Summer''s the time when the local theaters move into high gear, offering fairy tales in the great outdoors, Gypsy in Monterey and Salinas, a little Steinbeck, some Shakespeare and lots of stuff for kids. Without Much Ado, here''s the line-up, in alphabetical order by theater name:
California''s First Theater, which has brough you melodramas from the Gold Rush era since, well, the Gold Rush (more or less) continues its long-playing high-camp tale of woe and wine, The Drunkard. It is scheduled to play until August 1, but they keep pushing that deadline back, so who knows?
The Forest Theater Guild brings us two big shows under the stars in Carmel''s historic outdoor performance space. Oklahoma, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical saga of early prairie life, brings a cast of 50 to the stage through July 3. From July 10 to August 2, look for The Fantasticks, America''s longest running stage show of star-crossed young lovers, featuring the ballads "Try to Remember" and "Soon It''s Gonna Rain."
Magic Circle Theater will close One Flew Over the Cuckoo''s Nest at The Carl Cherry Center for the Arts in Carmel on June 21, and has no further productions scheduled until the fall or later.
Monterey Peninsula College''s theater department has two big shows this summer on the main stage: Mr. What-Not, a madcap comedy of a bumbling "Mr. Bean"-type misfit, directed by Rami Wikdahl, running from June 25 to July 11; and then Gypsy, the hit Broadway musical about the life of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, entertains you from August 13 through 30.
Pacific Repertory Theater offers up its usual hefty helping of summer theater in four separate locations. On their main stage at the Golden Bough in Carmel, this week through July 19, they present a new translation of the comedic drama Cyrano, the tragic love-story of a French swordsman whose heart is as big as his nose. Downstairs in the intimate Circle Theater, Sylvia continues through July 25, bringing us a dog''s eye view of modern married life. In that same space, various local artists will present one-person shows through the month of August.
Still on PacRep''s plate is TheaterFest, Monterey County''s only free public street theater, now in its second decade. Performances run every Saturday and Sunday from June 27 through July 19, and include fairytales fractured in a way your mother never told you, outside in the Custom House Plaza, followed by the Human Chess Game. And each afternoon at 3pm, "Actors in the Adobes" brings us a taste of life in Old Monterey, in the lovely historic setting of Monterey''s Memory Garden.
As if that''s not enough, PacRep opens The Wizard of Oz (the musical) on August 22, running until September 20, on the outdoor stage at The Forest Theater. Back on the main stage at the Golden Bough, the company presents Shakespeare''s history, Antony and Cleopatra, one of the bard''s most difficult, least-performed pieces, here cut to manageable length. The Rome-meets-Egypt play runs September 5 through October 11, alternating with a Shakespearean comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, opening September 26 and closing the series at the Forest Theater on October 11.
Monterey''s Third Studio puts on Mysteries and Transformations, four folktales of wonder and changes, at Pacific Grove''s Forest Hill Manor on June 17. In July, on four weekday evenings, the company presents Peace Tales, 18 folktales about conflict and the struggle for peace, at four Monterey County libraries.
The Unicorn Theater continues Side by Side by Sondheim at the Hoffman Playhouse through July 5, and then opens Guy Things, an original comedy by local actor Rob Foster, running July 10 through August 9. On August 14, they present Steinbeck''s tragic drama Of Mice and Men, running until September 13.
On Saturday afternoons in the Hoffman Playhouse, Unicorn''s Family Fantasy Theater puts on several children''s productions this summer. The Time Machine runs through June 13, Puff the Magic Dragon takes over on June 27, and then Pinocchio hits the stage later in the summer.
In Salinas, The Western Stage at Hartnell College offers a number of must-see productions. The Miracle Worker closes June 20, and a week later, on June 26, the company opens Always, Patsy Cline, a musical revue about the life and times of the popular country singer. Patsy closes July 25, and Gypsy opens July 19, running through July 26 (it closes two weeks before MPC opens the same show!). The world premiere of Steinbeck''s Travels with Charley runs August 6 to 16. Through it all, two comedies run in repertory from July 17 through September 5, Rough Crossing and You Never Can Tell.
