Arts Guide

From outdoor summer concerts and festivals to plein air painting events and theater premieres, we’ve got you covered all year long.

By Lisa Leigh Connors

Arts Foundation of Cape Cod

What’s new: The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod has moved to Main Street in Hyannis.

What’s the buzz: The ArtsCapeCod.org website, powered by the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, to promote arts and cultural events all year long. The organization’s motto is: It’s On! 

Hot summer offerings: Pops by the Sea, the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod’s major fundraising event on Aug. 14, welcomes the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, under the direction of maestro Keith Lockhart, to the Hyannis Village Green. Families, residents and visitors enjoy this iconic tradition, which evokes the classic elegance of the Cape in summertime, on Aug. 14.

Must-see events: TD Summer Concert Series, produced by the Arts Foundation, presents live music in eight towns throughout the Cape during the month of July. The concerts are outdoor and family friendly. Visitors will enjoy some of the Cape’s best musical acts—for free!

232 Main St., Suite B l 508-362-0066


Cape Cod Museum of Art

What’s new: Celebrating 35 years of exhibitions and programming. The museum welcomes a new board president, Peter Polhemus; new staff member, Benton Jones, education and community engagement; and new logo, donated to the museum by internationally recognized graphic designer Roger Cook. For the first time in the museum’s history, there will be an open national juried exhibition, “Breaking the Mold: Inspired by Innovation,” through June 12. The Cape Cod Museum of Art has also released its first major publication, “Art from Cape Cod: Selections from the Cape Cod Museum of Art,” by Edith A. Tonelli, Ph.D., director, and Deborah Forman (Schiffer).

What’s the buzz: This year promises to be eventful, with many new initiatives, spectacular exhibits and gala receptions. The museum will pay tribute to its founders and honor committed supporters from over the last 35 years. The education department offers classes and workshops, ranging from printmaking to painting and pottery to precious metal clay. It also hosts literary events, has a screening room for movie viewings and lectures, offers music recitals and concerts. The museum strongly believes in its mission: “To inspire through art.”

Hot summer offerings:  “Robert Douglas Hunter: A Life in Art,” June 16 – Aug. 14. A retrospective of the painter, who has been called the “dean” of the Boston School of Painting, a “still-life virtuoso,” and a “modern realist.” “At the Crossroads: Six Contemporary Artists at the Intersection of Identity and Community,” July 7 – Aug. 28, reception July 8. An exhibition of large-scale structures and on-site installations. Guest curator: Susan Danton.

This month: A luncheon and fashion show at Wequassett Resort and Golf Club, 11 a.m., May 23. Make your reservations early. Hosted by The Guild of Cape Cod Museum of Art. $65/non-guild members. $60/for guild members.

Fundraiser: Summer gala and art auction, “Beyond the Sea,” on Aug. 20, breaks with tradition by featuring a clambake and an ocean theme.

60 Hope Lane (off Route 6A), Dennis  l 508-385-4477  


The Cape Cod Women’s Music Festival, May 21

An annual showcase of some of the area’s most talented female performers. This year, the festival will be held at The Cape Playhouse, a legendary venue that has been bringing professional summer theater to Cape Cod for more than 70 years. Proceeds benefit Cape Wellness Collaborative. Performers include Zoe Lewis, Erin McKeown and Natalia Zukerman, The Ticks, The Rip It Ups, Sarah Swain and the Oh Boys, with special appearances by Jordan Renzi, Sarah Burrill, Abby Field and Cape Cod African Dance + Drum.

The Cape Playhouse, 820 Main St., Dennis,

508-385-3618, 
For more information and to buy tickets, CLICK HERE


Cape Cod Theatre Company—Home of Harwich Jr. Theatre

What’s new: The Harwich Junior Jr. Theatre has been rebranded as Cape Cod Theatre Company—Home of Harwich Jr. Theatre. The theater company is now in its 65th season and Nina Schuessler is in her 20th year as producing artistic director.

What’s the buzz: “Ring of Fire—The Johnny Cash Musical,” May 12 – June 12. From the opening chords of vintage country and rockabilly to rock ’n’ roll and searing ballads, “Ring of Fire” packs a score that provides a rich fabric in which to tell the story of Johnny Cash. A core group of talented actor/musicians celebrate the songs that are such a part of our collective experience.

Summer stage: Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” June 23-July 16, based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories and the classic animated film. “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” by C.S. Lewis adapted by Adrian Mitchell, July 21-Aug, 7. The land of Narnia is under the spell of the wicked White Witch, and the four very quickly find themselves caught up in a deadly struggle between good and evil. “Selkie: Between Land and Sea,” Aug. 11-Aug. 28. This timeless myth chronicles the story of 16-year-old Elin Jean, who knows she is different from “the others.”

105 Division St., West Harwich, 508-432-2002  


Cape Symphony & Conservatory

What’s new: The 2016/2017 season will be the first full season with new president and CEO Roland Valliere at the helm. Valliere moved to Cape Cod after most recently serving in a similar role for the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. In addition to his day-to-day role in running the joint Cape Symphony & Conservatory, Valliere will also be responsible for moving forward the joint organizations’ plans to build a state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center on Cape Cod.

