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Festival 56 sets summer theater lineup in Princeton

Cabarets, Shakespeare in the park, and three stage shows included in lineup

Festival 56 in Princeton will kick off its 2022 summer theater season in June.

Festival 56 in Princeton will kick off its 2022 summer season with an opening cabaret at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June. Ensemble members will share old and new material in a relaxed format. The theater season will feature three additional cabarets on July 15, July 29 and July 31.

This is Festival 56′s 18th summer season and features the theme “a season of mischief and merriment.”

The opening show of the season jumps into the pages of Mo Willems’ hit children’s book series when “Elephant and Piggie’s ‘We Are in a Play!’” takes the stage June 24 through July 2. An elephant named Gerald and a pig named Piggie are the “bestus” of friends, according to the script. In this “Flippy Floppy Floory” show, Gerald and Piggie sing their way through a day where anything is possible. They wear silly hats, go to a party with squirrels, learn a new dance and eat ice cream.

Starting July 3, Festival 56 once again will present its free Shakespeare in Soldiers and Sailors Park every Sunday and Wednesday. Follow Sir John Falstaff in “The Merry Wives of Windsor” as he tries to fix his financial woes by seducing the wives of two wealthy merchants, hoping that their riches will secure his own. In this Shakespearean comedy, the wives discover Falstaff has sent them identical love letters, so they take their revenge. With the help of their husbands and friends, the merry wives of Windsor get the last laugh and put Falstaff’s mischief to an end.

The next show in July is “Matilda,” based on the classic Roald Dahl novel. Matilda is a little girl with astonishing wit, precocious intelligence and magical powers. Two of the main challenges in her life are neglectful and cruel parents and a headmistress who considers torturing children an artform. However, with the help of her loving school teacher, Matilda finds the courage to stand up for what is right and change her destiny. “Matilda” runs July 8-16.

Festival 56 will present “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” July 22-30. The play ventures into Edwardian England, where the low-born Monty Navarro discovers that he is eighth in line for the substantial D’Ysquith family fortune. Monty tries to knock off his unsuspecting relatives without being caught so he can secure his position as the next Earl of Highhurst. This murderous romp features music, human and a single actor playing all eight of the doomed heirs.

This summer season will also include a New Works Performance at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 30. For information about the summer season’s shows or to buy tickets, visit www.festival56.com and click on the box office tab. The box office also can be reached at 815-879-5656 from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and one hour before each performance.

Stage performances will take place at The Grace, 316 S. Main St., Princeton.