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Guide to 2022 Summer Theater in New Hampshire

Andy’s Summer Playhouse features outstanding plays performed by talented children. Photo by P.T. Sullivan

New Hampshire is home to some truly excellent talent and venues. Whether you appreciate Shakespeare or Broadway, there’s sure to be something happening that you’ll love. Here you’ll find, in alphabetical order, seasonal summer theater venues from across the state.

This summer you could spend a sunny afternoon with the family watching a production of “Footloose” at the Prescott Park Arts Festival in Portsmouth, experience Shakespeare’s eternal brilliance in Sandwich, enjoy a night at the opera with Opera North and much, much more.

Venues:

Advice to the Players | Andy’s Summer Playhouse | Barnstormers Theatre | Hatbox Theatre | Interlakes Summer Theatre | Jean’s Playhouse | M&D Playhouse | New London Barn Playhouse | Opera North | The Palace Theatre | Peterborough Players | Prescott Park Arts Festival | Seacoast Repertory Theatre | Weathervane Theatre | The Winnipesaukee Playhouse

Advice to the Players

July-August
As Hamlet said in his advice to the players, “Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor” and head over to the Advice to the Players to hear the challenging but inspiring words of Shakespeare. This talented group of Shakespeare enthusiasts has been presenting Shakespeare performances and workshops since 1999. The company is a mix of professionals, community members and teenagers. The 2022 season theme is “The Masks We Choose to Wear.”

Summer 2022 Performances:

  • “The Gin Game,” July 117-18
  • Second stage production: “Merchant of Venice Beach,” July 15-24
  • Main stage production: “All’s Well That Ends Well,” August 5-14

Click here or call (603) 986-6253 for information and tickets.


Andy’s Summer Playhouse

July-August
Andy’s Summer Playhouse features innovative plays by children but they’re intended to be enjoyed by those of all ages. From the website: “Andy’s Summer Playhouse exists to provide a safe environment for children to experience and learn about all aspects of the performing arts, with the goal of creating innovative theater for the surrounding community. Andy’s emphasizes education and community building, encouraging all participants to explore their own creativity.”

Summer 2022 Performances:

  • Check back soon for more details, but Andy’s Summer Playhouse is planning a main stage production, a Greenhouse Workshop performance and a musical.

Click here or call (603) 654-2613 for information, tickets and details on other programs such as the Andy’s Academy workshops, the apprenticeship program and more.

582 Isaac Frye Hwy., Wilton


The Barnstormers Theatre

June 30-September 3
Located in the charming small village of Tamworth, the Barnstormers is one of the longest-running professional summer theaters in the country. The company was founded in 1931 by Francis Cleveland, the youngest son of President Grover Cleveland, Francis’s wife Alice and their friend Ed Goodnow — all of whom were involved with theater on Broadway. Today, The Barnstormers is one of three Equity theaters in New Hampshire, and consists of over 40 professional actors, some of which have been performing at Barnstormers for 50 years.

Summer 2022 Performances:

  • “Into the Woods,” June 30-July 9 One of Stephen Sondheim’s most beloved musicals, “Into the Woods” cleverly weaves together the stories of well-known fairytale characters. Rated PG
  • “The Legend of Georgia McBride,” July 14-23 He’s young, he’s broke, his landlord’s knocking at the door, and he’s just found out his wife is going to have a baby. To make matters even more desperate, Casey is fired from his gig as an Elvis impersonator in a run-down, small-town Florida bar. When the bar owner brings in a B-level drag show to replace his act, Casey finds that he has a whole lot to learn about show business — and himself. Rated PG-15, adult language
  • “Black Coffee,” July 28-August 6 Hercule Poirot is on the case when accomplished physicist Sir Claud Amory’s formula for the atom bomb is stolen, and Sir Claud is murdered. First performed in 1930, this gripping Agatha Christie murder mystery is packed with endless red herrings, infamous spies, and a prophetic storyline about one of the most deadly weapons known to man. Rated PG
  • “Silent Sky,” August 11-20 When Henrietta Leavitt begins work at the Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s, she isn’t allowed to touch a telescope or express an original idea. Instead, she joins a group of women “computers,” charting the stars for a renowned astronomer who calculates projects in “girl hours” and has no time for the women’s probing theories. As Henrietta, in her free time, attempts to measure the light and distance of stars, she must also take measure of her life on Earth, trying to balance her dedication to science with family obligations and the possibility of love. Rated G
  • “Lucky Stiff,” August 25-September 3 British shoe salesman Harry Witherspoon is set to inherit six million dollars from an uncle he’s never met, but only if he takes his uncle’s body on a whirlwind tour of Monte Carlo. This riotous musical comedy romp complete with mystery, mayhem and a lot of dogs, is sure to keep you laughing while it keeps you guessing. Rated G

