Center stage: ‘Julia Caesar,’ ‘Chicago,’ Jules Verne adaptation, Plain campaign among August theater openings | Entertainment

From ancient Rome to Jazz Age Chicago and from an Amish farm to 19th-century London, local stage companies will take audiences on a world tour — from the comfort of their theater seats — during August.

The calendar may be entering the last month of summer before Labor Day, but it’s jam-packed with live theater experiences in Lancaster County and beyond.

Here’s a sampling of what’s opening and continuing, for adult audiences and families, on local stages in the month of August.

Opening in August

— Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend the People’s Shakespeare Project your ears as the troupe presents “Julia Caesar,” a gender-bending take on William Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.”

The theater company will present five performances of the play about a conspiratorial plot by senators to kill the Roman ruler over fears she’ll become a tyrant — and the civil war that results — at the Ware Center, 42 N. Prince St., Lancaster.

The People’s Shakespeare Project promises “a fast-paced abridged script, a twist on gender roles and impressive fight choreography,” with several cast members playing multiple roles in the production. It’s appropriate for ages 12 and up.

Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee. Running time is about an hour and 40 minutes with no intermission. Tickets: or 717-871-7600.

Actors Kristin Wolanin, as Julia Caesar (right) Dan Burke, as Brutus (middle) and Holly Andrew, as Cassius (left) rehearse for the People’s Shakespeare Project’s upcoming production of “Julia Caesar” at Stone Independent School in Lancaster on Wednesday, July 27, 2022.

— On the heels of the 25th anniversary of the Broadway revival of “Chicago,” the Prather Productions touring production of the popular Jazz Age musical kicks off with a run at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre starting Friday, Aug. 12.

The show, famed choreographer Bob Fosse’s black comedy, tells the 1920s tale of “merry murderesses” Roxie Hart, Velma Kelly and the rest of the ladies in the Chicago cell block who are awaiting trial for bumping off their significant others in spectacular fashion. They’re aided and abetted by their prison matron Mama Morton, their razzle-dazzle lawyer, Billy Flynn and an “all-that-jazz” score by John Kander and Fred Ebb.

This production has a creative team behind it that has worked on the Broadway production.

The show runs through Sept. 17. Matinee and evening performances run mostly Wednesday through Sunday, and tickets are available with a buffet or served meal or for the show only.

The Dutch Apple is at 510 Centerville Road, Lancaster. Tickets and information: or 717-898-1900

— Bird-in-Hand Stage presents a political tale with an Amish twist as “Josiah for President” opens Thursday, Aug. 18. In this musical, which runs until Oct. 21, a congressman running for president has had his campaign ruined by a scandal created by his opponent, and is on his way home from Washington when his car goes into a ditch in Amish Country.

Josiah, the Amish man who rescues him, strikes the congressman as just the kind of person who should lead the nation. Can he get this simple, straight-talking Plain man of faith to run for president in his stead?

Bird-in-Hand Stage is on the banquet level of Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant & Smorgasbord, 2760 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird-in-Hand.

Show tickets can be combined with meals — breakfast, lunch or dinner. Tickets can be ordered online at For more information, visit the website or call 717-768-1568.

— Gretna Theatre’s “Around the World in 80 Days,” a fast-paced, slapstick adaptation of the 19th-century adventure novel by Jules Verne, opens Thursday at the Mount Gretna Playhouse.

With quick changes and lots of physical comedy, five actors portray 39 characters in the story of Phileas Fogg’s quest to leave London and circle the globe in 80 days. Fogg is also being pursued by a detective who thinks he’s a fleeing criminal, and must contend with stampeding elephants, raging typhoons, runaway trains and more. Shows are at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7.

— After Phileas Fogg has had his moment, the King will take up residence on the Gretna Theatre stage as Brandon Bennett brings Elvis Presley to life in “Elvis My Way” in late August.

Bennett, a native of southern Louisiana, portrayed Presley in the jukebox musical “Million Dollar Quartet” in Chicago for several years. His Elvis tribute show presents a retrospective of the rock ’n’ roll pioneer’s career from the 1950s to the ’70s.

Backed by a group of musicians, Bennett will sing such Elvis hits as “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Suspicious Minds” and “Can’t Help Falling In Love.”

Shows are at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25; 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 26-27; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28.

Mount Gretna Playhouse is at 200 Pennsylvania Ave., Mount Gretna, in Lebanon County. For more information and tickets, visit or call the box office at 717-964-3627.

