It seems counter-intuitive that the relaxation of summer actually fuels theater's busiest season, but that's how it works around these parts. Special engagements, regional premieres and multiproduction festivals are all in play as stages across the region bask in the sun. Here's a curated selection of what's on offer:
B STREET THEATRE
What: The musical farce "The Big Bang," one of B Street's most popular productions, returns with its original cast of Greg Alexander, Jason Kuykendall and Chris Schlagel for a special limited summer engagement.
When: Preview 7 p.m. June 14. Opens 7 p.m. June 15 and continues 7 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 1 p.m. Sundays. Through July 7.
Where: B Street Theatre B2 Space, 2727 B St., Sacramento
Tickets: $35, $30 students and seniors, $15 preview.
Information:> (916) 443-5300, www.bstreettheatre.org
What: B Street presents the California premiere of David Ives' sexually provocative "Venus in Fur," starring longtime company member Dana Friedman as Vanda.
When: Previews June 29 at 5 p.m. and June 30 at 2 p.m. Opens June 30 at 7 p.m. and continues 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Sundays. Through Aug. 11.
Where: B Street Theatre Mainstage, 2711 B St., Sacramento
Tickets: $23-$35, $5 student rush, $15 preview
Information: (916) 443-5300, www.bstreettheatre.org
What: The Sacramento premiere of Kristoffer Diaz's "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity." Diaz's racially charged play about pro wrestlers turns from a comic spectacle into a deep social satire. Jonathan Williams directs.
When: July 10-Aug. 11. 7 p.m. Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays.
Where: Capital Stage, 2215 J St., Sacramento
Tickets: $18 for previews, $38 for opening night, $18-$32 regular.
Information: Call (916)995-5464 or go to www.capstage.org
FAIR OAKS THEATRE FESTIVAL
What: The summer theater festival in Old Fair Oaks produces shows in a charming community amphitheater. This year's shows are "Pajama Game" (June 21-July 21); "Cinder Ella" the children's show, (July 6, 13, 20, 27); "The Drowsy Chaperone" (Aug. 9-Sept. 8), "The Best of Broadway" (Sept. 13-29).
When: 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday for "Pajama Game" and "The Drowsy Chaperone." 7:30 p.m. for "The Best of Broadway."
Tickets: $8-$15; $10 on Sundays.
Where: Veterans Memorial Amphitheatre, 7991 California Ave., Old Fair Oaks Village. "Cinder Ella" at Fair Oaks Clubhouse, 7997 California Ave.
Information: (916) 966-3683 or go to http://www.fairoakstheatrefestival.com
What: The venerable Sacramento summer institution heads into its 63rd season (and the 11th at the Wells Fargo Pavilion) with a five-show season. The season opens June 21 with an extended 13- performance run of "The Wizard of Oz" (June 21-30). There will be a dark week between each of the four following shows: "Show Boat" (July 9-14); "Sugar" (July 23-28); "The King and I" (Aug. 6-11); and "Chicago" (Aug. 20-29).
Where: The Wells Fargo Pavilion, 419 H St., Sacramento
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays; 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 2 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays.
Tickets: Subscriptions range from $150 to $256; single tickets, $30-$74.
Information: (916) 557-1999, www.calmt.com
SACRAMENTO SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
What: The Sacramento Shakespeare Festival, produced by City Theatre at Sacramento City College, presents "Twelfth Night" directed by Matt Miller, and "Julius Caesar" directed by Luther Hanson.
When: "Twelfth Night" opens June 28 and runs June 30, July 7, 12, 14, 20, 25 and 27.
"Julius Caesar" opens July 5, and runs July 6, 11, 13, 19, 21, 26 and 28.
Where: The William A. Carroll Amphitheatre, 3901 Land Park Drive in William Land Park behind Fairytale Town across from the Sacramento Zoo.
Information: (916) 558-2228 or www.sacramentoshakespeare.net
MAIN STREET THEATRE WORKS
What: Susan McCandless directs "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" by Mark Twain, adapted by Laura Eason; Julie Anchor directs "Sherlock's Last Case" by Charles Marowitz.
Where: Kennedy Mine Amphitheatre, Jackson, in the Amador County foothills
When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays for "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," June 21-July 20; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays for "Sherlock's Last Case," Aug. 9 through Sept. 7.