104 Main St., Tamworth
(603) 323-8500
Click here for tickets and information


Hatbox Theater

Boundary-pushing black-box theaters may seem like a luxury reserved for college campuses and big cities, but Concord has one of its own. The 99-seat space (located in a former Coldwater Creek in the Steeplegate Mall) hosts a wide variety of theatrical and performing arts productions throughout the year, from one-act plays to magic shows by the theater’s owner, Absolutely Magic’s Andrew Pinard. Here’s a sample of what’s coming up summer 2022:

  • “The Bald Soprano,” June 17-26 In “The Bald Soprano,” a classic of modern theatre, a clock chimes 17 times for seemingly no reason at all, the doorbell rings but there are no visitors and the bald soprano never changes her hairstyle. A hilarious and unique satire on modern life by Eugene Ionesco, known as the father of Theatre of the Absurd, this is a theatre experience in which non-sequiturs fly, people talk at cross purposes getting nowhere and the concept of time is turned on its head. This thought-provoking tour-de-force of linguistic acrobatics about modern communication (or the lack thereof) is sure to delight.
  • “Into the Woods,” July 8-17
  • “The Gulf,” July 22-31 Relationships can be difficult to maintain. One day you wake up and discover you have drifted apart. Come see a couple navigate the waters of “The Gulf,” the winner of the 2015 Sam French OOB Drama Festival.
  • “Bubble Boy,” August 5-14 Based on the film of the same name starring Jake Gyllenhaal, “Bubble Boy” tells the story of Jimmy Livingston, a Palmdale teen with an immune deficiency that has confined him to life sequestered alone in a plastic bubble with his mother. That is, until Chloe Molinski moves to town.
  • “The Great Atlantic and Pacific Shakespeare Company,” August 19-28 Unfortunately, the group’s co-founders and biggest stars, and erstwhile lovers, Biron and Rose, struggle to maintain focus. Biron can’t get past the death of his wife two years earlier — a death he is convinced he caused by having an affair with Rose. He has taken refuge in religion, making regular retreats to a nearby monastery and the dubious ministrations of the enigmatic Brother Rene. Tired of waiting for Biron, Rose has found a retreat of her own on a Caribbean yacht with a smarmy lawyer. Can Rose and Biron work out their differences — or will their bickering mean the end of “The Great A&P?”

270 Loudon Rd., Concord, hatboxnh.com


Interlakes Summer Theatre

June 30-August
This company seeks to bring the Lakes Region a wide variety of productions, from children’s theater to classic favorites. Join them for the 2022 season as they celebrate their 15th anniversary.

Summer 2022 Performances:

  • “Grease,” June 6-July 17
  • “The King and I,” July 20-31
  • “Sister Act,” August 3-14
  • “Cats,” August 17-21

1 Laker Ln., Meredith.
Click here or call (603) 707-6035 for information and tickets.


Jean’s Playhouse

June-September
This North Country theater has been open for more than three decades and prides itself on bringing the community together. Over 150,000 locals have come out to support the theater and each summer the children’s theater entertains over 12,000 members of nearby communities. Jean’s Playhouse is home to many concerts and events throughout the year, but stop by in the summer and fall for great theater, including an outdoor production of “The Sound of Music” planned for summer 2022.

Summer 2022 Performances:

  • “Sleeping Beauty,” July 6 (an Impact show, fairy tale theater for kids)
  • “The Sound of Music,” July 7-9, rain date July 10, held outdoors with live music
  • “Lost in Wonderland,” July 13 (Impact)
  • “Cabaret,” July 14-30
  • “Neverland,” July 20 (Impact)
  • “Little Red Riding Hood,” July 27 (Impact)
  • “Return to Oz,” August 3 (Impact)
  • “Mamma Mia!” August 4-20
  • “Jack and the Beanstalk,” August 10 (Impact)
  • “The 39 Steps,” August 25-September 3

34 Papermill Drive, Lincoln
Click here or call (603) 745-2141 for information on summer show and tickets


M&D Playhouse

Tucked away in a strip mall on the edge of the White Mountains, North Conway’s M&D Playhouse has quietly amassed a reputation in its 19-year history for staging some of the most challenging theater in the state. Daring past productions include “Equus” and “Glengarry Glen Ross.” Below are this summer’s shows, but performances continue into the fall and winter.

