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Hurry! Hurry! Step Right Up and Get Your Tickets! The 2024 Summer Entertainment Preview

by Steve Desroches

Look at a photo of Provincetown from the 1800s and chances are you’ll know exactly where in town it is. Provincetown is definitely one of those “the more things change the more they stay the same” kind of towns. True, Provincetown has indeed changed in big ways, but the town is at its best when it balances tradition and innovation. And if you took a magnifying glass to one of those old photos, chances are you might see someone barking for their show…for real. Provincetown has long been home to an old-fashioned seaside boardwalk-style performance legacy that continually presents everything from the cutting edge to classic favorites. In the present, it’s reminiscent of the vaudeville tradition with a dash of Coney Island thrown in peppered with Broadway, LGBTQ culture, cabaret, and sometimes, the downright bizarre and wild. For decades performers of all stripes say that the performance scene here in Provincetown, and the robust support from audiences, is a rarity in this world. Every time you buy a ticket for a show in Provincetown you are helping to keep the vibrant cultural legacy alive and thriving. 

Each Memorial Day weekend we here at Provincetown Magazine present a preview highlighting who and what is coming this summer season. As the unofficial start of the summer, the holiday weekend kicks off the season with two shows at Town Hall; Rufus Wainwright, our cover story, and Rachel Maddow, who we’ve been trying for years to talk to (Rachel, if you see this, drop us a line!) But here’s a sneak peek of what else is coming to the Cape tip this summer!


While Provincetown Town Hall is of course the home to the town’s government and to democracy in action with town meetings, the beautiful, historic auditorium is also our Carnegie Hall. The largest venue in town, seating a little over 700 its stage has been host to everyone from the Village People to Debbie Harry to Patti LuPone to Bea Arthur. Producers and venues all across town are utilizing the space to its fullest extent with a season of powerhouse performers. The Provincetown Business Guild is presenting its annual Queer Comedy Showcase (June 1) this Pride, featuring Kristen Becker, Akeem Woods, Kia Barnes, Zach Zimmerman, and headliner Jes Tom. The guys from the Post Office Café and Cabaret and Tin Pan Alley are spreading out with Town Hall takeovers starting with Betty Buckley (June 23) and Darren Criss (July 21), each accompanied by John McDaniel, as well as local musical dynamo Mike Flanagan (July 18) making his grand stage debut Bear Week with a host of musical guests. Also popping by for the big and burly extravaganza is RuPauls Drag Race sweetheart Nina West (July 17).

Mark Cortale, the producer and artistic director who put the Art House on the map, is moving on to solely presenting shows at Town Hall as well as Broadway, where he just earned his first production credit with the Tony-nominated The Days of Wines and Roses. And he has quite a season planned for Provincetown with star of The Gilded Age and Company Claybourne Elder (July 7), drag superstar Jinkx Monsoon (July 14), Broadway legend Audra McDonald with pianist and host Seth Rudetsky (August 4), the hilarious insult comedy of Bianca Del Rio (August 18), the fabulous Marilyn Maye (August 25), and the incomparable Indigo Girls (September 1).

Kathy Griffin

Payomet Center for the Performing Arts over in North Truro comes to Provincetown presenting John Waters (July 25) with his new show Devils Advocate, which “uses humor as terrorism, wit as ammunition” as he takes on the “self-righteousness of the left” and “the intolerance of the right.” Performance artist and MacArthur Fellow Taylor Mac (August 9) will offer a night not to miss, as will the always amazing Paula Poundstone (August 10), followed by the bust-a-gut funny stand-up comic Matteo Lane (August 30 – 31). And speaking of big laughs, Pilgrim House presents Kathy Griffin (August 24) to close out Carnival Week just a few days after the PBG presents Sapphira Cristál and Qya Cristál (August 21) in a drag mother/daughter reunion.


The PBG offers a trifecta of fabulous grand marshals for this year’s Carnival Parade. With the theme Renaissance + Revolution, the 46th annual Carnival will honor Massachusetts State Representative Sarah Peake, RuPauls Drag Race season 16 superstar Sapphira Cristál, and New York City nightlife legend Kevin Aviance as grand marshals for the parade on Thursday, August 22. 

