Winter is gloves and homburg
Winter is cold cement
Summer is Sigmund Romberg
In a music tent …

It doesn’t have to be a tent; it could be an old opera house or high school or barn theater or under the stars. And these days it isn’t often Sigmund Romberg, though more’s the pity. But around this time of year, during intermission at the last performance of the last production of the summer festival, I find Sheldon Harnick’s wistful quatrain jingling somewhere in the back of my head. Summer is when theater redeems itself, gingerly venturing out from its urban bunkers and briefly renewing its ties with the vast mass of non-playgoing Americans. Certainly, playgoing is more pleasurable: I’d much rather be at the New London Barn Theatre, New Hampshire, or the al fresco stage at the Mount, Edith Wharton’s manse in the Berkshires, than at the polar...

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