Behind the curtain

Summer theater just a short road trip away


The Lansing area offers an extraordinary amount of talented theater companies. So much so that during the fall, winter and spring, theatergoers find themselves choosing between multiple productions nearly every weekend. But there is also extraordinary theater being produced just a few hours away, and it may warrant a road trip for theater lovers, especially now that most Lansing-area companies have finished their seasons. 


“Be Here Now”

July 13-Aug. 20

8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday

3 p.m. Saturday (beginning July 22)

2 p.m. Sunday

Williamston Theatre

122 S. Putnam St., Williamston


Before we move out of the Lansing area, note that the Williamston Theatre begins its production of “Be Here Now” with preview performances July 13 through 16. The theater’s final show of the season runs through August 20 and is touted as “a comedic look at what we’re willing to do for love, happiness and to create meaning in our lives.” If this past season’s offerings are any indication, this play is going to be worth the short drive to Williamston.


“Macbeth,” “Pericles, Prince of Tyre” and “A Flea in Her Ear”

July 18-Aug. 20

Village Theater at Cherry Hill

50400 Cherry Hill Road, Canton


For a list of performance dates and times, visit

For the Shakespeare buffs among us, check out the Michigan Shakespeare Festival at the Village Theater at Cherry Hill in Canton. The company of professional actors is producing three different shows, cycling through different days of the week for each throughout the five-week run. The first two are Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” and “Pericles, Prince of Tyre,” and the third is Georges Feydau’s 1907 farce “A Flea in Her Ear.” 

As a side note, Michigan Shakespeare Festival artistic director Jan Blixt and her husband, David Blixt, have been involved in the company for years. David was part of the 1996 season, back when the company was called the Jackson Shakespeare Festival. The couple lives in the Chicago area, and they often recruit a recurring cast of actors from that tight-knit professional theater scene, showing off extraordinary talent from right here in the Midwest. The shows, under Jan Blixt’s direction, have won multiple awards throughout the years. David Blixt has a side gig writing historical fiction, which is also doing quite well. 


“Anything Goes,” “Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery,” “The Wizard of Oz” and “Escape to Margaritaville”

July 5-16, July 18-30, Aug. 1-13, Aug. 15-27

8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

5 p.m. Sunday

Barn Theatre

13351 M-96, Augusta


The Barn Theatre School for Advanced Theatre Training in Augusta, Michigan, is a professional equity theater that offers instruction, training and practical experience to apprentice theater performers and staff. Its second production of the summer, the beloved musical “Anything Goes,” runs Wednesday (July 5) through July 16, and its production of “Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery” runs July 18 through 30. Following those shows are “The Wizard of Oz” Aug. 1 through 13 and Jimmy Buffett’s “Escape to Margaritaville” Aug. 15 through 27. If you haven’t visited the school before, it’s worth the trip. Plan on spending some time after the show watching the interns and actors singing and playing in the bar located on the property. 


“That’s Entertainment! A Musical Revue,” “The 39 Steps” and “Honky Tonk Angels”

7:30 p.m. July 7, 8, 14-15

2 p.m. July 15-16

The Playhouse at White Lake

304 S. Mears Ave., Whitehall


Over on the west side of the state in Whitehall is The Playhouse at White Lake. This weekend, the historic theater is playing host to performances by Central Michigan University’s Department of Theatre. Friday (July 7), the students will offer up “That’s Entertainment: A Musical Revue,” a journey through some of Broadway’s most beloved songs and scenes. Saturday (July 8), they’ll perform “39 Steps,” a spy thriller based on the 1935 film by Alfred Hitchcock and the 1915 novel by John Buchan. The theater itself is producing “Honky Tonk Angels,” about three women who move to Nashville, Tennessee, to pursue their dreams of being musicians, July 14 through 16.


“Space Quest”

July 6-9

7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday

1:30 p.m. Sunday

Riverside Arts Center

76 N. Huron St., Ypsilanti


Down in Ypsilanti, adventurers can fly to a galaxy “not too far away” as members of the first audiences to witness the new musical “Space Quest,” running at the Riverside Arts Center Thursday (July 6) through Sunday (July 9). In the show, “An ordinary couple is thrust into the middle of the galactic conflict when their ship is stolen by a pair of smugglers and a wizard’s apprentice. The five of them must journey across the cosmos to save the galaxy.” To find out more and purchase tickets, visit


Stratford Festival

Multiple venues in Stratford, Ontario


For a list of performance dates, times and locations, visit 

For a bit more of a weekend trip, theatergoers might consider driving over the border to spend some time checking out the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario. North America’s largest classical repertory theater company is producing the Shakespeare plays “Richard II” Wednesday (July 5) through Sept. 28, “King Lear” Wednesday through Oct. 29, “Much Ado About Nothing” Thursday (July 6) through Oct. 27 and “Love’s Labour’s Lost” Aug. 23 through Oct. 1. 

But wait, there’s more! The company is also producing Monty Python’s “Spamalot” Wednesday through Oct. 28 and “Rent” Wednesday through Oct. 28, plus six other modern shows: “A Wrinkle in Time” Wednesday through Oct. 29, “Wedding Band” Wednesday through Oct. 1, “Grand Magic” Thursday through Sept. 29, “Women of the Fur Trade” Saturday (July 8) through July 30, “Frankenstein Revived” Aug. 6 through Oct. 28 and “Les Belles-Soeurs” Aug. 8 through Oct. 28. With all these options, the Stratford Festival a weekend getaway likely to satisfy  even the most finicky theatergoer. 


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

Connect with us