See a show

A preview of this summer’s theatrical offerings

Sacramento Shakespeare Festival’s production of <i>Macbeth</i> in 2007.

Sacramento Shakespeare Festival’s production of Macbeth in 2007.

Music Circus at the Wells Fargo Pavilion, 1419 H Street; (916) 557-1999;
Fair Oaks Theatre Festival at the Veterans Memorial Amphitheatre, 7991 California Avenue in Fair Oaks;
Sacramento Shakespeare Festival at the William A. Carroll Amphitheatre in William Land Park; (916) 558-2173;
Main Street Theatre Works at the Kennedy Mine Amphitheatre in Jackson; (209) 304-6690;

There’s never a shortage of good theater in the area, but summer offers some special opportunities. In addition to the ever-popular Music Circus, with staged-in-the-round professional productions of popular musicals, there are a number of options for those who want to combine a show with the out-of-doors.

Let’s start with the grand dame of Sacramento musical theater, Music Circus. On the plus side, they’re kicking off the season with the local premiere of Monty Python’s Spamalot in a 10-day run that starts July 9. This show is bound to be a big seller, so get tickets for it early. It’s followed by Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (July 20-25) and Oklahoma! (July 27-August 1). They’re both solid shows but also frequently done; the professional productions will make them worth seeing if it’s been a while.

The next intriguing show up is Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, based on the 1988 film that starred Michael Caine and Steve Martin. There’s a twisted edge to the comedy—as well as some fun music. It runs August 3-8, and is followed by Funny Girl, a show that’s almost as old as SN&R’s critics. In this case, though, older is better, as Funny Girl is loaded with songs and gags that stand the test of time. It runs August 10-15.

One of the newer shows of the season is next, but in this case, “new” has very little meaning. The Marvelous Wonderettes is a sort of female version of Forever Plaid, which means it may not be for everyone. However, if female ’50s pop vocals are your thing—“Lollipop” and “Stupid Cupid” are usually in the show—it should fill the nostalgia quotient during its August 17-22 run. The season closes out with 42nd Street in a short run from August 24 through August 29. This 1981 Tony Award winner has the advantage of seriously classic songs like “Lullaby of Broadway” and some dynamite dancing stretched over a pretty traditional plot. Still, it’s guaranteed to have some kicks.

Also on the musical theater agenda, but bearing the added advantage of being outdoors under Fair Oaks’ skies (and within range of Fair Oaks’ chickens) is the Fair Oaks Theatre Festival. Minnie’s Boys, a lighthearted show about the early life of the Marx Brothers, runs July 18 through 25. The other full-scale production on the schedule is the perennial You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, which runs August 13 through September 12.

Of course, the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival will have A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Othello in repertory at the amphitheater in William Land Park, but there’s yet another shot at outdoor shows up in the foothills at the Main Street Theatre Works at the Kennedy Mine Amphitheatre in Jackson. They’ll be opening Treasure Island on June 18; it runs through July 24. It will be followed by an updated version of A Servant of Two Masters, which runs August 6 through September 4.