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Summer Stages: BWW's Top Summer Theater Picks for Orange County/Costa Mesa!

Kerstin Anderson and the Von Trapp Children in THE SOUND OF MUSIC.
Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Yes, Summer in Orange County, California is often marked with escalating temperatures, the Laguna Beach Arts festival, and heavy beach traffic, but you can still escape the heat by jumping into an air-conditioned theater... where O.C. stages are still buzzing with excitement (except those that have ended their season). Everywhere from Costa Mesa and Fullerton to Santa Ana and Irvine (and even our county-line neighbors in La Mirada and Long Beach), there are lots of stage goodies to fill your live theater cravings.

Below is a listing of our Top 2016 Summer Must-See picks for the O.C., plus a few other noteworthy shows to check out around the area, too!

Did we miss a show in our list? Send me a tweet at @cre8iveMLQ with the hashtag #OCTheater and tell me what YOU are looking forward to seeing this summer!


1. THE SOUND OF MUSIC (National Tour)
Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa
July 19 - 31

The Hills Are Alive once more in this brand new national tour production that is finally making its way to the O.C. after more than a year on the road. Directed by three-time Tony Award-winning director Jack O'Brien, one of the most beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals of all time will revive memorable songs "My Favorite Things," "Do-Re-Mi," "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," "Edelweiss," and, of course, the title song for a new generation to sing along.

3-D Theatricals at the Plummer Auditorium, Fullerton
July 15 - 31
(Also at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, August 5-7)

Orange County's big-budget, Broadway-caliber musical theater company will soon be saying goodbye to the OC as it transitions to become the resident theater company of Cerritos. But before it says farewell, 3DT will once again say hello to matchmaker Dolly Levi in this charming, ubiquitous Jerry Herman classic.

Laguna Playhouse, Laguna Beach
NOW - June 26

Emerson Collins in BUYER AND CELLAR.
Photo courtesy of Coyote Stageworks.

Emerson Collins (The People's Couch, Sordid Lives) stars as Alex, a young man who decides to take a job working in the Malibu basement, uh, "shopping mall" of the one and only Barbra Streisand. This outrageously funny, one-man comedy by Jonathan Tolins makes its OC debut.

4. CABARET (National Tour)
Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa
August 9 - 21

Roundabout Theatre Company's Tony Award-winning sexy, sultry revival of the Kander and Ebb Broadway classic makes a triumphant return to the OC with Queer As Folk's Randy Harrison as the Emcee.

Chance Theater, Anaheim
July 1 - 31

One Singular Sensation! The classic Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical favorite will get an intimate theater revival in Anaheim.

Theatre Out, Santa Ana
NOW - July 2

Orange County's LGBTQ Theater company will revisit the Sondheim and Styne classic musical in a brand new intimate production.

Presented by MenAlive - Orange County Gay Men's Chorus
Irvine Barclay Theatre, Irvine
July 22 - 23

To celebrate the chorus' historic 15th Anniversary, MenAlive will be presenting a song-and-dance spectacular filled with music from Broadway's biggest hits from the past 15 years, including showstoppers from THE BOOK OF MORMON, KINKY BOOTS, AVENUE Q, LEGALLY BLONDE, SPRING AWAKENING, SOMETHING ROTTEN, and, yes, HAMILTON.

Randy Harrison in CABARET. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Musical Theatre West, Long Beach
July 8 - 24

The con is on! Davis Gaines and Benjamin Schrader star as two con artists working the French Riviera. This Tony Award-winning musical comedy based on the Steve Martin / Michael Cain film features music from THE FULL MONTY's David Yazbek.

Presented by McCoy Rigby Entertainment
La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, La Mirada
June 3 - 26

Disney's enchanting "Under the Sea" animated film about Hans Christian Anderson's dreamy mermaid comes to life on stage with memorable music from Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater.

10. Free Movie Mondays!
Segerstrom Center for the Arts - Outdoor Plaza, Costa Mesa
Mondays, July 7 - August 4

Back for another summer, Segerstrom Center for the Arts will once again offer its popular series of al frésco FREE-for-all outdoor movie screenings in the plaza for five consecutive Monday nights. Guests are encouraged to bring beach chairs and other easily portable seating items, snacks, and picnic suppers. This year's series begins with Grease on July 11 followed by Selena (July 18), Elf (July 25), Ferris Bueller's Day Off (August 1) and Labyrinth (August 8).

Free Movie Mondays at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Photo by Joesan Diche.


Also worth checking out:

The Great American Trailer Park Musical, now - July 3
Costa Mesa Playhouse

The Music Man -- June 17 - July 17
The Little Mermaid -- July 9 - July 17
Mysterium Theater at the La Habra Depot

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, June 8 - July 3
International City Theatre

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde -- now - June 25
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance -- July 8 - August 14
Maverick Theater

Bye Bye Birdie, June 16 - July 10
One More Productions/GEM Theater

How to Succeed in Business (Without Really Trying) -- July 2 - August 6
Reasons to be Pretty -- July 7 - August 20
Long Beach Playhouse

M*A*S*H, July 22 - August 13
Huntington Beach Playhouse

Pageant of the Masters, July 7 - August 31
Festival of Arts Laguna Beach

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