From the best nanny to the last Schwartz, Shakespearean lovers to LGBTQ rendez-vous’s–there’s a lot worth your while as you while away these midsummer nights. FIRST, pack a picnic and head down to the heart of Boston to see Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s latest FREE Shakespeare on the common. This is one of their best productions ever! Now until August 7 don’t miss “Love’s Labour’s Lost” with a star-studded cast as luminous as the stars above; they light up the bard’s sophisticated yet accessible and unexpectedly rueful comedy about the games we play in love.

A Spanish king and his comrades make a pact to relinquish the pursuit of women in order to pursue their studies– just before the gorgeous princess of France and her lovely ladies in waiting arrive on the scene. The plot is a jovial chaos of multiple disguises, criss-crossing love letters, and bawdy/latin wordplay (containing Shakespeare’s longest word “honorificabilitudinitatibus”) as these young lovers labour over sex and scholarship, head and heart, lust and true love. The action is a riot of acrobatics, bicycles, songs, and slapstick, topiary like giant chess pieces moving about a whimsical set spontaneously strung with lights for its climactic play within a play. Artistic Director Steven Maler keeps the tone in perfect balance, finding a rich effervescence in this unusual comedy’s light and dark themes. Mirabile dictu– it’s an absolute delight!

This is the last weekend to head up to the North Shore to see MARY POPPINS at Bill Hanney’s North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly. This production in the round has all the trappings–a first rate cast, including a pair of terrific young actors and a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious flying nanny (Kerry Conte whose embrace of the absurd makes her especially lovable) with a crystalline soprano whose every note soars as she flies up and out over the audience!

It’s also the last weekend to check out the New England premiere of THE LAST SCHWARTZ, at Gloucester Stage about a dysfunctional family of Schwartzes who convene in the Catskills to decide what to do with the family manse after the patriarch’s passing. Sibling rivalry is cranked up by drinking, pot smoking, adultery, and a sexy significant other (the brilliant Andrea Goldman) who sets her wandering sights on the odd middle sibling (the superb Paul Melendy) who may be almost blind but has his eye on the stars– and all the action below.

They’re a menagerie who seem too wacky and overdrawn in Act I but come into focus in ACT II when secrets are revealed and we understand what drives this tribe and perhaps all families. As they orbit each other within the unit, they each struggle with issues of legacy, what is of lasting value. Playwright Deborah Zoe Lautner’s vivid characters and hilarious dialogue– a gateway to deeper concerns, coupled with director Paula Plum’s gift for comedy and its more serious underpinnings, allow this superb cast to shine, specific and universal, under a big, full onset moon.

Finally, Company One’s THE T PARTY is a prom in progress– but you don’t need a date. Just arrive ready to party with a swathe of partners along the entire LGBTQIA spectrum, from cis to trans and beyond. Google it. The action started for me in the ladies room when a gaggle of prom-goers crashed in gossiping and primping before the big night, then transitioned out onto the dance floor or, in my case, a seat in the audience. What then follows is a series of episodes, or encounters based on real stories gathered by playwright/director Natsu Onoda Power. These encounters occur between and among characters of all genders, sexes, and orientations who explode merely binary distinctions and explore the exponential promise of completely fluid gender identity and sexual expression.

Given how fast times are changing, the play actually feels a tad dated; most of the scenarios are now familiar, and are aren’t really developed. As a language geek, I did find the issue of pronouns intriguing. (We clearly need more of them.) The best thing about this production is the fact of it, that we see, accept, and celebrate the explosion of options on all fronts. THE T PARTY will be a mindblower for some, disconcerting for others, and somewhat lacking if you’re looking for sustained dramatic impact. Through August 13 at the BCA’s Calderwood Pavilion.