Theater: Five must-sees onstage this summer

It's too late to catch Alan Cumming as "Macbeth," but make sure you don't miss the rest! Credit: Joan Marcus
Alan Cumming offers a new spin on “Macbeth.”
Credit: Joan Marcus

Summer is known for being soaked in sweat, drowned in sunlight or drenched in downpour. Yet it’s a veritable drought for exciting new theater. Many of the big-name shows from spring start to close (those that don’t see a sudden flush of ticket sales following the Tonys). So what should you make sure to see this season before it’s too late? Metro rounds up the best of what’s showing now that won’t be here when temps cool down and theater heats back up.

‘Macbeth’
Through July 14

Following a successful 2012 run at Lincoln Center, Tony Award winner Alan Cumming brought his killer one-man show to Broadway to shock and awe audiences with his interpretation of the story of “Macbeth” that takes place in a psychiatric ward following a terrible tragedy. www.macbethonbroadway.com

‘The Nance’
Through Aug. 11

Starring Nathan Lane in the title role, this play tells the story of a conflicted gay burlesque performer who needs to conceal his identity and proclivities in the 1930s. The play won three Tony Awards in 2013, including for Best Scenic Design by John Lee Beatty. www.lct.org

Shakespeare in the Park
‘Comedy of Errors’ through June 30; ‘Loves Labours Lost’ through Aug. 18

For the 51st year of its acclaimed free outdoor theater series, The Public Theater is staging two shows. “The Comedy of Errors” stars Hamish Linklater and Jesse Tyler Ferguson as a set of identical twins who are caught up in a case of mistaken identity (see page 19). A new musical adaptation of “Love’s Labours Lost” by the creators of “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” is coming up next, starting July 23. www.shakespeareinthepark.org

‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike’
Through Aug. 25

Revitalized from its sold-out run at Lincoln Center in 2012, this hilarious new play by Christopher Durang tells the story of two siblings who never left home and what happens when the sister who did returns. It stars Sigourney Weaver, David Hyde Pierce and Kristine Nielsen. It won the 2013 Tony Awards for Best Play. www.vanyasoniamashaspike.com

‘Murder Ballad’
Through Sept. 29

For a perfect downtown date night, “Murder Ballad” offers a short, 90-minute set of rock ballads in Union Square. The story follows a tale of romance, deception and — you guessed it — a mysterious death. The audience sits all around the stage, while some witness it close-up at tables that the performers — including the talented Caissie Levy — utilize throughout. www.murderballad.com


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