A look at Bay Street Theater’s 2016 summer lineup

The Bay Street Theatre will host a camps for kids this summer. (Credit: Michael Heller)

The Bay Street Theater will host a camp for kids this summer from July 11 through August 29. (Credit: Michael Heller)

With the official Hamptons summer season just weeks away, the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor has put the finishing touches on what looks to be an incredible line-up of eclectic summer entertainment. From theater to musical performances, comedy to children’s programming, there is something for everyone at Bay Street this season.

Celebrating its 25th Anniversary, Bay Street has been a premiere theater venue on the East End for almost three decades presenting not only world classics and award winning Broadway productions, but producing new works that have found their way to both Broadway and Off-Broadway success. They have presented over 20 world premieres and this year will be no exception as they will kick-off their Main Stage summer calendar with The Forgotten Women, a new play by Jonathan Tolins, whose other works include the play/film The Twilight of the Golds, the film Martian Child, the play Buyer & Cellar, the TV movie Grease Live!, and episodes of Queer as Folk.

Directed by Noah Himmelstein, this play about a gifted soprano on the verge of operatic success, but terrified by the possibility of it, will run May 31 through June 19.

June 28 will bring the opening night of the Tony Award winning The Last Night of Ballyhoo by the author of Driving Miss Daisy, Alfred Uhry. Set in a German Jewish country club in 1939 Atlanta, it is a play filled with romance, comedy, and a family’s revelations about their own beliefs, prejudices, and desires. The play is directed by Will Pomerantz and will run through July 24.

One of the founders of Bay Street is Emma Walton Hamilton — who just happens to be the daughter of Dame Julie Andrews — so perhaps it is no surprise that Bay Street Artistic Director Scott Schwartz chose the Learner & Lowe classic My Fair Lady to conclude the 25th Anniversary Main Stage Season. Based on the George Bernard Shaw play Pygmalion and directed by Michael Arden, this is one of the most beloved of all musicals and the vehicle that truly introduced the world to Dame Andrews with her second appearance on the Broadway stage in 1956. Her debut was in the 1954 musical The Boy Friend, which also marked her directorial debut in a 2003 Bay Street revival of the musical. Yes, “Mary Poppins” is on the list of the many prestigious directors that have crafted productions for the Bay Street stage. My Fair Lady will run August 2 through 28 in what Schwartz describes as a “new vision” of this timeless classic.

Traditionally three productions occupy the Main Stage at Bay Street during the summer season, but Schwartz has given us a bonus this year with the July 18 through 24 production of The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey. This is a 9 character/1 actor tour-de-force written and performed by James Lecesne with music by Duncan Shiek and directed by Tony Speciale. Set in a beach community not unlike many in the Hamptons, a 14-year-old boy gone missing challenges “…how they live, who they love, and what they leave behind.”

Along with the prodigious Main Stage productions this season, Bay Street plans to have your ribs aching with laughter with their Monday Night Laughs Comedy Club. Cablevision commercial characters and YouTube sensation comedians The Unmovers will appear on July 4, iconic self-deprecating comedian Richard Lewis appears on August 8, VH1’s Bobby Collins takes the stage on August 22, and Comedy Central and SNL star Jim Breuer concludes the series on August 29.

The season’s Special Events kick off on May 21 with an incredible duet of Grammy Award winning pianists and vocalists as Judy Charmichael and Billy Stritch will share the stage at back-to-back grand pianos. Jazz Inspired with Judy Carmichael & Billy Stritch will be an evening of music, song and repartee between these two extraordinary performers. This first time collaboration will be recorded for later broadcast on Carmichael’s national syndicated public radio show including WPBB 88.3 FM here on the East End.

On Saturday, May 28 one of the NYC theater world’s favorite married couple, Mario Catone and Jerry Dixon, will bring their Lincoln Center American Songbook series sold out show How Long Has This Been Going On? to Bay Street. These two show business Renaissance men, whose combined success ranges from Broadway to television to film, as actors, directors, and songwriters, including their Tony Award nominated collaboration on Laugh Whore.

Playwright Lisa Lampanelli stars in her show Stuffed, a hilarious yet heartfelt new play by the two-time Grammy-nominated comedian/author/actor that tackles weight, body image, and food issues from the perspective of four very different women with four very different problems. This June 25 performance also features Broadway’s Lisa Howard.

Funny! I’m a Woman with Children… brings the incredible voice of Melissa Errico to the Bay Street stage on July 30. A show about dating, romance, marriage, love, and family with songs from such musicals as Gypsy, Hello Dolly, My Fair Lady, Marry Me A Little, Into The Woods and film songs by Michel Legrand and Burt Bacharach. Highlights include a tour-de-force dramatic song from Jason Robert Brown’s recent Broadway musical The Bridges of Madison County. Along with some very clever storytelling by Errico, the show will also highlight James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman and Brazilian songs by Jobim and Dori Caymmi.

Bay Street is giving back to the East End community with a free concert special event on Saturday, August 13. The Prince of Egypt, based on the blockbuster DreamWorks animated film and featuring the Academy Award-winning song “When You Believe,” tells the epic story of Moses and his journey from being a Prince of Egypt to the deliverer of his people. Bring lawn chairs, blankets, and picnic baskets to Mashashimuet Park in Sag Harbor for the sunset performance.

The Goat On A Boat Puppet Theatre will present eight uniquely different performances over the summer, including Cinderella, with show times on selected Thursdays and Saturdays at 11 a.m (click here for exact dates). Also specially geared to the kids, Bay Street offers its Summer Theater Camps beginning July 11 and running through August 29. Young thespians have the choice of four distinct camps including My Life: The Musical, Puppet Power Camp, Shakespeare Mini-Mainstage, and Teen Master Classes.

The 25 Anniversary Summer Gala will be held on July 9 on the Long Wharf in Sag Harbor. Dining and dancing by the bay with Honorary Chairs Arlene and Alan Alda. This year’s gala will honor Bay Street Founders the aforementioned Emma Walton Hamilton and Stephen Hamilton, along with Adrianne and Jerry Cohen, and Patrick Molloy III.

There is indeed something for everyone as Bay Street has once again rolled out a stunner of a summer season.

For more information go to: www.baystreet.org