The Beach Times

Getting to Know Cape Cod’s Performing Arts Scene
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, January 15, 2018


One of the great things about Cape Cod is that there is so much to do outdoors. While you're here, you'll probably spend hours lounging on the beach, hiking the dunes, or biking the scenic trails.

At the same time, you might want to mix things up a little when spending time on the Cape this summer and, luckily, the area’s performing arts scene has you covered.

Cape Cod is home to prominent theater companies and lively concert series that add diversity to a summer holiday in the area. Experience the cultural, art-eccentric events that set the community apart from others regions of the East Coast to make the most of your time here.

Cape Cod Summer TheaterCape Cod Performing Arts

If you love the theater, Cape Cod is the place to be this summer. Everything from Broadway musicals to small local productions are present at the many performing arts venues scattered up and down the coast, leaving you with all kinds of variety when choosing an event to attend.

Located on Main Street in Orleans, The Academy Playhouse is perhaps the preeminent performing arts center on Cape Cod. The theater puts on nine different productions annually, and although it runs all year round, summer is when things pick up. The venue often hosts Broadway musicals, although comedies and dramas are also quite common.

It doesn't get much better on Cape Cod than the Cape Playhouse in Dennis Village. Since its opening in 1927, this venue has hosted performances by legends like Humphrey Bogart, Henry Fonda, Bette Davis, and Ginger Rogers, giving it the moniker, Where Broadway Goes to Summer. The Playhouse manages to pack its entire season into the summer months, with performances taking place almost every day.

The Cotuit Center for the Arts features two different venues, the main stage, which is outdoors, and the Black Box Theater. The theater company presents various performances throughout the summer, including Broadway productions with nationally recognized performers in an intimate setting. The shows put on by the Cotuit Center for the Arts positively contribute to the distinct feeling around Cape Cod in the summer.

Summer Concert Series on Cape Cod

Of course, if you’d prefer to check out some musical performances, rather than a play, Cape Cod has the perfect event for you through its various concert series and music festivals. As with many events on The Cape, you’ll find yourself outdoors for much of the experience, providing something far different from your basic concert.

Summer in Hyannis means the Cape Cod Melody Tent is sure to make an appearance. The Melody Tent is a circus tent that hosts some of the top musical acts to visit The Cape in any given year. The venue provides a uniquely intimate atmosphere, as the stage is directly in the middle of the tent and surrounded by seating. As a result, the view is outstanding from any seat. This one of only two continuously-operated music tents in the entire country, so make sure you check it out.

Even though the Provincetown Jazz Festival doesn't have the same history as many of the other performing arts events on Cape Cod, as it only came into existence in 2005, the gathering is a favorite among locals and visitors alike because of its diverse nature. Performances are held all over the area, with many of them taking place right along the ocean. The festival is relaxing, the events are affordable, and there's even a free shuttle into the area for those not staying in Provincetown.

The Cape’s Operas and Symphonies

If you’re looking to experience a little culture and some acts that you won’t see anywhere else in the country this summer, keep watch for the events presented by the orchestra and opera companies on Cape Cod.

The Cape Symphony Orchestra has been around since 1962 and is among the most extensive groups of its kind in all of Massachusetts. The orchestra plays at Barnstable Performing Arts Center in Hyannis, although outdoor events are common during the summer. For example, the group has performed a free show at the amphitheater at Salt Pond Visitor Center for the past couple of summers, providing a unique environment in which to experience their renditions of pop hits and classical favorites.

Classical music is also abundant at Cotuit Library through the Royston Nash Music Appreciation Series, a group of events that attracts well-known musicians to this small venue during the summer.

The Highfield Theatre in Falmouth is home to College Light Opera Company, which has been in business since 1969. The company has 32 singers and an 18-piece orchestra, providing the full opera experience for attendees. In fact, the theater company scours the nation every year to find the best up and coming performers to join, so you can be positive that you'll see outstanding performances by some of the country's best talent every time you visit.

Start Planning Your Cape Cod Vacation Today

It’s never too early to start organizing your Cape Cod summer vacation because, in all honesty, the area fills up quickly. There’s a reason why vacations rentals are booked months in advance, so if you want to get up close and personal with Cape Cod’s complex and surprisingly intimate performing arts scene, the time to book is now.

There's more to Cape Cod's performing arts scene than has been detailed here, as the Cape Cod Theatre Company, the Barnstable Comedy Club, the Cape Sands Ballroom are other popular places to enjoy weekly performances and special events on Cape Cod.

Do your research before you arrive to ensure that you come at the right time during the community's busy summer months.



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