Late July and August are usually considered the dog days, nothing to do but loll near the ocean and wait for fall. Apparently, Long Island theaters didn’t get the message. The last months of summer bring a variety of interesting outdoor park productions — from a few different takes on Shakespeare to an evening of one-acts by several accomplished playwrights. So get off the beach (but keep your blanket or chair) and see a show. At least you won’t have to worry about sharks.
“Festival of Stage and Song”
While putting final touches on its new East Rockaway theater (scheduled to open next year), Strongbox Theater heads to the park with an evening of eight one-act plays. Anthony Leone, who owns the theater with his wife, Marla D’Urso, says more than 500 plays were submitted from all over the world. All but one of the eight selected is comedic — picture everything from a trio of foul-mouthed squirrels to a woman who speaks only in cliches. The evening also includes music by local songwriters.
WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m. Fridays-Sundays through Aug. 7, Memorial Park, 376 Atlantic Ave., East Rockaway
INFO Pay what you wish, reservations required; 516-725-2078, strongboxtheater.com
“The Taming of the Shrew”
Northeast Stage has been trying to do this show since 2020, when it was shut down by the pandemic. Shakespeare’s comedy about the troubled — and highly volatile — relationship between Katherine and Petruchio “can feel politically incorrect,” acknowledges producer Amie Sponza, but adds the cast and directors have found a palatable way to present the problematic story. The question, as this interpretation goes, is exactly who tames who?
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. July 31, Riverhead waterfront (behind the East End Arts Council, 133 E. Main St.); 7 p.m. Aug. 3, Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber Train Car Park, Southeast corner of Route 112 and Route 347; 7 p.m. Aug. 4, Patchogue Shorefront Park bandshell, 49 Smith St.; and 7 p.m. Aug. 5-7, Greenport Mitchell Park, 115 Front St. (American Sign Language interpretation at Port Jefferson/Terryville and Patchogue shows).
INFO Free; 631-835-2727, northeaststage.org
“Two Gentlemen of Verona”
After last year’s intense “Romeo and Juliet,” EastLine Theatre decided to present one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known comedies for this summer’s touring production. Artistic director Nicole Savin says “ the play is genuinely funny,” with its troupe of lovable bandits and a dog (played by an actor who, strangely enough, also portrays the romantic lead). The production is accompanied by original music.
WHEN | WHERE 6 p.m. July 30, Whitney Pond Park, 133 Valley Rd., Manhasset; 4 p.m. July 31, Wyandanch Plaza, 40 Station Dr.; 2 p.m. Aug. 6, Waterfront Park, 957 S. Long Beach Ave., Freeport
INFO Free; 515-749-5047, eastlinetheatre.org
For its fifth annual Shakespeare in the Gazebo, South Shore Theatre Experience takes on the bard’s famed Scottish play. But if you know this company, you’ll know to not expect the ordinary. Artistic director Deborah Cascio Plezia says the play, with a cast of nearly 20, tells the story from a “totally new and innovative point of view.” Without giving away too much, she says the production is not set in any particular time, that there are hints of New Orleans and steampunk and “there may or may not be an insane asylum involved.”
WHEN | WHERE 6:30 p.m. July 31 and Aug. 3 and 14, Lindenhurst Gazebo, 132 N. Wellwood Ave.; 6:30 p.m. Aug. 7 and 10, Argyle Gazebo, Argyle Park, Rte. 27A, Babylon
INFO Free, reservations required; 631-669-0506 southshoretheatre.com
A HOLOCAUST-THEMED DRAMA FOR INDOORS
“The Soap Myth,” a devastating drama about the Holocaust, returns to Long Island this summer, with a star-studded cast lead by two-time Tony Award nominee Bob Gunton, returning to the New York stage after 30 years. He’s joined in Jeff Cohen’s work by Tony winner John Rubinstein and Carolyn McCormick, best known as Dr. Elizabeth Olivet on “Law and Order.”
The play, by Jeff Cohen, deals with the way history is written as it explores the truth behind rumors of a horrific Nazi atrocity, that soap was made from the bodies of those who perished. The play, which asks who will tell the story once all the survivors are dead, was performed on Long Island in 2018 with the late Ed Asner in the lead role.
WHEN | WHERE Aug. 10-28, Southampton Cultural Center, 25 Pond Lane. Talkbacks with Cohen will follow every performance.
INFO $35-80; 631-287-4377, scc-arts.org
— BARBARA SCHULER