Tickets: $17.50 general; $12 students 18 and under; $49 family package (two general, two students)
Information: Gates open at 6:30 p.m. for picnicking. The evenings cool off, so bring blankets, sweaters or jackets, plus low-back chairs and mosquito repellent. Call (209) 295-4499 or go to www.mstw.org
LAKE TAHOE SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL What: Charles Fee directs "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays, July 12-Aug. 25.
Where: Sand Harbor State Park, Incline Village, Nev.
Information: www.LakeTahoeShakespeare.com or (800) 747-4697.
AMERICAN CONSERVATORY THEATRE
What: Tom Stoppard's modern classic "Arcadia" returns to ACT in a beautiful new production under the direction of his longtime collaborator artistic director Carey Perloff. The production, now onstage, has been extended due to its popularity.
When: 8 p.m. TuesdaysSaturdays; 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Through June 16.
Where: ACT's Geary Theater (415 Geary St., San Francisco).
Information: Call (415)749-2228 or go to www.act-sf.org
What: ACT presents the National Theatre of Scotland's "Black Watch." Written by Gregory Burke and directed by the Tony Award- winning John Tiffany ("Once"), the multimedia spectacle employs state-of-the-art visual effects, traditional Scottish music and inventive stagecraft to depict the well-known infantry unit's tour of duty in Iraq.
Where: The Armory Community Center, 333 14th St. (between Mission and Valencia), San Francisco.
When:8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays; 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. No performance this Tuesday. Through June 16.
Tickets: $100 (stadium-style seating)
Information: (415) 749-2228 or www.act-sf.org
BERKELEY REPERTORY THEATRE
What: Berkeley Rep presents a special pre-Broadway run of Harold Pinter's "No Man's Land" with Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley; directed by Sean Mathias. Pinter's mysterious comedic drama premiered in 1975 and had an acclaimed 2008 London revival. After playing Berkeley, this production travels to Broadway where it runs in repertory with "Waiting for Godot" this fall.
When: Aug. 3-31. Performance times vary. Contact the theater for specific dates.
Where: Berkeley Rep's Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison St., Berkeley.
Tickets: $35-$135. Discounts are available for groups, seniors, students and anyone under 30 years of age.
Information: (510) 647-2949 or www.berkeleyrep.org
CALIFORNIA SHAKESPEARE THEATER
What: Artistic director Jonathan Moscone leads this nationally recognized theater in its four-show season with Richard Montoya's "American Night" (through June 23), Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" (July 3-28), Oscar Wilde's "Lady Windermere's Fan" (Aug. 14-Sept. 8), and Shakespeare's "A Winter's Tale" (Sept. 25-Oct. 20).
Where: Bruns Amphitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way (formerly 100 Gateway Blvd.), Orinda
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 4 p.m Sundays with select Saturdays at 2 p.m. Grounds open for picnicking two hours before curtain.
Tickets: $35-$71 with discounts available for seniors, students, theatergoers age 30 and under, and groups.
Information: (510) 548-9666 or www.calshakes.org.
OREGON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
What: The world-class repertory theater in Ashland opens the Elizabethan Stage/Allen Pavilion its outdoor venue with three productions that run through mid-October: "Cymbeline" (Tuesday-Oct. 11), "The Heart of Robin Hood" (Wednesday-Oct. 12) and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (Thursday-Oct. 13).
Also joining the rep in the Thomas (formerly New) Theatre are the world premieres of "The Unfortunates" with book, music, and lyrics by a cappella hip-hop group 3 Blind Mice (Jon Beavers, Ian Merrigan, Ramiz Monsef) and Casey Hurt (through Nov. 2) and "The Liquid Plain" by Naomi Wallace (July 2Nov. 3).
In the Bowmer Theatre are Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" (through Nov. 2) and another world premiere "The Tenth Muse" by Tanya Saracho (July 24Nov. 2).
Where: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, Ore.
When: Schedules vary as the plays rotate in repertory daily and nightly except Mondays.
Information: (541) 482-4331 or www.osfashland.org.
Call The Bee's Call The Bee's Marcus Crowder, (916) 321-1120. Follow him on Twitter @marcuscrowder.