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Summer Guide: Coming to a Stage Near You

  • New London Barn Playhouse 2017 Acting Intern Company members Elijah Dawson, Nadina Hassan and Nick Case are among the actors who will perform in musical revues this summer.



Valley News Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 27, 2017

If not quite all the Valley’s a stage this summer, players of many stripes will strut and fret their hours at many venues, in productions ranging from up-and-coming professionals in landmark musicals and community actors in Disney favorites to a cast of sheep and herding dogs taking over the green in Hanover.

Take the New London Barn Playhouse, which this afternoon lowers the curtain on visiting director Carol Dunne’s updated adaptation of the 1970s musical Godspell before moving on to five more productions. The shows include Marsha Norman’s reimagining of the children’s novel The Secret Garden from June 28 to July 9; Stephen Temperley’s comedy, Souvenir, about the life of New York socialite and aspiring opera singer Florence Foster Jenkins, from July 12 to 16; West Side Story, from July 19 to Aug. 6; the Elvis Presley-inspired musical All Shook Up, from Aug. 9 to 20; and, from Aug. 23 to Sept. 3, On Golden Pond, the drama that playwright Ernest Thompson adapted into the movie that earned Academy Awards for leads Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn as a couple facing advancing age while vacationing in New Hampshire.

The Barn’s summer acting interns, meanwhile, will stage musical revues built around different themes at 5 and 7:30 on the Monday nights of July 3 and 24 and Aug. 14. To order tickets and learn more, visit nlbarn.org or call 603-526-6710.

For something completely different, consider Doggie Hamlet, two free stagings of which Dartmouth College’s Hopkins Center will present on the Hanover green at 4:30 and 7 this coming Thursday afternoon and evening, June 29. With support from sources ranging from the National Endowment for the Arts to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, conceptual artist Ann Carlson is mixing a herd of sheep from a farm in Strafford with herding dogs and dancers in what the Hop describes as a “meditative, largely wordless spectacle” inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, David Wroblewski’s novel The Story of Edgar Sawtelle and Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. To learn more, visit hop.dartmouth.edu.

Meanwhile, shows featuring aspiring local actors, some mixed in with professionals, include:

Adaptations of Disney musicals based on Disney animated movies. On July 7, 8, 9, 13, 14 at 15, North Country Community Theatre takes on Beauty and the Beast at the Lebanon Opera House; visit ncct.org to learn more. And over the weekend of Aug. 4, 5 and 6, performers from BarnArts Summer Youth Theater tackle Lion King Jr. at the Barnard Town Hall; see barnarts.org for more information.

The Summer Pride Theater Festival at Randolph’s Chandler Music Hall, featuring LGBTQ-themed plays over the last two weekends of July, featuring two stagings each of DC Cathro’s Family Holiday, Caroline Sposto’s Out of the Closet and Deborah Salem Smith’s medical drama Love Alone. For tickets and more information, visit chandler-arts.org or call 802-728-6464.

Opera North moves into the Lebanon Opera House for its 35th Summerfest in July, in preparation for performances of Kiss Me, Kate, Cole Porter’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, (running July 29 and Aug. 2, 5, 8, 10 and 12), Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (Aug. 4, 6, 11 and 13) and Offenbach’s La Belle Helene (Aug. 1, 3, 5 and 9). For tickets and more information, visit operanorth.org or call 603-448-0400.

A sampling of other summer productions, by venue, follows:

Marion Cross School, Norwich — Trillium Children’s Performing Arts Company stages Nancy Dingman Watson’s musical adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s children’s novel A Little Princess on June 25 (today) at 4 p.m. Students of Norwich-based piano teacher Victoria Dobrushina act, sing, dance and play music composed by Etna resident Clyde Watson. Admission is free.

Chandler Music Hall, Randolph Shrek the Musical, June 29 and 30 and July 1 and 2. Visit chandler-arts.org or call 802-728-6464.

Old Church Theater, Bradford Making God Laugh, Sean Grennan’s dramedy following a family through 30 years of holiday celebrations, July 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16. Visit oldchurchtheater.org or call 802-222-3322.

Hopkins Center, Hanover — Vox Fest, featuring works of Dartmouth graduates, July 7 and 8; Frost & Dodd Student Play Festival, July 28, 29 and 30; New York Theatre Workshop test-drives six works in progress between Aug. 5 and 19. Visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304.