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The Summer Bucket List: Outdoor Theater

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By Jennifer Weber

Act One: Browse through our list of outdoor theater performances around town and in Western New York.

Act Two: Pack a picnic dinner, perhaps a bottle of wine and most importantly blankets (one for sitting and one for cuddling under after the humidity clears and temperatures cool and enjoy some open-air Shakespeare. (And if you aren’t a fan of the Bard, keep reading—there’s a few eclectic options out there too!)

Shake on the Lake:

Romeo & Juliet

On Thursday, August 10th at 6:30 pm, Shake on the Lake: Western New York’s Rural Theatre company from Silver Lake, NY presents a free performance of Romeo & Juliet at Springville Youth Inc. Park located on South Buffalo Street.

This is Shake on the Lake’s second visit to Springville. Last year, the company performed Twelfth Night for a full house at Springville Center for the Arts (due to the rain, the production was held inside). This year, the company hopes for an outdoor show – weather permitting!

In case you’re busy that night, catch the same performance of Romeo & Juliet on Friday, Aug. 11 co-sponsored by the Cattaraugus County Arts Council in the gazebo lawn at 9 West Washington Street in Ellicottville at 8 p.m.

For more information, visit www.shakeonthelake.org.

Shakespeare in Delaware Park: The Merry Wives of Windsor and Macbeth

Shakespeare in Delaware Park, located at Shakespeare Hill, 199 Lincoln Parkway, Buffalo is one of the biggest free outdoor Shakespeare festival sin the country and has been a beloved addition to the Western New York summer theater landscape for the last 42 years.

The first play, The Merry Wives of Windsor, runs through July 16 and the second play, Macbeth, starts on July 27 and runs through Aug. 20.

Free performances take place Tuesdays through Sundays at 7:30 p.m. You will definitely want to get there early, not just for a great spot on the hill (chairs are welcome, but near the top only; blankets allowed near the stage) but also to ensure a good parking spot nearby.

Join the company of Shakespeare in Delaware Park and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on Tuesday, July 18 at 7 p.m. for a free evening of music and theater! The BPO will perform Shakespearian themed selections including the Suite from Othello, Op. 79, Three Dances from Shakespeare’s Tempest, Overture to The Merry Wives of Windsor, Suite No. 1 from Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64a and Ballet Music from Macbeth.

For more information, visit www.shakespeareindelawarepark.org.

If your idea of outdoor theater is a little less high-brow and a little more historical beer drinking while riding on a bus, how about trying out the Double Decker Bus-Murder Mystery Tour: Death at Doug’s Dive.

Performances begin on Saturday, July 15 and take place every Saturday through the end of August at Flying Bison Brewery, located at 840 Seneca Street. Tickets are $30 and includes the murder mystery adventure on a double decker bus that stops at three or more historic taverns in Buffalo.

“During this historically accurate mystery, you’ll come to know Doug, the owner of Buffalo’s most notorious waterfront dive.  Set in the year 1866, Buffalo’s colorful waterfront red light district comes alive–following Doug’s death!

This is a fully interactive evening of sleuthing.  You see the crime scene, you interview the witnesses, and you collect clues in order to solve this mystery based upon true events in Buffalo’s history.”

For more information, visit www.buffalodoubledeckerbus.com.

And now for one last something completely, completely different?

Buffalo Infringement Festival

The Buffalo Infringement Festival is full of open-air theater (and much, so much more!) For the last 13 years during the last week of July and first week of August, the streets of Allentown District in the City of Buffalo turn into a glorious, grassroots, hodge-podge of just about anything and everything arts-related you can think of.

This year the festival runs from Thursday, July 27 through Sunday, Aug. 10. All events and exhibits are FREE of charge and there are sure to be several outdoor theater performances included in the 2017 schedule which will be posted online before the end of the month.

Visit www.infringebuffalo.org for more information.

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