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The Ultimate Guide to Cape Cod Summer Theater

Cape Cod's 2017 summer theatre season is full of Broadway-caliber musicals, drama and diversity.

Cape Cod is perhaps as synonymous with the arts as it is with beaches and mini golf. Home to a thriving community of writers, painters, actors, and other artists, the Cape boasts plenty of outlets for visitors looking for a creative excursion. Theater is among the most accessible and family-friendly options for summer travelers.

Over two dozen professional and community theaters are scattered throughout the Cape's towns and villages. Together, they offer a busy summer schedule of productions that range from Broadway-caliber musicals and children's shows to original works and cutting-edge drama, all characterized by diversity, professionalism, passion, and ingenuity - and without the Broadway price tag. Whether a lifelong theater lover or simply a curious traveler looking for an artistic afternoon, visitors of any background or level of interest will find something to enjoy.

Cotuit Center for the Arts - Cotuit

With offerings that range from classes and galleries to concerts and theater, the Cotuit Center for the Arts celebrates the full scope of artistic practice. Theater at the Center is varied and combines an intimate setting with some of the finest local and national performers to produce a unique experience. "You can't see stars of this caliber for these prices on Broadway as up close and personal as you'll see them here," explains Marketing Manager Daniel Fontneau.

Visitors have two live theater options to choose from: the main stage and the Black Box Theater. On the main stage this summer, the Center is presenting the Sondheim classic, Sunday in the Park with George (July 6 – 30) as well as the Broadway at Cotuit Series, which will feature performances from Broadway stars Chita Rivera (July 17), Megan Hilty (July 31), and Sutton Foster (August 16). The Black Box Theater, on the other hand, presents edgier and innovative material in a newly-renovated theater with seating for only about two dozen. 

Monomoy Theatre - Chatham

Given the high-quality performances and professional mindset of the performers, visitors unfamiliar with Chatham’s Monomoy Theatre may be surprised to learn that the cast consists primarily of students. The Theatre serves as a training ground for young theater artists who, along with professional directors and seasoned actors working alongside them, bring an exceptional level of passion and enthusiasm to the Theatre’s performances.

The Monomoy Theatre produces eight shows every summer, ranging from musicals to Shakespeare to contemporary hits. “I think the most unique aspect of the Monomoy Theatre is the repertoire of plays we represent,” says Artistic Director Alan Rust. “We’re fortunate to be in a community that appreciates and encourages us to present a wide selection of dramatic literature ranging from popular and classic musicals to contemporary comedies to classical works.” This summer, highlights include the hilarious A Flea in Her Ear (July 18 – 22), the musical 110 in the Shade (July 27 – 29 and July 31 – August 5), and George Bernard Shaw’s classic comedy, Candida (August 8 – 12).

Cape Rep Theatre - Brewster

Located on the grounds of the beautiful Nickerson State Park in Brewster, the Cape Rep Theatre in Brewster presents creative, engaging, and family-friendly productions from both the traditional repertoire and from the original work of local playwrights. The Theatre has occupied the grounds of the former Camp Monomoy since 1992 and after decades of community fundraising has restored four historic buildings, offering visitors a chance to experience excellent theatre in a highly unique setting.

This summer, the Indoor Theatre will present the new comedy, Men on Boats (June 22 – July 22) and the Tony Award-winning Elton John musical, Billy Elliot: The Musical (August 2 – 27). The Cape Rep Theatre also maintains the only outdoor theater on Cape Cod and produces daily children’s shows throughout the summer and frequently hosts concerts and other special events.

Cape Playhouse - Dennis

The Cape Playhouse in Dennis is the oldest professional theater on the Cape and is synonymous with Broadway in the region. Throughout its ninety-one seasons, many famous Broadway and Hollywood stars have performed on the Playhouse’s stage, including Bette Davis, Gertrude Lawrence, Humphrey Bogart, Julie Harris, and both Henry and Jane Fonda.

Perfect for visitors seeking a traditional theater experience without the expense or hassle of Broadway, the Playhouse produces productions of equal caliber to their New York City counterparts. Highlights from the 2017 season include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (July 11 – 22), Red (July 25 – August 5), and Gypsy (August 8 – 19).

Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater - Wellfleet

At the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, visitors will find a unique program of innovative modern works. One of a handful of professional theaters in the area, WHAT specializes in thought-provoking and cutting-edge productions, frequently premiering new works by up-and-coming playwrights that draw on the local Cape Cod setting.

WHAT is a great destination for visitors seeking a fresh perspective on theater, while the WHAT for Kids productions are perfect for families. On the main Julie Harris Stage, this season features Painting Churches (June 15 – July 9) and the highly-anticipated world premiere of The Empaths (July 20 – August 19), while What for Kids’ clever interpretation of the Cinderella story, Colony of the Cats (July 12 – August 24), is a fun and cost-effective way to introduce kids to live theater.


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