What’s onstage at Shakespeare theaters in September

“Love’s Labor’s Lost,” at American Players Theatre. Photo by Liz Lauren.

It may be back-to-school season, but as far as Shakespeare theaters are concerned, summer’s not quite over. There’s still time to catch shows from the summer seasons at the American Players Theatre, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum,  the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Utah Shakespeare Festival, and others. If you’re in either Atlanta, GA, or Garrison, NY, this month also offers the opportunity to see two real husband-and-wife duos play two of Shakespeare’s most famous couples. Read on to see what’s onstage at a Shakespeare theater near you.

Jaclyn Hofmann Faircloth and Nicholas Faircloth as Beatrice and Benedick in “Much Ado About Nothing,” Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern.

Atlanta Shakespeare Company’s Much Ado About Nothing runs through October 2. Real-life married couple Jaclyn Hofmann Faircloth and Nicholas Faircloth play Beatrice and Benedick. It’s either going to be really good or really bad for their relationship. . . we can’t decide.

Love’s Labor’s Lost triumphantly returns to American Players Theatre for the first time in 20 years in a vibrant new production directed by Artistic Director, Brenda DeVita. A sweet and witty Shakespeare perfect for the summer, Love’s Labor’s Lost delights audiences of all ages in this celebratory production running through October 2. There’s more what that comes from: Hamlet, Sense and Sensibility, The Rivals, The Moors, The River Bride, A Raisin in the Sun, and more also continue into September.

The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company begins its 20th season with the play that started it all: Twelfth NightIn 2002, the company established itself with a single production of Shakespeare’s popular romantic comedy at a small black box theatre in Ellicott City, MD. Twenty seasons later, the production’s original director, Founding Artistic Director Ian Gallanar, will pay homage to the company’s inaugural presentation in their award-winning theatre in Downtown Baltimore. In 2002, “the show was only seen by 100 people,” Gallanar remembers. “It started as an idea that we could connect a new audience to Shakespeare. I couldn’t conceive, when we started, that we would last to a twentieth birthday. I’m so excited to revisit this show and watch it usher in the next twenty years.” The production begins September 30.

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company begins their 2022/23 season this month with King Lear, Shakespeare’s infamous, brutal tragedy. Lear director and Producing Artistic Director Brian Isaac Phillips says, “in Shakespeare’s day, when the plague shut down theaters, Shakespeare wrote King Lear. Well, a plague shut down our theater and we are going to come back by staging King Lear!” The company takes the parallel further, translating the play into a modern-day Succession-inspired production. King Lear runs through October 1.

“Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play,” at Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

This month at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, see Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play and Romeo and Juliet (through September 18). In Anne Washburn’s Mr. Burns (through September 17) survivors in a post-apocalyptic world turn to Bart Simpson for solace. This surprisingly funny and deeply poignant play will leave you thinking about politics, climate change, energy consumption—and, most importantly, our deep need for connection with others and hope.

The Festival’s Romeo and Juliet (through September 18) is an age-blind production featuring married couple Kurt Rhoads and Nance Williamson (in their 69th production together!) in the title roles. The season features a few faces you might have seen at Folger Theatre: From 2017’s As You Like It, Gaye Taylor Upchurch directs Romeo and Juliet with Kimberly Chatterjee as Friar Laurence; Zach Fine, seen in 2019’s Love’s Labor’s Lost, appears in both R & J and Mr. Burns.

At the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Once on this Island, The Tempest, Revenge Song: A Vampire Cowboys Creation, King John (directed by Folger Board of Governors member and 1 Henry IV-director Rosa Joshi), and Confederates all continue through September.

St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s Shakespeare in the Streets is an award-winning community engagement program that takes a year of community listening in one neighborhood and creates a new, Shakespeare-inspired work for a weekend of celebration. September 22, 23, and 24 at 8 pm, the Festival and the historic immigrant neighborhood of Bevo Mill will come together for three free performances  of Winds of Change, written by Deanna Jent, directed by Adam Flores, and based on The Comedy of Errors. Bevo Mill’s rich history as a port of entry for many immigrants since the city’s founding—from German settlers to Bosnian refugees to today’s Afghan families—will be explored with a large-scale production featuring stories and performances from community members alongside professional artists. Catch the show at the intersection of Gravois and Morgan Ford Roads.

Enjoying “Much Ado About Nothing,” from the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival.

There are just a few more days to catch the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s Much Ado About Nothing. The production wraps up its time at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in San Francisco’s McLaren Park on Sunday, September 11.

This Much Ado is set in an alternate-timeline San Francisco that blends the early 90’s and mid-2000’s, reminding us this isn’t quite today, but familiar. The male characters have returned from a long protest, grunge is still topping the charts, acid-washed jeans are everywhere, a nondescript spirituality is practiced, and for some reason it’s still taboo to lose your virginity before marriage. The production playfully explores embodied gender and how we all dance on the masculine and feminine spectrum. You may notice the not-so-subtle sun and moon on the stage representing that balance within us all. How do we find harmony within ourselves? How do we reform our society to find a healthy balance?

David Strathairn in “Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski,” Theatre for a New Audience.

Theatre for a New Audience is kicking off its 43rd season with Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski, September 10 – October 9. This New York premiere stars Oscar-nominated actor David Strathairn portraying the Polish World War II hero and Holocaust witness Jan Karksi. After premiering at Georgetown University’s Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics in 2019, Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski played at Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C; and at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Shakespeare Dallas continues its 50th anniversary season with Hamlet, directed by Christie Vela, onstage through October 15.

At the Utah Shakespeare Festival, there’s still time to catch King Lear (but hurry: it closes tomorrow), The Tempest, The Sound of Music, and Clue. Thurgood begins September 14.

In Act 1 of The Tempest, Prospero summons a magical storm. This theatrical tempest was reflected in real-life as a monsoon season storm swelled outside the Anes Theatre in late August, providing the cast and audience members with an unforgettable experience. Aidan O’Reilly, playing Caliban, shares, “The kid in me can’t help but hope that when you’re doing a play called The Tempest and it’s a monsoon outside, the world is giving you a playful thumbs up.”

The festival closes October 8.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum.

There’s a lot to see at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum this month. The theater’s productions of The Merry Wives of Windsor, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The West Side Waltz, and Trouble the Water all continue through the month. Plus, the Under The Oaks concert series features performances by Much Ado About Music (September 8), Acoustic Asylum (September 22), and The McDaniel Brothers (September 29). Join the company for a night of Steven Sondheim with Cabaret Theatricum Sings Sondheim (September 15), featuring selections from Sunday In The Park With George, Sweeney Todd, West Side Story, Company, Assassins, Into The Woods, and many more.

Theatricum’s Merry Wives is re-set in 1950s small-town America, with a score of rockin’ ’50s tunes, and Falstaff on a Harley. Meanwhile, this production of A West Side Waltz is a family affair, with Theatricum artistic director Ellen Geer as the play’s aging concert pianist; her sister Melora Marshall as her violin-playing spinster neighbor; and daughter Willow Geer as a would-be actress on New York’s Upper West Side. Academy Award-winning writer Ernest Thompson (On Golden Pond) has deconstructed and revised his script 41 years after The West Side Waltz’s premiere for this new production.

Atlanta Shakespeare Company, American Players Theatre, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Theatre for a New Audience, Shakespeare Dallas, Utah Shakespeare Festival, and Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum are members of the Folger’s  Shakespeare Theater Partnership Program.