. One of this more edifying summer’s highlights is an Independence Day-timed production of the musical 1776 directed by Paul Winarski for the Pennsylvania Theatre of the Performing Arts (www.ptpashows.org)at the J.J. Ferrara Center in Hazleton, opening June 29. It’s been about a decade since the 1969 musical by Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone was staged in the region.
Take the scenic drive to Hawley and help the Ritz Company Players (www.ritzplayhouse.com)celebrate their 40th anniversary season. They’ll open with a run of the contemporary retro musical The Drowsy Chaperone from June 29 through July 14. The cast features Sandy Gabrielson as Man in Chair and Caroline Lehman as The Drowsy Chaperone and Amanda Wierbowski as Janet van de Graaff. Another exception to the “keep it light” summer fare rule, the brand new Electric City Repertory Company just held auditions for the historical biographical drama The Lion in Winter. The troupe will make summer even steamier June 22-30 when it presents My First Time at the Phoenix Performing Arts Center in Duryea. The 90-minute play is based on more than 40,000 diverse true stories about first sexual experiences written by real people from around the world collected anonymously on a website back in the late ’ ’90s. Currently running at Phoenix PAC through June 3 is Limelight Players production of Titanic: the Musical. Phoenix Theatrics returns to the stage with a production of the musical Fosse Aug. 3-12.
Endless Mountains Theatre Company (www.4emtc.org) recently held auditions for Into the Woods. The show is scheduled to run July 27 and 28 at Montrose High School. Diva Production Company will present Cannibals by R.J. Colleary from June 22 through June 30 at Friendship Hall at the United Methodist Church of Chinchilla in Clarks Summit. The two-act comedy finds a group of middle-aged actresses in Los Angeles trying to keep their careers alive in notoriously ageist Hollywood. An August run of the musical Guys & Dolls will follow. Scranton Public Theatre has scheduled a “Christmas in July” run of A Tuna Christmas opening the weekend of July 12 at The Olde Brick Theatre.
Running in repertory this summer at Shawnee Playhouse (www.shawneeplayhouse.com) are Neil Simon’s They’re Playing Our Song (with music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager), Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits and Cats. The area’s only full-fledged summer stock, Theatre at the Grove on the lake in Nuangola will open its 2012 season on June 15 with Nunsense 2: The Second Coming. The show will continue through June 24. Following a July break, the company returns Aug. 3 with the bedroom farce No Sex Please, We’re British and closes with My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra, Sept. 7-16. This summer’s Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble (www.bte.org) summer family co-production with Bloomsburg University, Revenge of the Space Pandas by David Mamet, runs July 19-29.
Rather be on the stage than watching from afar? It’s not too late to get involved. Actors Circle is holding auditions for a July production of John McInerney’s original play, Where the *!*! is Poor Tom? at Providence Playhouse in Scranton on Sunday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and Monday from 7 to 9 p.m. Directed by Lou Bisignani, the comedy follows “a prima dona movie star who visits a college campus to star in their production of King Lear. Questions? Call 347-6076.
Keep reading electric city/diamond city all summer long for more information as the curtain rises.