— The Fulton Theatre will hold its second “Festival of New Works: Stories of Diversity” Friday and Saturday, Aug. 19-20 on the Fulton main stage.

Three plays representing perspectives from diverse voices were selected from among 75 submissions.

“Children of the Empire” by Chandler Hubbard, a play considered for last year’s festival, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 19, followed by an opening-night reception.

Finalists to be presented at 11 a.m. and 3 and 5:30 p.m. Aug. 20 are “A Complicated Hope,” by John Mabey; “Mi Abuela, Queen of Nightmares,” by Christine Stoddard and “World Classic,” by Nelson Diaz-Marcano.

Tickets to the shows are free, but those attending are asked to register in advance. Keep checking the Fulton’s IDEA page for a place to register:

The festival is an initiative of the Fulton’s IDEA committee (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility).

For families

— A musical stage adaptation of P.D. Eastman’s popular children’s book “Go, Dog. Go!” comes alive for one performance as part of the Kids Series at Gretna Theatre, Mount Gretna, at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 6. ​

The dogs in the show become part of a visual spectacle as they snorkel, howl at the moon, sing, dance, climb trees and ride a Ferris wheel.

Children attending the show will receive a free copy of the book on which the show is based.

Gretna Theatre children’s productions are aimed at kids K-6th grade. For tickets, visit

— Fans of the mythology-inspired “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series of young-adult novels by Rick Riordan can experience a musical based on these stories as Lancaster’s Popovsky Performing Arts Studio for young artists presents “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical.”

The show will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Gardner Theatre at Lancaster Country Day School, 725 Hamilton Road, Lancaster.

The musical follows the adventures of Percy Jackson, a teenager who learns he is a demigod. The show, filled with mythical creatures, follows his epic quest to find Zeus’ missing lightning bolt and prevent a war among Greek gods.

For information and tickets, visit

Ent Spongebob 2 EPAC.jpg

Sea creatures in Ephrata Performing Arts Center’s “The SpongeBob Musical” include, from top, Bethany Huff as Karen, Dion Castro as Plankton, Elizabeth Checchia as Mr. Krabs, Jessa Casner as Pearl, Davina Lopez as Sandy, Bobby Checchia as Patrick, Jordan Eck as SpongeBob Squarepants and Andrew Cuer as Squidward.


— The residents of the deep-sea world of Bikini Bottom try to save their town from an impending underwater volcanic eruption in “The SpongeBob Musical,” which continues this Thursday through Aug. 13 at the Ephrata Performing Arts Center.

Based on the popular animated TV series, the show explores myriad musical styles as it follows SpongeBob Squarepants and his quirky friends in their efforts to save their world and the nefarious forces working against them.

Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday, Aug. 13, and a 7:30 p.m. performance Wednesday, Aug. 10.

Ephrata Performing Arts Center is located at 320 Cocalico St., in Grater Memorial Park, Ephrata. For tickets, call 717-733-7966, ext. 1, or visit

Liv Ent Rock Clock 3.jpg

The cast of “Rock Around the Clock” performs early rock ‘n’ roll classics in a touring production of the Servant Stage Company.

— Popular hits from the 1950s and ’60s are on the musical menu as Servant Stage Company’s “Rock Around the Clock” revue continues its tour of venues across Lancaster County through Aug. 14.

A live rock band backs a cast of more than 30 performers in this musical trip back in time to the early days of rock ’n’ roll.

Remaining performances include 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, in Lititz Springs Park; 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, and 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Lancaster Alliance Church, 210 Pitney Road, Lancaster; and around 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14 (or whenever the Lancaster Barnstormers baseball game ends) at Clipper Magazine Stadium, 650 N. Prince St., Lancaster.

Performances are pay-what-you-want, and reservations are requested. Visit or call 717-455-0255 to reserve tickets.

Liv Ent Cats at Susquehanna Stage

The cast of the musical “Cats” rehearses at Susquehanna Stage in Marietta on Tuesday, July 26, 2022.

— Jellicle cats will introduce themselves, then sing and dance away the evening, as they decide which among them will get a chance at a new life in the Heaviside Layer. “Cats,” the popular and long-running Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, continues this week at Susquehanna Stage in Marietta.

Remaining performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Aug. 7.

