Theater lovers should rejoice that once again plays and musicals will be returning to the stage. However, for many companies, those “stages” will feel more akin to Shakespeare’s Globe or Greece’s odeons. Many are planning for outdoor performances to increase capacity while maintaining social distancing precautions.

New London Barn Playhouse

The Barn will be staging its shows outside on the field at Colby-Sawyer College’s Ivey Science Center for what it is calling its “Summer Under the Stars.” The outdoor shows come amid a major upgrade to the theater’s usual complex.

Four of the shows are concert-style musical shows, which will rotate from June 29 to Aug. 22. They are “Shining On: An Original Revue,” “A Grand Night for Singing: An evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein,” “Anything Goes in Concert” and “And The World Goes ‘Round: Songs of Kander and Ebb.” Closing out the season will be “Always, Patsy Cline” from Aug. 25 to Sept. 5.

Peterborough Players

One of New Hampshire’s oldest summer stock theaters is kicking off its season with Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town,” staged on the town green that is rumored to have served as inspiration for the play.

“We’re the only professional theater in the world that could do this play, in this way, in this place. It’s exciting,” said associate artistic director Tom Frey.

“Our Town” will run Aug. 4 to 15 in downtown Peterborough.

“Beehive: The 60 Musical” will run Aug. 18 to 29 on a newly built outdoor stage at the theater complex on Stearns Farm.

“Where You Are,” a U.S. premiere, will run from Sept. 1 to 12, also at the Stearns Farm outdoor stage.

Barnstormers Theatre

The state’s oldest professional summer theater company also will be staging New Hampshire nostalgia on a newly-constructed outdoor stage outside the Tamworth History Center.

“Our Town” will run July 17 to 31.

“Far From Canterbury” will run Aug. 11 to 21.

A third show, which hasn’t been announced yet, will be staged Aug. 31 to Sept. 4.

Prescott Park

The Prescott Park Arts Festival is no stranger to outdoor shows, as its been putting them on for years. The summer schedule is still in the works, but at least one of the shows will be “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” from July 9 to Aug. 15.

Jean’s Playhouse

For the first time since its beginning over 30 years ago, Jean’s Playhouse will put on an outdoor performance of the “The Sound of Music in Concert” from July 8 to 10 at Loon Mountain. The remainder of the season will be held at the playhouse.

“Clue: The Musical” will run July 15 to 31.

“Evita” will run from Aug. 5 to Aug. 14.

“Forever Plaid” will run from Aug. 19 to 28.

Winnipesaukee Playhouse

The playhouse has planned an ambitious professional show series for the summer that will split between an outdoor amphitheater and the indoor theater.

“Betrayal” will run June 16 to July 3 outside.

“Sleuth” will run June 30 to July 17 inside.

“Dani Girl” will run July 14 to July 31 outside.

“Tell Me on a Sunday” will run July 28 to Aug. 14 inside.

“Hooligans and Convicts” will run Aug. 18 to Sept. 4 inside.

“It Had to Be You” will run Sept. 1 to Sept. 18 outside.

“Glorious” will run Sept. 22 to Oct. 9 inside.

Hatbox Theatre

Concord’s own theater will bring plays back to the stage indoors with “Holmes and Watson” on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from June 11 to 27. Check out the calendar for more shows as the summer progresses.

Weathervane Theatre

Weathervane Theatre is also opting to resume shows indoors with limited capacity. The playhouse offers shows in a rotating repertory. The 2021 line up includes “Buyer and Celler,” “American Idiot,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “Disaster!,” “Kinky Boots,” “Amadeus,” “The Addams Family,” “Pippin,” “The Mountaintop,” “Always … Patsy Cline,” and “She Loves Me,” which collectively will run from June 29 to Oct. 10.

Seacoast Rep

There are two musicals planned for the Seacoast Rep’s summer season.

“Pippin” will run June 10 to  July 18.

“Cabaret” will run July 22 to Sept. 5.

Interlakes Theatre

Billing itself as the “Broadway in the Lakes Region,” Interlakes Theatre is planning to pick up where it left off. It will start off with “A Chorus Line,” which was canceled in 2020. The rest of the 2021 season has yet to be announced. u