By ELISABETH VINCENTELLI
7300 State Route 80, Cooperstown, NY; 607-547-2255; glimmerglass.org
This upstate festival is dedicated to opera, but in recent years it's also been putting on lavish musicals featuring unamplified singers backed by a full orchestra. This season's entry is Lerner and Loewe's "Camelot" (July 13 to Aug. 23), starring soprano Andriana Chuchman and baritone Nathan Gunn (pictured) - whose Lancelot warbles the hit "If Ever I Would Leave You." Pack a picnic (or pre-order one) for a preshow nosh by Otsego Lake.
* Insider tip "Though there are many great things to do and see in the area, my favorite place is just Otsego Lake," says Gunn. "My family and I love to spend our days off out on the water and my wife, Julie, and I plan to kayak to work whenever possible."
BUCKS COUNTY PLAYHOUSE
70 S. Main St., New Hope, Pa.; 215-862-2121; bcptheater.org
Based on an 18th-century structure that became a theater in 1939, this historic gem on the Delaware River reopened last summer after an extensive renovation. This summer is loaded with musical action, including Andrea McArdle in the Jerry Herman classic "Mame" (now through June 9) and the Kander and Ebb revue "The World Goes 'Round" (June 27 to July 21).
The plays aren't too shabby, either: Check out the world premiere of Terrence McNally's "Mothers and Sons" (June 13 to 23), starring Tyne Daly, and a revival of Charles Busch's comedy "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife" with Marsha Mason and Marilu Henner (Aug. 15 to Sept. 1).
* Insider tip In between performances as Vera Charles in "Mame," Lea DeLaria fuels up at Marsha Brown: "The menu boasts New Orleans fare - my personal fave rave is the slab of bacon - and an exquisite wine list. Ask to be seated upstairs under the delightful mural." (15 S. Main St.; 215-862-7044, marshabrownrestaurant.com)
6 Main St., East Haddam, Conn.; 860-873-8668; goodspeed.org
Goodspeed, Connecticut's show-tune heaven, celebrates its 50th anniversary with a revival of the popular "Hello, Dolly!" (June 28 to Sept. 8) starring Tony-nominee Tony Sheldon ("Priscilla, Queen of the Desert") and Broadway's original Mary Poppins, Ashley Brown. As for everybody's favorite matchmaker, Dolly Levi, she's played by Klea Blackhurst. Don't let this parade pass you by!
* Insider tip "Between my house and the theater is the Hillside Sweetshop," Blackhurst says. "My idea of a perfect summer evening is a Starlight Mint ice-cream cone and a leisurely stroll through a 19th-century hamlet with a Jerry Herman tune in my head." (19 Main St.; 860-970-5382, hillsidesweetshoppe.com)
NEW YORK STAGE AND FILM'S POWERHOUSE SEASON AT VASSAR COLLEGE
124 Raymond Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY; 845-437-5599; powerhouse.vassar.edu
Metro-North makes this summer fest easily accessible from New York City, and it's a great place to catch stars working on new projects. Hotly anticipated shows include the Steve Martin-Edie Brickell bluegrass musical "Bright Star" (July 12 to 14) and a new tuner, "The Brooklyn Hero Supply Company," based on novelist Michael Chabon's characters (July 26 to 28).
* Insider tip "My local favorite is the Beech Tree Grill," says Michael Wilson, who'll direct James Lecesne's new play, "Mother of Invention" (July 19 to 21). "Nothing better after a show than to see the place full of actors, directors, audience members, all talking about what they have just seen." (1 Collegeview Ave., 845-471-7279)
WILLIAMSTOWN THEATER FESTIVAL
1000 Main St, Williamstown, Mass.; 413-597-3400; wtfestival.org
A lovely college town in rural Massachusetts with a state-of-the- art performing arts center, Williamstown draws stars. Juicy revivals include Tom Stoppard's "Hapgood," led by Kate Burton (July 10 to 21), and G. B. Shaw's "Pygmalion" with Robert Sean Leonard (July 17 to 27). The premiere of Jason Robert Brown and Marsha Norman's musical adaptation of "The Bridges of Madison County" should also draw attention (Aug. 1 to 18).
☞InsideR tip Burton reveals that among her favorite things to do in Williamstown is to "have a coffee at Tunnel City Coffee (100 Spring St.; 413-458-5010). Then I ride my bike down Green River Road to the Store at Five Corners (6 New Ashford Road; 413-458- 3176, thestoreat5corners.com), have lunch outside on a bench looking at the Berkshires, and ride back to town."
Originally published by and ELISABETH VINCENTELLI.
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