What’s the buzz: A new technology grant has enabled the Cape Conservatory to offer new music courses with a digital spin. The digital piano studio is enhanced with iPads to enrich the student experience, exploring a variety of music-technology apps. A new distance-learning course, “The Art of Singing,” was launched this past spring. The course enables students to log in from afar to take singing lessons with Cape Conservatory teaching artists. 

Hot summer offerings: The Cape Symphony will once again perform at Cape Cod’s signature outdoor venue, the Melody Tent, on June 18, with “Martinis, Mad Men & Frank Sinatra,” featuring vocalist Brian Duprey. Tickets available at melodytent.org.

For aspiring student musicians aged 10 to 18, the conservatory’s annual summer sounds music camp returns with rock, pop and jazz band experiences. Students receive individual and group performance experience in this unique day-camp atmosphere facilitated by professional musicians at both the West Barnstable and Falmouth campuses.

Must-see events: The Cape Symphony’s chamber music ensemble, Nth Degree, will present its fourth and final performance in the “Kaleidoscope” season on June 4 and 5. The concert “Schubertiade” is a tribute to Franz Schubert. The composer wrote only two string trios and two piano trios. Attendees will hear one of each—as well as two other Schubert masterpieces­—in this all-Schubert celebration featuring Cape Symphony musicians and guest artists Mikael Darmanie on piano, and soprano Margot Rood.

Special celebrations: During the first weekend of November, the Cape Conservatory will be celebrating its 60th anniversary (1956-2016) with a collage concert featuring the Cape Youth Orchestra, Cape Cod Children’s Chorus, Conservatory Youth Ballet, CJazz All-Stars as well as current adult and youth Conservatory students and faculty. Details about this special performance can be found at capeconservatory.org.

Season 2016/2017 also marks the 10th anniversary season for Cape Symphony artistic director and conductor, Jung-Ho Pak. He is celebrating with a season full of great music, including a trip to France with the “Passport to France” concert in November, a rare performance of Mark O’Connor and his whole family, and a greatest Baroque hits countdown from 1720. The music of the ’70s and a home-spun holiday on Cape Cod are also on the celebratory music list.

Noteworthy: The Cape Conservatory is inviting individuals living with Parkinson’s Disease to join its new singing group, designed to help maintain the health of their voice, build community through singing, and experience hope—and joy—through music. Family members, friends and caregivers are welcome. Classes are held on Mondays through June 20 at the West Barnstable campus of the Cape Conservatory from 10:30 to 11:30 and are free of charge. Drop-ins welcome.

  Barnstable Performing Arts Center

  744 West Main St., Hyannis  l 508-362-1111


Chatham Orpheum Theater

What’s the buzz: This summer, the Orpheum is offering “Everyday Matinees” for kids starting at 9 a.m. from July 1 through Labor Day. They will rotate three films every week and show classic movies like “E.T” and “Muppets from Space” and new ones including “How to Train Your Dragon” and Kung Fu Panda.”  Tickets are $5. The Orpheum Café (formerly Vers) is open daily at 8 a.m. in the summer.

Anniversary: Look for special events throughout 2016 celebrating the theater’s 100-year anniversary.

Fun fact: On opening weekend in January, and also in weeks three and four, the Orpheum became the highest-grossing theater in the nation showing “The Finest Hours,” starring Chris Pine, Eric Bana and Casey Affleck, which was partially shot in town. It was shown in more than 3,000 theaters across the country.

637 Main St., Chatham  l 508-945-4900 


Cotuit Center for the Arts

What’s new: The newly renovated Black Box Theater. Improvements include more seats, a lobby, updated bathrooms, a green room for actors, an improved sound booth and handicap accessibility. 

What’s the buzz: The 2016 season offers something for everyone. The center will present 10 main stage theatrical productions, including “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” and the holiday hit musical “Scrooge.” Ten full productions are planned for the 2016 season in the newly renovated Black Box Theater, including “The Belle of Amherst,” “Driving Miss Daisy” and one-act plays by Glaspell & Shaw. The center will present more than 40 concerts and special events, including perennial favorites such as the annual “Poetry and Chili Fest” and “Art and Souls Masquerade Ball.” The local arts community will be invited to participate in several open juried exhibitions throughout the year, including an international juried photography exhibition juried by renowned photographer Rowland Scherman.

Hot summer offerings: “Oklahoma!” (July 7-31), the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic musical; “NOW: The Songs of Karen Carpenter” (June 9-19), a musical tribute to one of the most iconic singers of all time, presented by Brave Horse Music. Brazen Belles Burlesque Troupe (Aug. 10-13): The burlesque troupe returns, bringing music, dancing, acting, wit, sass, and of course, seduction to our stage. “Wonderland” (Aug. 8-19), a new family musical adaptation written and directed by Holly Erin McCarthy. 

Must-see events: 3rd Annual Kentucky Derby Gala, May 7; fourth annual Americana Hootenanny, Sept. 10; second annual Brazilian Cultural Festival, Sept. 17; Wine & Music Wednesday, (third Wednesdays of every month), gallery exhibits, wine tastings and live music. 

Special celebrations and fundraisers: “Entertainment Tonight!” (July 12), the center’s annual fundraiser—great food and great entertainment! The 16th Annual Art & Souls Masquerade Ball (Oct. 29), featuring great music, bone-chilling refreshments and costume prizes. 

4404 Falmouth Road, Cotuit  l 508-428-0669

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