Summer 2022 Performances:

  • “Sex & Other Disturbances,” June 2-12 A fast-paced comedy about friendship, love, sex and other disturbances. While a vicious storm pummels Manhattan with no end in sight, Sarah, Alan and Ruth find themselves on the treacherous shoals of midlife in this dark comedy of unintended consequences. When your husband is too busy buying cabins in Newfoundland for the apocalypse, what’s the harm in having a little affair? Sarah, a former actress and now stay-at-home mom and woman on the verge, finds out the hard way.
  • “Cabaret,” July 7-24 In a Berlin nightclub, as the 1920s draw to a close, a garish Master of Ceremonies welcomes the audience and assures them they will forget all their troubles at the “Cabaret.”
  • “Fun Home,” August 18-September 4 When her father dies unexpectedly, graphic novelist Alison Bechdel dives deep into her past to tell the story of the volatile, brilliant, one-of-a-kind man whose temperament and secrets defined her family and her life. Moving between past and present, Alison relives her unique childhood playing at the family’s Bechdel Funeral Home, her growing understanding of her own sexuality, and the looming, unanswerable questions about her father’s hidden desires. “Fun Home” is a refreshingly honest, wholly original musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes.

M&D Playhouse
2760 White Mountain Hwy., North Conway
Click here or call (603) 733-5275 for more information.


New London Barn Playhouse

June-September 
One of the oldest summer stock theaters in the country, the New London Barn Players combine emerging talent with seasoned professionals to produce high quality theater. Although some things have changed since its 1933 opening (such as the 50-cent tickets), Mr. Holmes’ core mission still stands true — “To establish … a theater group presenting dramas of stimulating artistic and literary merit.”

Summer 2022 Performances:

  • “A Chorus Line,” June 15-26
  • “She Loves Me,” June 29-July 10
  • “Boeing, Boeing,” July 13-17
  • “Mamma Mia!” July 20-August 7
  • “Footloose,” August 10-21
  • “Almost, Maine,” August 24-September 4
  • Children’s Theater Series at the Barn: The 2022 Children’s Theater Series consists of four shows performed by the Barn’s own Junior Intern Company.

84 Main St., New London
Click here or call (603) 526-6710 for information and tickets.


Opera North

July 

This July, Opera North is celebrating not just the return of its unique Summerfest but a major anniversary — 40 years as the only full-time professional opera company in the tri-state region of New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. From July 8 to 31, Opera North invites you to visit the extraordinary venue of Blow-Me-Down Farm on the banks of the Connecticut River in Cornish during four different performances.

In 2017, the National Park Service chose Opera North to partner in the creation of a park for the arts at the 46-acre property, which is deeded to the adjacent Saint-Gaudens National Historic Park. Augustus Saint-Gaudens was one of America’s great sculptors, and he lived seasonally in Cornish starting in 1885 and year-round from 1900 to his death in 1907. The sculptor’s friends — some of the most talented artists, musicians and writers in the country — joined him there, creating what became known as the Cornish Colony. Today, you can visit the gorgeous home and grounds, which is sprinkled with Saint Gaudens’ sculptures. Opera North is reviving that artistic spirit, and Summerfest is a fantastic opportunity to be a part of the exciting process.

Summerfest 2022 Performances:

  •  “Carnevale,” July 8-10 A blend of high-flying circus aerialists, humor, slapstick and music held under the big tent.
  • This year’s traditional opera performances, sung in Italian with English subtitles, are “Così fan tutte,” July 21-23 and “La Traviata,” July 27-31. Both feature the full Opera North orchestra.
  • “Bette, Babs & Beyond,” July 30 A tribute to Bette Midler, Barbara Streisand, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin and more. This is a special picnic concert on the farm’s lawn.

20 West Park St., Lebanon
Click here or call (603) 448-4141 for information.


The Palace Theatre

July-August
The Palace Professional Theatre for Children Series takes the stage this summer at one of New Hampshire’s most well known and historic theaters. The beautiful 840-seated theatre is the only one of it’s kind in the area. The children’s series will have you and your children leave the theatre singing.

