Festival 56 announces outdoor summer lineup


PRINCETON - The Princeton Theatre Group is pleased to announce Festival 56’s summer 2021 season, especially after the coronavirus quarantine forced the cancellation of its 2020 season.

Festival 56 will partner with the Princeton Park District to present three productions on an outdoor stage that will be temporarily constructed behind the Bureau County Metro Center. The season will run from June 17 through July 25. Though the openings are staggered, the season will be running in rep, so on a given week or weekend, theater-goers might be able to catch all three shows.

The shows will include a Theatre for Young Audiences musical, “Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical,” which reimagines the experience of young Civil Rights pioneers, Ruby Bridges and the Little Rock Nine, who were the first students to be integrated into public schools in Louisiana in 1960 and Arkansas in 1957. The musical tells the story of Lily Polkadot, the first Polkadot in an all-Square school. Festival 56 will again offer reduced-price tickets to younger audience members. “Polkadots” will open on June 25 and run through July 21.

Shakespeare in the Park has been a staple of Festival 56’s summer, and this year will see the return of the timeless tragedy of “Romeo & Juliet.” The Capulets and the Montagues are two warring families, but that does not stop Juliet and Romeo from falling in love. Despite the financial challenges of the past year, Festival 56 is again able to offer the Shakespeare production at no cost to playgoers (though a donation hat will be passed). “Romeo & Juliet” will open on July 3 and close on July 24.

Festival 56’s third and final production this summer, “Godspell” will be a classic musical with a score of familiar pop songs that go back to the 1970s. Join a troupe of 10 actor/singer/dancer/comedians as they reimagine and bring to life the gospel according to St. Matthew in this inventive, collaborative and hysterical musical. Youth from Festival 56’s summer theatre camp, Camp 56, will participate in the production as well. Opening night for “Godspell” will be July 10 and it will run through July 25.

Two outdoor cabarets will be presented at the beginning and end of the season, on June 17 and July 25 respectively, and Festival 56 will continue its tradition of presenting a New Works reading of a new musical on July 24.

Tickets may be obtained at the Festival 56 box office, located at the Grace Theater, 316 S. Main St., Princeton; by calling (815) 879-5656; or online at festival56.com. Pricing has been adjusted for this season to reflect the outdoor setting and smaller number of productions.