Summer theater for children and otherwise

Members of the Lexington Youth Summer Theater rehearse “Into the Woods,’’ which they will perform on three days later this month at Grace Chapel in Lexington.
Scott Goldberg
Members of the Lexington Youth Summer Theater rehearse “Into the Woods,’’ which they will perform on three days later this month at Grace Chapel in Lexington.

Eliza Morton of Lexington takes nearly any opportunity she can find to appear on stage.

During the past school year, the nine-year-old, who just finished third grade at the Nashoba Brooks School, appeared in “Peter Pan” with the Lexington Recreation Department and “The Sound of Music” with the prestigious Concord Players. But ask her why summer theater is better, and she answers immediately. “You don’t have to try to fit in homework during rehearsals.”

Eliza’s mother, Becky Derby, is a little bit more circumspect about why she is happy to see her daughter taking part in this month’s Lexington Youth Summer Theatre production of “Into the Woods.”


“It gives her a chance to interact with older kids, even high school students,” Derby said. “And she gets to see her peers from Lexington whom she doesn’t go to school with anymore.”

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But Derby admits that she also appreciates the fact that scheduling is easier in the summer. “If a rehearsal runs late into the evening, she can sleep late the next morning.”

Kids throughout the Boston suburbs take the opportunity to inject some drama into their summer vacation.

For some, like Morton, it’s a chance to further refine the theater skills they practice throughout the year, but for others, it’s an opportunity to try something new.

Without school sports, homework, and club activities taking up as much of their time, kids can immerse themselves in a world of scripts, staging, and costumes.


And there is no shortage of theaters welcoming their participation. Although Turtle Lane Playhouse in Newton closed last winter after 32 years in business, many other summer theater programs are going strong.

Morton will appear as both an ensemble member and as Milky White the cow when Lexington Youth Summer Theatre performs “Into the Woods” July 18 and 19 at 7 p.m. and July 20 at 1 p.m. Performances are at Grace Chapel, 59 Worthen Road, Lexington. Tickets are $14 in advance and $16 at the door and can be ordered by calling 781-888-4565 or going to www.lexingtonyouthsummertheatre.org.

Calliope Productions opens its summer season on July 16 with Monty Python’s “Spamalot,” the 2005 Tony Award winning Best Musical that tells the legendary tale of King Arthur’s quest to find the Holy Grail. Young actors from communities including Hudson, Boylston, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Westborough, and West Boylston appear in the cast. Performances will be at Calliope Theatre, 150 Main St., Boylston, July 16 through July 20. Performances on Tuesday through Friday are at 7:30 p.m.; the performances on July 20 are at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $18 for regular admission, and $15 for students and senior citizens. To purchase tickets, call 508-869-6887 or go to www.calliopeproductions.org.

In Weston, Chris Brindley, producer of the 50-year-old Weston Drama Workshop, is excited that his is one of the first companies in Massachusetts to attempt “Shrek The Musical,” with its fairy-tale costumes and fast-moving choreography. The company will stage four other shows this summer, including “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” “Blood Brothers,” and “Almost, Maine.” Tickets are $17 for adults and $12 for children. All those productions run on a staggered schedule from July 18 through July 27. Performances take place at the Regis College Fine Arts Center at 235 Wellesley St., Weston. For dates and times of performances or to purchase tickets, go to www.westondramaworkshop.org or call 781-768-7070.

Like the Weston Drama Workshop, the Arlington Children’s Theatre offers a blitz of theater, with a total of 85 performers taking part in three productions that all take place within two weeks. “The Little Mermaid” will be performed Aug. 4, 8, 10, and 11 by the youngest workshop participants. Actors in the 11-15 age group will perform “The Drowsy Chaperone,” scheduled for Aug. 4, 6, 9, and 10, and high schoolers stage “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Aug. 3, 5, 7, and 10. Tickets for all shows are $15; performances take place at the Regent Theatre, 7 Medford St., Arlington. For more information go to www.act.arlington.ma.us.


Meanwhile, adults have some fun with summer stock themselves this month. In Bellingham, Steps off Broadway Productions Inc., will be performing the stage production of “Peter Pan” on Saturday and Sunday of this weekend (July 6-7) and July 12, 13, and 14. For tickets and show times, call 508-876-9797 or go to www.stepsoffbroadway.com. The Steps Off Broadway theater is located at 799 South Main St., Bellingham, in the Bellingham Marketplace. And at the Reagle Music Theatre, Broadway professionals join forces with local actors to perform “Fiddler on the Roof,” opening July 11 and running through July 21 at 617 Lexington St., Waltham. For show times, tickets, and more information, call 781-891-5600 or go to www.reaglemusictheatre.org.

Send ideas to nancyswest@gmail.com.