by Gail M. Burns, July 28, 2009

Here's what's FREE this summer - mostly Shakespeare, because there are no royalties to pay - but a couple of other diversions as well. I've also listed a the "Pick Your Price" performances on offer.

Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts

The Arts Center will produce a 45 minute outdoor production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to be performed at the parks and beaches of twelve Adirondack towns. The cast will feature a unique mixture of professional actors from New York City and local aspiring actors. The production will be open to the general public, is appropriate for all ages, and is free admission.

"A Midsummer Night's Dream"
July 29 at 2 p.m. at Raquette Lake, NY
July 30 at 2 p.m. at Donnelly Beach in Railroad Depot in North Creek, NY
July 31 at 7 p.m. at Visitor Interpretive Center at Paul Smith's College
August 1 at 2 p.m. at Inlet, NY
August 1 at 7 p.m. at Speculator, NY

Berkshire Playwrights Lab

The Berkshire Playwrights Lab is the artistic collaboration of founders Joe Cacaci, Jim Frangione, Bob Jaffe, and Matthew Penn, all established theater professionals.

Audiences will see and hear exciting new plays performed and staged, script in hand, by a talented cast of New York professionals. The actors, author, and director will rehearse in the beautiful Berkshires for three days, culminating in a full exploration of the text that will bring the writer's words to life onstage.

Reading of "Scrambled Eggs" by Robin Amos Kahn and Gary Richards
July 29 at 8 p.m. Directed by Matthew Penn

"Scrambled Eggs" is a play about a woman reevaluating her world at a time of crisis. She struggles to create a meaningful life while coping with crazy parents, inner doubt, marital strife, familial responsibilities, and hormonal hysteria.

Free Staged Readings of New Plays
Wednesdays August 12, August 26, and September 16 at 8 p.m.
at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

The Classic Theater Guild

The 2009 Helderberg Theater Festival
Free, outdoor performances at at Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont, NY

"Much Ado About Nothing"
July 31 and August 1, 6 & 8 at 7 p.m.
August 2 & 9 at 2 p.m.

"Charlotte's Web"
July 31 and August 1, 2, 7-9 at 5 p.m.

Fifth Annual Director's Project: "The Good Doctor" & "The Syringa Tree"
July 30 and August 2, 7 & 9 at 7 p.m.
August 1 & 8 at 2 p.m.

The Theatre Company at Hubbard Hall

"A Midsummer Night's Dream"
All performances outdoors at 7 p.m.

July 29 at the The Georgi Museum

Mettawee River Theatre Company

Our outdoor production for 2009 is Beyond the High Valley - a Quechua story. The Quechua people are descendants of the Incas, and their villages are located in the Andean highlands of Peru. As the story begins, a giant condor spies a young woman tending her family's llamas in a meadow. He sweeps down from the sky, transforms into a dashing lover and then carries her off to a rocky crag. Her unlikely rescuer is a creature of dazzling ingenuity, a plucky little hummingbird. Our production will incorporate a range of puppets and other visual elements realized on many different scales, expressing the vast distances, radiant sky and rugged, vertical thrust of this fierce and beautiful terrain.

(all shows are outdoors at 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted)
July 30 at Beggs Point Park, Essex, NY
July 31 on the Buckland-Shelburne School lawn, Shelburne Falls, MA
August 1 on the Mountain School lawn, Shrewsbury, VT at 7:30 p.m.
August 2 on Pettingill Field, Main St., Cummington, MA
August 6 on the The Georgi Museum lawn, Shushan, NY

Park Playhouse
Disney’s "High School Musical"
Through August 23
Tuesday-Sunday at 8 p.m.
"Seussical, Jr."
August 4-16

Shakespeare & Company

Donald Freed brings his newest work, "Hamlet in Rehearsal," for a special reading on Wednesday, August 5 at 1 p.m. at S&Co.’s Production and Performing Arts Center, Studio 3, directed by Gina Kaufman. It will be followed by a talkback with the director and playwright. This reading is free and open to the public and members of the media, but is not open for review.

A delightfully high-energy adaptation of the beloved children’s classic tale, Toad of Toad Hall is the centerpiece of this year’s free, outdoor Bankside Festival, which fills the Shakespeare & Company grounds, gardens, and outdoor Rose Footprint Theatre with a cornucopia of always-free entertainment, featuring the assorted antics of sword-fighting knights, mischievous servants, and musicians—not to mention special, one-time events and a host of lectures and demonstrations.

A.A. Milne’s Toad of Toad Hall is a distillation of one of the stories found within the beloved classic Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. It is directed by internationally acclaimed director Irina Brook, features music by S&Co.’s Resident Music Director Bill Barclay, and is brought vividly to life by a tireless troupe of some of the Company’s finest young actors, many of whom have honed and seasoned their craft in the Education Program’s New England Tour of Shakespeare or past Bankside productions.

"Toad of Toad Hall"
Through August 29
on the Rose Footprint Theatre

Performed in Two Parts
Part A plays on Wednesdays at 5:30pm and Saturdays at 12:30 p.m.
Part B plays on Fridays and Saturdays at 5:30 p.m.


Bakerloo Theatre Project

"Much Ado About Nothing"
Pay What You Can night July 29 at 7 p.m.

The "pay what you can" offer is only available at the box office and credit cards are not accepted.

Main Street Stage

One of Shakespeare's most popular comedies, Twelfth Night is a story about love, music, mistaken identity, and a world in which perception and reality frequently are at odds with each other. The decision to mount Twelfth Night this summer came from a desire to bring comedy to a community emerging from a dark winter and tough economic time. People simply need a good laugh! After holding a public reading of portions of the script that included talk back with the audience a few months ago, and collaborating with a group of artists and community members, the themes that continued to rise to the surface were: deception, love, music, trickery, and reality vs. perception. From these discussions, the decision was made to set this production of Twelfth Night in the summer of 1969 in Coney Island, NY. The amusement park feel, the "summer of love" environment, and Woodstock all make this a perfect environment for the life of this timeless comedy.

"Twelfth Night"
Pay-What-You-Can-Preview July 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Pay-What-You-Can Community Night August 13 at 7:30 p.m.
and one FREE outdoor performance August 9 at 2 p.m. at Windsor Lake Park

2009 Berkshire Fringe Festival
all performances in the Daniels Arts Center at Simon's Rock

The Berkshire Fringe is a 21 day summer festival presenting dynamic new works of theater, dance and music by emerging artists from across the United States—as well as those right from our own backyard. The 5th Annual Berkshire Fringe will take place from Monday, July 27th-Monday, August 17th and present dozens of groundbreaking original performances, special events, community workshops and free music. The Berskshire Fringe is presented by Bazaar Productions, Inc., a nonprot arts organization.

“The Gay Agenda's Big Broadway Show”
Pick Your Price Opening Night July 29 at 8 p.m.
“The Disappearing Woman”
Pick Your Price Opening Night July 30 at 7 p.m.
Staged Reading of “Hurricane Hotel”
August 2 at 2 p.m.
Pick Your Price Opening Night August 5 at 8 p.m.
“Elephants and Gold”
Pick Your Price Opening Night August 6 at 7 p.m.
"Phi Alpha Gamma"
Pick Your Price Opening Night August 12 at 8 p.m.
“The Graveyard Shift”
Pick Your Price Opening Night August 13 at 7 p.m.
EarlyStages Playwright Mentorship Program performances
August 16 at noon, 1:30 & 3 p.m.

copyright Gail M. Burns, 2009

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