Summer theater along the Lakeshore: What to see

Summer in West Michigan boasts two professional theater companies with Hope Repertory Theatre (previously Hope Summer Repertory Theatre) celebrating its 50th season at Hope College in Holland and Mason Street Warehouse celebrating its 19th season at Saugatuck Center for the Arts in Saugatuck. Both professional theater companies’ seasons are packed full of a wide range of theatrical performances. For theater aficionados and those who simply love creative performance, below is a guide to both companies’ summer seasons. 

“This season is going to be a culmination of all my creative dreams,” says SCA Artistic Director Kurt Stamm. “Having to wait all these years to bring these shows to our stage has given us time to really ideate on the best experience for our guests.”

Musicals at Mason Street

Mason Street Warehouse’s 2023 season features two musicals: “Kinky Boots” and “Jersey Boys.” 

Kinky Boots will be in production this summer at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts.
  • “Kinky Boots” is a Grammy and Tony award-winning musical that tells the story of Charlie Price, who after inheriting a shoe factory from his father, befriends Lola, a cabaret performer and drag queen. The duo joins forces to produce a line of high-heeled boots and to save the business. “Kinky Boots” opens June 23 and closes July 16.
Jersey Boys will be in production this summer at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts.
  • “Jersey Boys” is described as a jukebox musical that follows the 1960s rock ‘n’ roll group The Four Seasons in a documentary-style and dramatized musical. “Jersey Boys” opens Aug. 11 and closes Sept. 3. 

Both musicals will be performed at Saugatuck Center for the Arts in downtown Saugatuck.

Hope Rep lineup

Hope Rep celebrates its 50th season with four mainstage productions, two studio productions, and a children’s musical. The children’s musical is “Three Little Birds.” The mainstage productions include “Tuck Everlasting,” “Boeing Boeing,” “Rock of Ages,” and “Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar & Grill.” 

  • “Three Little Birds” features the music of Bob Marley and follows Ziggy, a little bird, on his journey through fear and adventure. “Three Little Birds” is appropriate for all ages and opens at the DeWitt Studio Theatre at Hope College on June 14 and closes July 28. 
Hope Repertory Theatre will perform Three Little Birds this season.
  • “Tuck Everlasting” is based on the children’s classic by Natalie Babbitt, which follows 11-year-old Winnie Foster, who meets and learns the magic of the Tuck family. “Tuck Everlasting” opens on the DeWitt mainstage at Hope College on June 17 and closes July 14. 
Hope Repertory Theatre will perform Tuck Everlasting this season.
  • “Boeing Boeing” is a 1960s French farce that has been adapted for English-speaking audiences. It features the story of Bernard, who has three fiancees — all airline hostesses he connects with on his frequent layovers. This musical is appropriate for ages 10 and up. “Boeing Boeing” opens on the DeWitt mainstage at Hope College on June 24 and closes July 15. 
Hope Repertory Theatre will perform Boeing Boeing this season.
  • “Natural Shocks” is a play by Lauren Gunderson that tells the story of Angela, who is trapped in her basement and begins to reflect on her life and trauma. This play contains adult content, including strong language, mental health issues, and references to gun violence. “Natural Shocks” opens at the Jack Miller Recital Hall at Hope College on July 6 and closes July 15. 
Hope Repertory Theatre will perform Natural Shocks this season.
  • “Rock of Ages” finds the audience at the end of 1980s Hollywood and features the music of Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, and Whitesnake, to name a few. A group of music lovers attempts to save Sunset Strip from being turned into a capitalist strip mall. This musical contains strong adult content, including sexual innuendo, strong language, alcohol and drug use and references. Audience members must be 18 or older to attend. “Rock of Ages” opens at Park Theatre on July 21 and closes Aug. 4.
Hope Repertory Theatre will perform Rock of Ages this season.
  • “Temporary” is a play by Amy Toruno that will be presented as a workshop reading as part of Hope Rep’s GENext Project. The play follows Isabel, who leaves Nicaragua with her daughter in pursuit of the American dream. The show contains adult content, including sexual assault. “Temporary” opens July 25 at the Fried-Hemenway Auditorium at Hope College and closes July 29. 
Hope Repertory Theatre will perform Temporary this season.
  • “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” takes place in 1959 Philadelphia and chronicles Billie Holiday’s last performance. This musical has a content warning that includes language and references to drug and alcohol abuse. “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” opens at the Knickerbocker Theatre in downtown Holland on Aug. 8 and closes Aug. 18. 
Hope Repertory Theatre will perform Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill this season.
"Hope Repertory Theatre is back with another season of summer productions for theater lovers of all ages,” says Lenny Banovez, Hope Rep’s producing director. “From family friendly hit musicals like Tuck Everlasting and Three Little Birds, to plays and musicals like Boeing Boeing and Rock of Ages that offer adults a night out for side splitting laughs or reliving the 1980's and singing along to the likes of Bon Jovi, Whitesnake and Styx! Hope Rep truly has something for everyone this summer!"

Whatever your summer plans are, be sure to include an evening at the theater for one (or all) of these professional performances. 

For tickets to Mason Street Warehouse’s 2023 season, please visit the link below:

For tickets to Hope Rep’s 2023 season, please visit the link below:

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Read more articles by Kelsey Sivertson.