15 Summer Theaters for That Nearby, Out-of-Town Experience

Another plus: what you spend on that inn, you’ll save on the tickets.

So here’s a selection of theater that will help you get out of the city — or at least make you feel like you did.

Formerly the jewel of the summer theater circuit, famous for classics and knotty new works, the Williamstown Theater Festival, in Williamstown, Mass., is regrouping after its production model, dependent on unpaid labor, collapsed. This season includes just one home-grown, fully staged production: David Ives’s detective drama, “Pamela Palmer” (starting July 23). But much more is going on, including a multigenre, multistage event called “WTF Is Next” (Aug. 1-4). Think of it not as crisis management but as a tasting platter of ideas for the future.

A different formula — mixing popular musicals with thoughtful contemporary work — has helped Barrington Stage Company, just 20 miles down the road in Pittsfield, Mass., thrive where others have struggled. This season is no different, including the musicals “La Cage Aux Folles” (through Saturday) and “Next to Normal” (starting Aug. 13) but also the raucous comedy “Boeing Boeing” (starting July 17).

With programming that’s all over map — plays, musicals, concerts, standup — it makes sense that the Berkshire Theater Group is all over the map as well, with two theaters in Stockbridge, Mass., and one in nearby Pittsfield. For traditional theatergoers, this season’s best prospects include a pair of rare revivals, apt for a presidential election year: “Abe Lincoln in Illinois,” directed by the playwright David Auburn (through July 14) and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Pipe Dream” (starting July 26).

Goodspeed Musicals has a split personality. At its main stage along the banks of the Connecticut River in East Haddam, Conn. — a 19th-century jewel called the Opera House — it produces revivals of much-loved war horses. At its modern Terris Theater, 10 minutes away in Chester, it fosters original works. “South Pacific,” directed by Chay Yew, looks to be the highlight in East Haddam (through Aug. 11); at the Terris, it might well be “Ask for the Moon,” a farcical new ocean-liner comedy from the director Darko Tresnjak (starting July 19).

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