Whether you’re ready or not, summer is here. That means that it’s time to put away your favorite jeans; slap on a pair of shorts, throw on a pair of sandals and enjoy the finest weather the year has to offer. From days at the beach to cool nights that are perfect for stargazing, summer weather can be fine enough to keep you outdoors 24/7. Unfortunately those who love theater are stuck indoors watching their favorite work and not getting to appreciate that beautiful weather outdoors. Fear not, because all across America there are incredible outdoor theaters that will be putting on stellar performances under the summer sun. Here are a few of the best outdoor theaters that you have to check out this summer.
1. Sundance Resort Theater- Sundance Mountain Resort, Utah
If you’re a movie lover, then you know Sundance for its outstanding film festival. Don’t be fooled, there is great musical theater to be seen here too. While the film festival takes place during the winter when the snow is still falling on the world famous ski slopes nearby, the Sundance Resort Theater opens in late July when summer is firmly in control.
The outdoor stage is surrounded by massive evergreen trees and picturesque mountains, making this stage an unforgettable place to witness a musical. This year, the Sundance Resort Theater will be showing Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat up until August 12th. Don’t miss out on experiencing this venue, and if you’re hungry check out the nightly barbecue next door.
2. The Muny – St. Louis, Missouri
Even if the outdoors isn’t for you, The Muny should be a bucket list destination for all theater lovers. The Muny isn’t just the oldest outdoor theater in America, established in 1919, it’s also the largest with a capacity of 11,000 people.
If that isn’t enough to attract you, then the incredible slate of shows offered there every summer will. This year’s lineup has 7 shows running from June 12th – August 13th and includes Jesus Christ Superstar, Newsies, and A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. The Muny is an affordable and fun way to see some of Broadway’s best in an atmosphere like no other.
3. The Lost Colony – Roanoke, Virginia
While the Muny may be the oldest outdoor theater, The Lost Colony is home to America’s oldest mystery, and the oldest outdoor symphonic drama to boot.
Since 1937, The Lost Colony outdoor theater has stood on the same ground where the actual colony of Roanoke stood before all of its settlers disappeared without a trace. While no one knows what happened to the settlers, every summer over 200 locals put together this show that tells you what might have happened. This isn’t just community theater though, in 2013 the Lost Colony received a Tony award for Excellence In The Theater. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better mixture of American history, and excellent musical theater outdoors.
4. The Old Globe – San Diego, California
If these outdoor summer theater experiences have you wishing that it could be summer all year, then here’s some good news for you. In Southern California, it is summer all year. Accordingly, they have outdoor theater at the Old Globe Theater nearly year round.
Right in the middle of one of San Diego’s most tourist friendly areas, The Old Globe theater should be a stop on everyone’s list. Even if there are no shows, just seeing the intimate setting created by the thrust stage in a small venue is cool on its own. This summer you can catch classics like Hamlet mixed in with newer shows you may not have heard of yet. Don’t be surprised if you see Hollywood talent sneaking on stage at this outstanding outdoor theater.
5. The Public Theater at The Delacorte – New York, New York
Every summer, the Public Theater moves from its home at Astor Place and puts on its Free Shakespeare in the Park program at the Delacorte Theater in the heart of Central Park. Just as the name implies this is free theater, and you won’t want to miss out.
Not only is the stage surrounded by real trees, but also offers views of Turtle pond and Belvedere Castle, making this one of the most unique and beautiful outdoor theaters in America. Maybe that’s why people are so serious about getting a ticket to the show. The Delacorte only holds just over 1,800 people, and considering that the tickets are given out on a first come first serve basis you can bet that there will be a line to wait in. Can you really complain though? After all you are waiting in the middle of Central Park during the summer, and if you stick it out not only will you get to see fantastic theater but you might spot a celebrity too.
To experience a wonderful piece performed outdoors, watch Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes on Aldeburgh Beach here on Cennarium.