Peake, a Democrat who has represented the Fourth Barnstable District, stretching from Harwich to Provincetown, for 18 years, announced earlier this year that she would not seek another term. Peake has been a consistent voice on Beacon Hill for LGBTQ and reproductive rights as well as the environment, fishing and agriculture in the district, and affordable housing. Peake also worked hard to dispel the myth that the Cape is just “a playground for the rich with small needs.” 

Sapphira Cristál, a former Provincetown resident, stole the hearts of drag fans as the runner-up on the most recent season of RuPauls Drag Race as well as tying for Miss Congeniality. Cristál is also the drag mother of Provincetown’s own Qya Cristál.

Kevin Aviance, former host of the variety show Auditions at the Crown & Anchor some years back, is a member of the legendary House of Aviance and an icon of New York City queer culture and nightlife. As a drag queen, musician, fashion designer, and nightlife personality Aviance continues to be a driving cultural influencer. Aviance will headline the official Carnival closing party, as well. 


The dunes are alive with the sound of music! Science shows that while attending a concert audience members’ hearts beat faster or slower depending on the music and in synchronization with each other. Perhaps that’s what makes going to see live music such a fulfilling and community-building experience. The beloved Sunset Music Series at Herring Cove Beach is evidence of that phenomenon. Presented every Wednesday throughout the summer by Far Land on the Beach and the Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore, the free concerts begin with Zoe Lewis & the Souvenirs (June 19) and the season includes Sarah Swain & the Oh Boys (July 3), The Grab Brothers (July 10), The Sarah Burrill Band (July 31), Donnelly & Richardson (August 7), and close with the Rip It Ups (August 28).

The Crown & Anchor continues to be a musical hot spot with a diverse array of live music options. Every Monday night the Crown presents Broadway at the Beach poolside, hosted by Brittany Rolfs and Marissa Miller with an ever-rotating roster of guest talent. Rolfs, a rising star to watch, is also performing Fridays at the Provincetown Brewing Company with the Bearded Mistress Sings (June 7- 21) and Tuesdays at the Crown and Thursdays at the Gifford House all summer in their respective piano bars. Rolfs will also appear in the mystical cabaret The Green Fairy also starring João Santos and Andrew Sheranian at the Crown, which is also home to Santos’ new show every Tuesday, Its Not John (June 18 – September 17). Musical force Todd Alsup is double dipping with Elton Undressed (June 12 – September 11), a musical homage to Elton John, on Wednesdays as well as his brand new show each Thursday, Donna, Disco & Us (June 20 – September 12), in which he tackles the Donna Summer songbook as well as the special role disco played in LGBTQ rights. Singer-songwriter Matthew Darren (July 17, 19, 24, 26) swings into town for Bear Week and beyond, and while known as a rising drag talent, Jizzelle presents a decidedly rock-and-roll extravaganza with the all-live singing She Will Rock You (June 18 – September 17) every Tuesday late night. The fabulous Hilarie Tamar goes back to the glory days of the 1960s girl groups with Be My Baby (June 16 – September 8) every Sunday evening. And of course the funny and talented Jon Richardson will be tickling the ivories all season long in the Dive Bar.

Mike Flanagan

Tin Pan Alley once again offers a season full of piano bar music and sing-alongs while their sibiling venue, the Post Office Café and Cabaret presents nightly musical events like Billy Hough and Darlene Van Alstyne every Monday and Mike Flanagan leading a jazz trio on Thursdays. Upstairs at the Post Office life is indeed a cabaret with Kim David Smith (June 1) and his Marlene Dietrich-inspired show and later with Kim Sings Kylie (August 17), vocal powerhouse Sheree Marcelle (June 25 – September 4), Anne Steele (July 5), string duo Branden & James (July 12 – 13), Billy Stritch and Nicolas King (August 9 – 10), Jonah Hill (August 16), the feminist, queer rock icon Bitch (June 26 – September 4) and throughout the summer John McDaniel hosts a Broadway series featuring Kate Baldwin (June 28 – 29), Sam Gravitte (July 6), Alice Ripley (July 19 – 20), Mary Callanan (July 23), Nicholas Rodriguez (July 26 – 27), and Liz Callaway (August 30 -31). Broadway star James Jackson Jr. (August 2 – 3) performs a one-man show in late summer, following a special Juneteenth show at the Gifford House on June 16 in which he focuses on the history of Black entertainers in Provincetown. And Lee Roy Reams finishes up summer with Uncensored (September 2), a tell-all show about his Broadway life.

