You’ve planned the beach trip, packed the summer reading – but what about entertainment? We have the scoop on 10 must-see NYSCA-supported arts and cultural festivals all over New York State this summer, featuring events from Shakespeare in historic Mid-Hudson gardens to Mozart under the stars at a Finger Lakes winery, from summer movie screenings in the Hamptons to a musical moonlit cruise on Lake George. And, if you’re looking for more to do, be sure to check out our Summer Guide!
At this festival, expect fresh mountain air and fresh performances. This season, broaden your theatrical horizons with a new electro-pop musical about Nikola Tesla, a corporate culture comedy described as The Office meets Game of Thrones, dinner theatre for kids, and more. ATF has been a launching pad for artists such as Lisa Kron of the Tony-winning musical Fun Home and Andrew Lippa of The Wild Party – so be prepared to discover the next big thing!
Glens Falls; tickets starting at $15; June 21 – August 12
SummerScape fills the scenic Hudson Valley with seven weeks of music, opera, theater, dance, film and cabaret performances all connected to composer Fryderyk Chopin. In its 15th year at Bard College in the Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher Center on the Hudson River, the season features New York City Ballet MOVES, theater pioneers the Wooster Group and an opera rarity by Dvorak. Post-show, check out Bard’s signature mirrored Spiegeltent, where Tony-nominated performer Mx. Justin Vivian Bond will host cabaret and late-night entertainment, with guests including John Waters, Toshi Reagon, and Suzan-Lori Parks.
Annandale-on-Hudson; tickets starting at $25; June 30 – August 20
At New York’s far western edge, The Chautauqua Institution fills 750 acres with a unique mix of cultural, spiritual and athletic activities – including symphony, opera, theater, dance, and visual arts. The summer 2017 season performance highlights include a new rendition of L’Orfeo and the Harry Potter score in concert with the film. After the show, tour the grounds by bicycle, take in contemporary artworks in any of 10 galleries plus a sculpture garden, or take a swing on the historic golf course.
Chautauqua; tickets starting at $25; June 30 – August 20
Among waterside wineries, Auburn is a superb setting for the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival. Broadway-style blockbusters for all tastes include classic Guys and Dolls, Jason Robert Brown’s Tony-winning tragedy Parade, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Ghost the Musical, Always…Patsy Cline, and new works mini-fest The Pitch. Plus, follow local wine, beer, and cheese trails for pre- or post-show refreshments.
Auburn; tickets starting at $20; June 7 – October 11
Beloved by sports fans and culture aficionados alike, Cooperstown is a one-of-a-kind summer destination in the Mohawk Valley. The Glimmerglass Festival fuses world class opera with a relaxed setting in an open-air theatre on Lake Glimmerglass. This season includes iconic American music theater such as Porgy and Bess and Oklahoma!, baroque and bel canto opera, and a new one-act that gives voice to two Supreme Court justices: Scalia/Ginsburg. While you’re in town, you can also visit the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Farmer’s Museum and the Fenimore Art Museum.
Cooperstown; tickets starting at $26; July 7 – August 22
You don’t have to choose between a stunning Hamptons sunset and a relaxing movie night. To celebrate its 25th anniversary, HIFF will be screening 25 films from each year of the festival, with a wide range of hits including The Cove, Independence Day, Slumdog Millionaire, 20 Feet from Stardom, and Still Alice. HIFF will also be presenting its ninth season of SummerDocs hosted by HIFF Co-Chair Alec Baldwin. Be sure to check their calendar for all the free outdoor summer screenings happening this summer!
Hamptons and NYC; ticket starting at no cost; June 25 – July 20
The breathtaking, historic Boscobel House and Gardens is home to the highly-acclaimed Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, which has been making Shakespeare a summer staple for three decades. Take a seat in HSVF’s open-air tent overlooking the Hudson River and enjoy the Bard’s comedy Twelfth Night, Lauren Gunderson’s Shakespeare origin story The Book of Will, the world premiere of Kate Hamill’s Pride and Prejudice adaptation, a site-specific revival of Richard Nelson’s founding fathers drama The General from America, and a family-friendly Love’s Labours Lost.
Garrison; tickets starting at $20; June 8 – September 4
In the village of Lake George surrounded by the Adirondack Mountains, brilliant musicians from conservatories such as the Julliard School will perform live chamber and orchestral music, along with resident ensembles The Brooklyn Art Song Society and Balun. The festival begins with dancing at the Fort William Henry Hotel located right next to the grounds of the historic Adirondack fort, and also includes a moonlight lake cruise on the Minne-Ha-Ha.
Lake George; tickets starting at $10; August 11 – 24
Shakespeare in Delaware Park has been a summer tradition in Buffalo since 1976. The grand Tudor-style stage is set behind Delaware Park’s enchanting rose garden on a sweeping hill of green. SDP strives to embody the truths in Shakespeare’s stories: tragedy, jealousy, foolishness, passion, laughter, and love. This year’s selections are The Merry Wives of Windsor and Macbeth.
Buffalo; FREE; June 22 – August 20
Hear Mozart under the stars in the Robinson Pavilion at Anyela’s Vineyards led by world-renowned conductor David Zinman, bring the whole family for a kid-friendly performance of Peter and the Wolf, and more at the Skaneateles Festival in the Finger Lakes region. Not in the mood for classical music? You can also visit Skanfest for cabaret and jazz.
Skaneateles; tickets starting at $25 – discounts available, children FREE, Peter and the Wolf $5 with children FREE; August 9 – September 2