Summer 2022 Performances:

  • “BJ Hickman,” July 5-8
  • “Wizard of Oz,” June 12-15 
  • “Rapunzel,” July 19-22
  • “Peter Pan,” July 26-29
  • “Cinderella,” August 2-5
  • “Beauty and the Beast,” August 9-12
  • “Snow White,” August 16-19
  • “Frozen,” August 23-26

80 Hanover St., Manchester
Click here or call (603) 668-5588 for information and ticket information.


Peterborough Players

June-August
A true rustic theatre company, the Peterborough Players was founded in 1933 and perform in an 18th-century barn to this day, but don’t worry — there’s air conditioning.

Summer 2022 Performances:

  • “Cabaret,” June 23-July 3 
  • “Circle Mirror Transformation,” July 7-17 When an unlikely company of strangers come together to take a community acting class in a small town in Vermont, they discover more about themselves than about Stanislavski, Hagen or Meisner. As they hilariously participate in acting exercises sure to teach them something (right?), they find that the true study is in their own growth, exploration and discovery. As they’re cracked open, surrounded by the trappings of the studio, the powerful class exercises inspire both teacher and students to face their lives with greater courage.
  • The U.S. premiere of “Serving Elizabeth,” July 21-31 The year is 1952. Mercy, a Nyeri, Kenya restaurant owner is vehemently anti-monarchy — and has also been given the opportunity to cook for the visiting Princess Elizabeth, moments from her ascension to throne. With her daughter by her side, can she still stick to her principles? Or is this an opportunity of a different kind?  The year is also 2015. Tia, a Kenyan-Canadian film student is an ardent fan of the royals — and is also interning on a splashy new TV series, all about Queen Elizabeth II. When she reads the episode about then Princess Elizabeth’s visit to Kenya, she begins to question what she’s been a fan of all along … Can she use this opportunity to make her feelings known? These two distant timelines come together in a surprising turn-of-events, exploring colonialism, nationalism, unconscious bias and what happens when the story that gets told isn’t really the truth.
  • “2 Pianos, 4 Hands,” August 4-14 Two actors, two pianos and many, many characters grace the stage as fifteen years of learning the art of piano playing unfolds. From classical to pop to jazz, the play provides the chance for two performers to give their all in a 120-minute virtuoso performance.
  • “Last Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill,” August 18-28 It’s the evening show at Hal Emerson’s Bar and Grill in Philadelphia, PA, March of 1959, and you’ve got a seat at the bar. You’re witnessing one of the final performances of the legendary Billie Holiday, here for the night to fill the small room with jazz, memories and perhaps just a little moonlight. As she and her faithful accompanist Jimmy weave their way through the evening of song, Lady Day can’t help but reminisce about the long road that led her back to Emerson’s, and the world that set her on that road. Music is her joy, and she endeavors to keep that moonlight present for as long as she possibly can. Billie Holiday is brought to glorious, profound, humorous and heartbreaking life before your eyes.
  • Second Stage performance for children, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” which will be performed outdoors at the new Elsewhere Stage. Find dates, tickets and more information on this special production here.

55 Hadley Rd., Peterborough
Click here or call (603) 924-7585 for information and tickets.


Prescott Park Arts Festival

June-August
A delightful summer tradition since 1974. Held in the waterfront Prescott Park, the festival offers a full summer of events that are family appropriate. The main musical is featured here, but the festival includes much more, including other live theater performances, outdoor movies, music, a fairy house tour, chowder fest, road race, chili cook-off, brewfest and other entertainment and special events.

Summer 2022 Performances:

  • “Footloose,” June 24-August 14 Based on the popular 1984 film starring Kevin Bacon, the crowd-pleasing movie musical delivers dynamic new songs and the powerhouse hits from its bestselling Oscar-nominated score. “Footloose” celebrates the exhilaration of youth, the wisdom of listening to one another and the power of forgiveness.
  • Check out Camp ENCORE, where performers, artists and aspiring technicians, ages 8-17, all work together towards a common goal — a fully produced musical presented at the end of each session.

Click here for tickets and more information.


