Shakespeare with a scenic backdrop on Martha’s Vineyard

From left: Feste (May V. Oskan), Sir Toby (Christopher Roberts), and Sir Andrew (Paul Padua) play late-night games in last year's summer production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." — File photo by Meg Higgins

On July 17, The Vineyard Playhouse will open their popular Shakespeare-Out-Of-Doors season with a production of “Henry IV,” directed by Scott Barrow.

Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 5 pm at the scenic Tisbury Amphitheater near the Tashmoo overlook in Vineyard Haven. Theater-goers can leave their tuxedos at home, and instead recline in their own lawn chair or blankets in the grass. Bench-style seating is also provided at the amphitheater. The relaxed atmosphere makes Shakespeare-Out-Of-Doors a fantastic setting for families to expose their children to the classic works of The Bard, all while enjoying a picnic dinner.

This summer’s presentation of “Henry IV” will star Chelsea McCarthy as King Henry IV, Jonah Lipsky as Prince Hal, Mac Young as Hotspur, and Paul Padua as the hysterically loathsome Falstaff.

The play, which eventually amalgamates to The Battle of Shrewsbury, is a story of rebellions. King Henry IV’s throne is increasingly threatened by the political rebellion led by Hotspur, son of the Percy family. Meanwhile, Henry IV’s own son, Hal, shrugs of his royal obligations to cavort in taverns with Falstaff and the Eastcheap gang. Eventually, loyalties must be decided at Shrewsbury, and the actions of the two sons Hal and Hotspur will determine the fate of the English throne.

“Henry IV” runs from July 17 until August 17. Tickets are available at the door, cash only. $20 for adults; $10 for youths under 25. Performances are canceled only if there is a thunderstorm or a downpour at show time. For more information, visit or call 508-696-6300.