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Festival 56 opens summer season

PRINCETON – Festival 56 will open its 11th season at 7:30 p.m. June 20 with “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”, the first of three Broadway musicals offered through the summer.

The Tony Award-winning musical runs June 20-28 at the Grace Center for Performing Arts, 316 S. Main St.

The other two musicals are “Oliver!” from July 11-25, and “Into the Woods”, Stephen Sondheim’s haunting musical take on several Brothers Grimm fairy tales from July 26-Aug. 3. 

Along with the musicals will run the romantic comedy “Sylvia”, in which a dog (played by a human) is the foil for a couple in midlife crisis. This show will run from July 3-8. 

The farce “Boeing, Boeing”, in which a self-styled man tries to keep an airline hostess girlfriend in every port – until they all converge at his Paris apartment – will run from July 15-19.

The Grace Theatre is the venue for all these shows, except “Oliver!”, which will play at the Princeton High School Council Auditorium, 103 S. Euclid Ave.

During the month of July, there will once again be free Shakespeare in Princeton’s Soldiers and Sailors Park. This year’s selection is the comedy “As You Like It”, which will be performed in the park at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Sunday evenings July 6 through July 27. No tickets are required; lawn chairs are recommended.

For the first time, Festival 56 is offering a new Broadway Pass – a ticket package just for the three musicals. The usual summer or full-season subscriptions, which include three fall plays, also are available.  

The Preview Cabaret at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Grace Center is included in subscription packages. This event showcases the musical talents of the summer’s company of actors.

Go to, call 815-879-5656, ext. 11, or stop by the Festival 56 box office for tickets or more information. 

The box office is open from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1 hour before each performance.

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