Seacoast Repertory Theatre

All year
This award-winning professional performance space once acted as the warehouse for the Portsmouth Brewing Company in the ’70s but has since made a great addition to the seacoast community’s theater life. Though there are performances all year long, Portsmouth is a popular summer destination, and it would be a shame to leave out this excellent theater. While you’re in town to soak up some summer seaside life, stop in at the Rep for an excellent show.

Summer 2022 Performances:

  • “Anything Goes,” June 16-July 23
  • “Rent,” July 28-September 10
  • “Les Misérables,” August 25-September 4

125 Bow St., Portsmouth
Click here or call (603) 433-4472 for information and tickets.


Weathervane Theatre

June-September
The Weathervane Theatre brings Broadway all the way to North Country New Hampshire for its 57th season this summer. Weathervane is the only professional alternating repertory theatre in the country, producing seven shows in eight weeks — a different show every night. See the full calendar here.

Summer 2022 Performances:

  • “Million Dollar Quartet,” opens in June
  • “North Country Shakes,” opens in June
  • “Eurydice,” opens in July
  • “The Marvelous Wonderettes,” opens in July
  • “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” opens in July
  • Jesus Christ Superstar,” opens in August
  • “A Class Act,” opens in August
  • “Blood Brothers,” opens in September
  • “Intimate Apparel,” opens in September
  • “A Chorus Line,” opens in September

389 Lancaster Rd., Whitefield
Click here or call (603) 837-9322 for information and tickets.


The Winnipesaukee Playhouse

June-September (and beyond)
The Playhouse is a nonprofit, award-winning theater specializing in high-energy shows. Newer to the theater scene, The Playhouse was founded in 2004, and was soon thereafter regarded as a cultural gem of central New Hampshire. You can catch performances in the fall and winter as well, but there’s something extra special about catching a show on a warm summer evening after a day spent on the lake. This year, three shows will be performed at the outdoor amphitheater (noted below). The Playhouse also offers some excellent summer youth educational camps and other programming.

Summer 2022 Performances:

  • “Private Lives,” June 15-June 25 Old sparks are reignited when exes Elyot and Amanda end up in adjacent rooms at the same hotel. The problem? They are both on their honeymoon … with other people! Their insatiable feelings for each other return as they momentarily forget that their fiery personalities drove them apart in the first place. A beloved 1930 hit comedy by the master of English repartee that’s oozing with wit and sophistication.
  • OUTDOOR PERFORMANCE “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised],” June 29-July 9 Strap on your codpiece as we bring you all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays (plus a few sonnets) in just 97 minutes. His comedies? They’re funny! His tragedies? They’re funnier! Join three madcap actors as they weave their wicked way through the Collected Works for one wild ride that will leave you breathless with laughter. Intimate knowledge of the Bard is not required, a funny bone is!
  • “The Mousetrap,” July 13-30 Seventy years since its London debut and 10 years since it was last on the Playhouse stage, the grande dame of whodunnits returns to the Lakes Region. A group of strangers are trapped in a snowy, countryside guesthouse. A murderer is on the loose and may be among them! Will they be found before any more murders are committed? The suspense has kept audiences on the edge of their seats for as long as Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne!
  • OUTDOOR PERFORMANCE “Robin Hood,” August 3-13 The limbs of the wooded amphitheater become the boughs of Sherwood for this world premiere adaptation of the tale of the legendary outlaw Robin Hood. Expect laughter and mayhem as the (very) merry men (and women) steal their way into your hearts! All your favorite characters will be there from Maid Marian to the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. Would it be a shame to miss this show? It Sherwood!
  • “Lionel Bart’s Oliver!,” August 18-September 3 Consider yourself invited to Lionel Bart’s classic musical based on the Charles Dickens novel, “Oliver Twist.” The Tony and Olivier Award-winning show is one of the few musicals to win an Academy Award for Best Picture and is widely hailed as a true masterpiece.
  • OUTDOOR PERFORMANCE “The Conference of the Birds,” September 7-17 In this renowned and exciting adaption of a poem by the 12th-century Persian mystic, all the birds of the world gather to decide who is to be their king and set out on an epic journey. There are moments of farce and despair as they attempt to cross the desert and the seven valleys with their disturbing riddles. At journey’s end, the survivors come into the presence of the Great One where they discover the secret.

33 Footlight Circle, Meredith
Click here or call (603) 279-0333 for information and tickets.

Categories: Arts & Shopping, Guide to Summer

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