Susquehanna Stage performs at the Marietta Center for the Arts, 133 W. Market St., Marietta. For tickets, visit or contact the box office at 717-426-1277 or email

— The Hershey Theatre stop on the national tour of the Broadway musical “Anastasia,” based on the 1997 animated film of the same name, ends with at 1 p.m. show today.

Anya, an orphaned woman who has lost her memory sets out on a journey from the twilight of the Russian Empire to 1920s Paris to discover the mystery of her past.

Hershey Theatre is at 15 E. Caracas Ave., Hershey. Visit for tickets and info.

— The origin story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons is set to a jukebox full of the pop group’s hit tunes in the musical “Jersey Boys,” which runs through Sunday, Aug. 7, at the Fulton Theatre.

The jukebox musical contains such Four Seasons hits as “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Sherry” and “Walk Like A Man.”

Remaining shows are 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 7.

The Fulton is at 12 N. Prince St., Lancaster.

For information and tickets, visit or call 717-397-7425.

— Third Space Theatre offers a Roaring ’20s comedy murder mystery show, “Mystery on Main,” at two different venues through Aug. 19. The show, which includes a meal, is appropriate for ages 8 and up.

The show will be performed at 6:15 p.m. most Thursdays at the Eden Resort & Suites, 222 Eden Road, and at 6:15 p.m. most Fridays at Shady Maple Smorgasbord, 129 Toddy Drive, East Earl.

For show times and tickets, visit

Lancaster Improv Players present two shows a night, at 7 and 8:30 p.m., featuring two different troupes of improvisational actors, on Saturdays, Aug. 6-20, at their theater at 16 S. Prince St. in downtown Lancaster.

Using themes and suggestions from the audience, the actors create original long- and short-form scenes on the spot. For information and tickets, visit

“David,” a show that tells the Old Testament story of the shepherd who slew Goliath and rose to become king, continues through Dec. 31 at Sight & Sound Theatres, 300 Hartman Bridge Road, Ronks. The show features original music, live animals and special effects.

Shows are Tuesday through Saturday. For tickets and information, visit

— When her past catches up with her, Melissa James flees her Connecticut home hides out at a bed-and-breakfast inn in Amish Country. The musical “A Simple Sanctuary” continues through Aug. 10 at Bird-in-Hand Stage, 2760 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird-in-Hand.

— The family-friendly “Ryan and Friends: Hilarity Happens!” continues through Oct. 22 at Bird-in-Hand Stage. The show features a comic take on Lancaster County life through comedy, music and ventriloquism.

For tickets to both Bird-in-Hand Stage shows, visit or call 717-768-1568.

“Magic & Wonder: Mystery,” a variety magic show from illusionist Brett Myers and his cast of performers, runs through Oct. 19 at the Magic & Wonder Theater, 3065 Lincoln Highway, Paradise. The show combines magic and circus performance as it explores mysterious worlds.

For tickets, visit or call 717-323-3077.


The cast of “The Little Mermaid” performs at The Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre.

Continuing, for families

— Now through Aug. 19, Third Space Theatre will be performing the silly, action-packed comedy “Even Monsters Can be Royalty,” aimed at children ages 3 to 10 but suitable for the whole family. Shows will be performed at three different Lancaster County venues: 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. most Wednesdays at the Wyndham Lancaster Resort and Convention Center, 2300 Lincoln Highway East; 11 a.m. most Thursdays at the Eden Resort & Suites, 222 Eden Road; and 11 a.m. most Fridays at Shady Maple Smorgasbord, 129 Toddy Drive, East Earl.

For show times and tickets, visit

— The beloved story of “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” continues through Saturday at the Lancaster’s Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre.

Audiences of all ages can enjoy the tale of mermaid Ariel, who must consider a bargain with sea-witch Ursula in order to pursue love on dry land with Prince Eric.

Remaining shows are at 1 and 7 p.m. today; 1 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Friday, and tickets are available with a buffet or served meal or for the show only.

— Also at the Dutch Apple, family audiences can go off on a musical adventure with “How I Became a Pirate,” which ends its run Friday at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, 510 Centerville Road, Lancaster. Braid Beard and his band of comical pirates enlist young Jeremy Jacob as their expert digger, as they look for a good spot to bury their treasure.

Lunch is at 11:45 a.m. and the show is at 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday.

The Dutch Apple is at 510 Centerville Road, Lancaster. For tickets and information for either show: or 717-898-1900.

Back to top button