The Wharf Theater on Monterey Wharf #1 presents Peter Pan, the classic musical about kids who don''t want to grow up (who does?). Opens July 9. cw
Preview: Friday, 7:30pm; Opening: Saturday, 7:30pm. Comedic Drama. This popular French dramatic comedy, the tale of an 18th-century swordsman and poet cursed with an embarrassingly large probiscus, is presented here in a new British adaptation that PacRep Executive Director Stephen Moorer says restores much of the play''s original humor. Starring roles are filled by three longtime PacRep veterans: John Rousseau as Cyrano; Julie Hughett as Roxanne, the beautiful woman he dares not love; and John Farmanesh-Bocca as Christian, a young soldier who woos Roxanne with poetry penned (and secretly declaimed) by the big-hearted Cyrano. Previous translations were off-putting to some audiences because of awkward renditions of the difficult poetry. Any new translation of this wonderful story is worth a look, particularly in the hands of this talented trio, directed by Moorer. Pacific Repertory Theater, in the Golden Bough, Monte Verde Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues, Carmel. 622-0100. $15/general; $10/children; $10/seniors. Through: 7/19.
Thursday through Sunday, 8pm. Musical Comedy. A cast of 50 sings and dances its way through one of the most famous Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. Filled with overalls and sunshine and corn (or is it wheat?), Oklahoma! features hit numbers including the title song (at last, your chance to learn the rest of the words). It''s been done before and will be done again, but it''s a sure-fire crowd pleaser for the entire family. The Forest Theater, Mountain View and Santa Rita streets, Carmel. 626-1681. $15/general; free/children under 6; $10/seniors. Through: 7/3.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo''s Nest
Thursday, Friday & Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 2pm. Dramatic Comedy. Magic Circle Theater''s Elsa Con directs Dale Wasserman''s classic adaptation of Ken Kesey''s novel. While most productions take the work literally--as the struggle of inmate Randle P. McMurphy against asylum officials--Kesey''s original work rang with bitter condemnation of society at large, and its need to figuratively lobotomize dissidents. The cast features some strong local performers (including Peter Reynolds, Roo Hornady, Rob Foster and Michael Robbins) who have the potential to create a show that is thoughtful, humorous and moving all at the same time. Carl Cherry Center, Guadalupe Street and 4th Avenue, Carmel. 659-8244. $12/general; $10/students and seniors. Through: 6/21.
Performance Brunch Series
Sunday, 11:30am. Play Reading. Playwright Michelle McFadden presents a reading of two short plays. The General Store/Forge in the Forest, Junipero Street and 5th Avenue, Carmel. 624-2233. $14/includes brunch/general.
Side by Side by Sondheim
Friday & Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 7pm. Musical Revue. Director Sid Cato returns to the Monterey Peninsula for this paen to Stephen Sondheim. The play covers the celebrated composer/dramatist''s early works with songs from such shows as West Side Story, Gypsy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music and others. In addition to directing, Cato makes a rare local on-stage appearance with the rest of his cast: Maryann Schaupp Rousseau, John Daniel, Carey Sheffield, and Carl Palme. Often performed on large stages, the relatively small confines of the Hoffman Playhouse should add a refreshing degree of intimacy. This show marks the opening of Unicorn Theater''s ''98-''99 season. Hoffman Ave. Playhouse, 320 Hoffman Ave., Monterey. 649-0259. $15/general/general; $12/children; $12/seniors. Through: 7/5.
Saturday, 2pm; Wednesday, 7:30pm. Comedic Drama. Playwright AR Gurney offers up a look at family relationships throught the eyes of an adopted dog. The show features guest performances by April Burton (as the title pooch) and Barbara Anderson--both of whom have extensive stage and screen credits, Todd Lueders (whose duties with the Community Foundation keep him from taking the stage often enough), and John Farmenesh (a homegrown talent who''s proving himself outside the area), and Director Stephen Moorer, who has a demonstrated flair for staging, the show has a lot of potential for success. Add to that Gurney''s ability to take a serious situation and turn it into a surreal flight of comedic fancy, and you have a lot of reasons for going to see this show. Pacific Repertory Theater, at the Circle Theater in the Golden Bough, Casanova Street between 8th and 9th avenues, Carmel. 622-0100. $15/general; $8/children; $8/seniors. Through: 7/25.
Friday & Saturday, 8pm. Melodrama. Classic melodrama about the evils of drink. California''s First Theater, Scott and Pacific streets, Monterey. 375-4916. Through: 6/30.
The Miracle Worker
Friday & Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 2pm. Drama. Although it''s become a favorite of high school and community theater groups (and possibly, therefore, overexposed), William Gibson''s contemporary classic is emotionally powerful in relating the story of the young, blind, deaf and mute Helen Keller, and her teacher, miracle worker Annie Sullivan. With Jani Davis (who always provides a steady, compassionate quality to her characters) in the title role, this promises to be a good, uplifting--although now-predictable--tear-jerker as the pair triumph over physical and societal adversity. Western Stage of Hartnell College, 156 Homestead Ave., Salinas. 755-6816, 375-2111. $15/general; $10/children; $13/students and seniors. Through: 6/20.