White Heron Theatre Company Summer Schedule Outlook

JohnCarl McGrady •

The White Heron Theatre Company has a full schedule for the upcoming summer, featuring several Tony-nominated actors and a mix of new productions and old classics. In addition to four summer shows, the White Heron will also be hosting stand-up comedy on Friday and Saturday nights throughout July and August for the first time in collaboration with the Nantucket Comedy Festival.

The White Heron's first summer show, The Half, is a comedy centered around an actor preparing to perform a one-man show of Hamlet for the first time. Written by Richard Dormer, famous for his role in Game of Thrones, the play debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2012, but the theatre's production will be the North American premiere.

“It’s a great play,” said Lynne Bolton, president and artistic director of the White Heron. “It was a huge hit in Edinburgh.”

Later in the season, they will stage the world premiere of See Monsters of the Deep, a mystery set on Nantucket that follows a man attempting to uncover the truth of a suspicious childhood boating incident and face his childhood fears. “Part of our mission is to do new work,” Bolton said. “We feel very proud and happy about the fact that we are able to create new plays for the American theatre.”

In fact, the theatre has just been awarded a Shubert Grant for their contribution to the American theatre in terms of new work for the American stage. Awarded by the Shubert Organization, America’s oldest professional theatre company, this is the first such grant given to any theater in eastern Massachusetts.

The White Heron is also planning a production of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Dial M for Murder, a comedic thriller starring Celia Keenan-Bolger. Keenan-Bolger won a Tony award for her portrayal of Scout in a 2018 Broadway production of To Kill a Mockingbird and has performed in several other Broadway shows, earning a total of four Tony nominations. Bolton said that the theatre enjoys having accomplished actors in their shows because “it allows that audience to see that kind of work in a very small venue. You’d never see Celia in a 120-seat house in New York.” But she stressed that “it’s not star-based here. We’re all very much a collaborative company of actors.”

The summer season closes with a production based on the life of Thurgood Marshal, the attorney who argued Brown v. Board of Education and eventually became the country’s first Black Supreme Court Justice. Bolton felt that this production was quite timely.

“I think it’s really important that we take a very serious look at the independent court and how it really should not be politicized,” she said, “and I think this play really talks very specifically about the social changes that can happen when you don’t have a political court...this really is a beautiful story about a brilliant man who made changes to our society in a very profound sense.”

This will be the White Heron's 10th season on Nantucket, including the 2020 season during which they produced several radio theatre programs after COVID-19 forced them to temporarily shut down the theatre.

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