Outdoor Theater and Plays in Sonoma County

Sonoma Shakespeare, Avalon Players

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Outdoor Theater and Plays in Sonoma County

All's the world's a stage especially when Sonoma County theater groups perform outside, surrounded by the Sonoma Wine Country's natural beauty. Whether it's Broadway show tunes or Shakespeare's immortal words, there's something magical about performers creating a dramatic or comedic spell in the great outdoors.

Venues vary — you might spread a blanket on the grass, set up lawn chairs, or sit in rows of folding chairs. It all depends on the show you choose. Here's a quick round-up of theater companies performing in outdoor venues in Sonoma County.

Transcendence Theatre Company

Broadway Under the Stars
Selected dates, June 12 to Sept. 13, 2020
Jack London State Historic Park, Glen Ellen
The stone winery ruins at this state historic park come alive with energizing, inspiring, and clever tunes as the award-winning Transcendence Theatre Company presents Broadway Under the Stars, with four new outdoor shows on select nights from June 12 to Sept. 13. The season kicks off with a full production of the award winning musical "Chicago," followed by three musical revues with timely themes. 

Transcendence Theatre Company on stage performing Fosse style.
Transcendence Theatre Company. Photo by Rebecca Call.

 

  • Chicago: June 12-July 5, in a full production of this Broadway classic. 
  • Fantastical Family Night: July 25-26, a fun-filled, inspirational evening of music and dance for the whole family.
  • The Beat Goes On: Aug. 14-30, whirl through decades of dance, with a joyous explosion of movement, music, and rhythm. 
  • Gala Celebration: Sept. 11-13, an end-of-season celebration and fundraiser guaranteed to close the summer in an extraordinary way. 

Pre-show picnicking with musical entertainment starts at 5 p.m. in the park’s sprawling vineyard and meadow. Bring your own picnics or purchase delicious goodies from local gourmet food trucks and vendors that will be at the venue for each performance, along with  fine wine representing several Sonoma County wineries. Performances inside the ruins start at 7:30 p.m. (seating is on folding chairs, with cushions for VIP and premium seats). 

General admission is $45 to $79; premium tickets are $85 to $99; and VIP admission is $139 to $150. Season tickets and group tickets (of 10 or more) are available. Five dollars from every ticket sold is contributed to the support and maintenance of the park. Reserve tickets by telephone at 877-424-1414 or online at BestNightEver.org. 
Transcendence Theatre Company877-424-1414.
Jack London State Historic Park2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen, CA 95442.

Sonoma Shakespeare, Avalon Players 

"Taming of the Shrew"
Aug. 19-23 and 26-30, 2020
Buena Vista Winery, Sonoma
This year the Avalon Players celebrate 40 years of presenting "Shakespeare under the Stars" with a rollicking production of Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew." The courtyard fountain at Buena Vista, California's first commercial winery, provides the perfect setting for a typically lively rendition of one of the Bard's works, as presented by artistic director Kate Kennedy. Enjoy the performance in patio table seating around the courtyard fountain. Seating starts at 6 p.m., with performances at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online
Avalon Players, 707-996-3264.
Buena Vista Winery, 1800 Old Winery Road, Sonoma.

Petaluma Shakespeare Company

Shakespeare by the River, Petaluma Shakespeare Company
Shakespeare by the River, Foundry Wharf Green​​​​​​

Shakespeare by the River
Late Summer 2020
Foundry Wharf Green, 652 2nd St., Petaluma 
Bring a blanket and a lawn chair to enjoy Shakespeare under the open skies of Petaluma. Dedicated to making Shakespeare accessible to everyone regardless of age or income, the Petaluma Shakespeare Company hosts its annual free Shakespeare by the River shows outdoors at the Foundry Wharf Green. A concession stand offers a variety of refreshments at all performances.
Petaluma Shakespeare Company[email protected], 707-287-1766.

Plan Ahead

For any evening performances outdoors, it's a good idea to dress in warm layers, as Sonoma County temperatures can drop dramatically after the sun goes down. Be sure to check in advance whether picnics, alcoholic beverages, or lawn chairs are allowed at a specific venue.

Written by Sonoma Insider Patricia Lynn Henley.