Summer theater 2019: What’s playing at SF Bay Area outdoor stages

Outdoor theater season is already upon us, and with the Bay Area’s generally mild climate it tends to last all the way through September.

Berkeley’s John Hinkel Park Amphitheatre, traditionally home to free shows by groups such as Actors Ensemble of Berkeley and Inferno Theatre, will be closed this summer for renovations, but elsewhere open-air parks and stages will soon be abuzz with theatrical offerings.

Whether midday or at night, in amphitheaters, wineries and random park lawns, there’s a lot to see al fresco this summer and every summer, from Shakespeare to political satire to Broadway musicals.

As always, note that the Bay Area is a collection of micro-climates and oft-changing temperatures. Check the weather before heading out and bring layers of clothing with you.

Most venues sell food — offerings range from snacks to gourmet meals — and drinks, or let you bring in a picnic. But it’s always a good idea to check the theater company website beforehand.

Here’s a rundown of what’s playing, listed in chronological order based on season start dates.

The Mountain Play

Location: Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre, Mount Tamalpais State Park, Mill Valley

The season: “Grease,” May 19-June 16

Tickets: $20-$175; 415-383-1100,

Details: Performances are in the early afternoon in a sunny historic amphitheater high up Mount Tamalpais with seating on the ground. A variety of refreshments are available for purchase. See website for parking, hiking and shuttle options.

Productions at Cal Shakes (such as last year’s “Quixote Nuevo”) take place at Bruns Amphitheatre in Orinda. (California Shakespeare Theater) California Shakespeare Theater

Location: Bruns Amphitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way off Highway 24, Orinda

The season: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” May 22-June 16; “The Good Person of Szechwan”; July 3-21; “House of Joy,” Aug. 14-Sept. 1; “Macbeth,” Sept. 18-Oct. 13

Tickets: $20-$92; 510-548-9666,

Details: The amphitheatre has reserved chair seating with blankets available and a good variety of food and drink available for purchase; there are lots of picnic spots among the attractive grounds; there are talks about the play 45 minutes before curtain time; check website for other events, including a concert series that kicks off June 22.

Silicon Valley Shakespeare

Locations: Willow Street Park, 1320 Willow St., San Jose, and Sanborn County Park, 16055 Sanborn Road, Saratoga

Season: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” June 7-23; “Macbeth,” July 26-Aug. 30; “The White Snake,” Aug. 2-Sept. 1

Tickets: San Jose performances free; Saratoga performances $25, free for 17 and under; 408-289-1901,

Details: general seating, on the ground in San Jose

Source:: East Bay – Entertainment


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