Summer is in full swing on stages in and around Boston now including two classic musicals, and a trip on the Neverland!

North Shore Music Theatre opens its season with FUNNY GIRL the 1963 musical starring Barbra Streisand who went on to win an Oscar for her performance in the 1968 film version. I mention Streisand because of her indelible mark on the role and the enormity of the shoes the star of THIS production needs to fill. But Broadway veteran Shoshana Bean fearlessly tackles “The Greatest Star” and becomes her own Funny Girl! I know Babs’ every inflection and no one rains on Bean’s parade. Shoshana gave every song and line a new spin and absolutely made it her own.

The musical is based on the life of Ziegfeld star Fanny Brice who was a hit on the stage, but suffered privately through a rocky marriage to the handsome gambler Nick Arnstein played by the charismatic Bradley Dean. Ms. Bean is more attractive than the running jokes would indicate, and has a voice that shines most in the tender ballads. The supporting cast is first rate along with an excellent live orchestra, lovely sets, and costumes and nimbly directed in a venue without a bad seat in house! See this at Bill Hanney’s  NORTH SHORE MUSIC THEATRE through June 19!

And “June is Bustin’ Out All Over” in Waltham as CAROUSEL opens REAGLE MUSIC THEATRE of GREATER BOSTON’s 48th consecutive summer season! This dark Rodgers and Hammerstein classic (the very first production ever mounted by Reagle!) stars Elliot Norton Award winner Jennifer Ellis as Julie Jordan who marries troubled carnival barker Billy Bigelow (Ciaran Sheehan) who takes her for a ride.

The gorgeous leads have chemistry to spare and soaring voices, as does this vibrant supporting cast who include the divine Leigh Barrett as Nettie Fowler who really knows how to throw a clambake, and later breaks your heart with the aching classic “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” The sparkling Jessica Kundla brings a rich vibrant soprano to her role as Julie’s best friend Carrie Pipperidge who will marry Mr. Snow– and how.

Sets, costumes, choreography and huge cast are fresh and first rate! Congrats Mr. Robert J. Eagle for keeping theater alive in the burbs for 48 successful years. See CAROUSEL through June 19!

Meanwhile back in Boston at the Lyric Stage Company it’s PETER AND THE STAR CATCHER a prequel to Peter Pan whose first rip-roaring adventure is sparked by a girl named Molly. She’s sworn to protect a treasure chest full of stardust lest its powers fall into the wrong hands (like Donald Trump’s, let’s say; actually the play says, and I concur.) The star dust is accompanied by a cast star-studded with local favorites: Erica Spyres and Marc Pierre as Molly and Peter, a super-supercilious Ed Hoopman as Black Stache the Pirate Captain, Will McGarrahan as flighty Mrs. Bumbrake, Damon Singletary as the oh-so-proper Lord Singletary, Robert Saoud as Captain Scott– all directed by the king of curtain speeches Lyric Artistic Director Spiro Veloudos.

The show means to be side splitting and is robustly directed, but should land more lightly on its feet lest we trip over every joke and aside– and there are jokes from stem to stern. Beware the time, 2 hours and 30 minutes, but the kids should enjoy the double- hulled wooden set by Janie E. Howland, boisterous dance and fight numbers (Ilyse Robbins and J.T. Turner) and the non-stop cast and musical crew led by conductor veteran Catherine Stornetta who give it their all. Through June 25 with a FREE FUN FRIDAY PERFORMANCE on FRIDAY  JUNE 24th!! (see below!)

 Event Details:

 Who: the Lyric Stage, through partnership with the Highland Street Foundation

What:    Visitors will be provided free admission to the FRIDAY JUNE 24th  8pm performance of Peter and the Starcatcher 

               Visitors may take part in tours of the theatre at 1pm and 3pm.

Tickets must be picked up in advance (starting at noon on June 24.) Limited availability.   Maximum 4 tickets per household.  Recommended for ages 10+.

(No children under 5 years old admitted.)

 When:   June 24, 8pm.  Tickets must be picked up in advance.

Tickets will be available starting at NOON on June 24 (not earlier!).

Free tours of the theatre at 1pm and 3pm.

 Where: The Lyric Stage, 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA 02116

               Box Office:   617.585.5678