Pilgrim House has an interesting lineup this season with singing sensation Drew Sebastian (May 29 – September 14) who regales with tales of his life that has taken him everywhere from the stages of Dollywood to gay porn. Returning to Provincetown is Debby Holiday (July 2 – 10) with her dynamic Tina Turner tribute show, and in the realm of honoring musical icons Elvis: Now or Never (July 22 – July 31), George Michael Reborn (August 1 – 10), and The Epic Freddie Mercury (August 16 – August 24) all present the works of rock and roll legends. Red Room brings in several musical talents this season including Kyle Motsinger (August 8), Edmund Bagnell (August 9 and 11) of Well-Strung fame, Zoe Lewis and the Bootleggers (July 26 and August 16) and David Raleigh (August 19).

Just down Commercial Street at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) Bart Weisman presents his annual Summer Jazz Series (July 9 – August 27) and also he brings the Provincetown Jazz Festival (August 13) to the museum. And in other annual musical events Provincetown CabaretFest (June 3 – 9) celebrates ※the golden era of night clubs” with numerous featured performers including Charles Evans, Lisa Kantor, Pamela Enders, and Brian De Lorenzo. John Thomas brings his long-running Great Music on Sundays @ 5 (June 23 – September 15) series back to the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House. And over at the Provincetown Brewing Company they’ll welcome the indie-rock-blues bands The Stripers (July 3). Just down Route 6 the tent at the Payomet Performing Arts Center is getting ready to host a diverse roster of musical acts including Ukrainian folk quartet DakhaBrakha (June 30), Los Lobos (July 14), Ruthie Foster (August 1), Rosanne Cash with John Leventhal (August 12 – 13), Judy Collins (August 19),   and Donavan Frankenreiter (August 24).

Further up in Wellfleet, the Beachcomber never disappoints with summer concerts, including Pink Talking Fish (July 3 – 4), the Boston Naturals (July 6), John Browns Body (July 27), The Mammoths (August 9), and Mo Lowda and The Humble (August 15).


Provincetown is arguably one of the top drag performance capitals of the country, if not the world. And this summer Provincetown is bursting at its glittery seams with drag. It’s clear from both the sheer number of drag shows booked, and also from ticket sales, that drag remains the most popular form of entertainment in Provincetown. While it’s easy to take it for granted here, drag performance is actually hard to find outside of big cities which, combined with Provincetown’s long, long drag legacy, might explain its continued cultural dominance here. Plus, the shows are top-notch considering how competitive it is to get a gig here. 

In the Crown & Anchor’s Paramount room three headliners will present summer-long runs, the spectacularly ingenious Dina Martina (May 31 – September 14), Varla Jean Merman with The Errors Tour (June 14 – September 13), and to show that she is indeed strong enough while fighting cancer, it’s Thirsty Burlington with Cher 1987 (June 18 – September 17). The absolutely beautiful Cabaret Room is taken over this summer by Diva! (June 20 – September 17), the high-energy, all-live singing drag revue starring Qya Cristál, Roxy Pops, and Delta Miles. And Miles is flying solo with her brand-new show Judy Garland Live! (June 19 – September 18). And in the Wave Bar RuPauls Drag Race standout Tina Burner returns with her new show Scene Queen (May 24 – September 10). 

Sutton Lee Seymour

Over at the crimson cabaret that is Red Room, this summer features the drag-infused The Golden Games: A Golden Gays Musical Game Show (May 31 – July 19), Sutton Lee Seymour with Broadway Barbie (June 14 – August 29), the fabulously off-beat Tammie Brown (June 26 – September 8), the dance dynamo Edie with Queen of the Desert (June 29 – September 7), Evita Loca (July 4 – 7) in her Provincetown debut, the wickedly funny Jackie Beat (July 16 – 20), Beatrix Eglantine Aurthurson in B.E.A. Arthur is Judging You (August 12 – 13), Chelsea Piers (August 13 -17), Gaycation with Jackie Cox and Jan (August 23 – 25), Cacophony Daniels (August 30), and the legend herself Joey Arias (August 30 – September 1). Down at Pilgrim House Hedda Lettuce (July 14 – 16) returns to town after a 15-year hiatus, the hardest working queen in show business, Miss Conception returns with her new cinematic romp Miss Conception Goes to the Movies (May 24 – September 14) and the one and only Miss Richfield 1981 with Phony Baloney (May 25 – September 14). There are numerous special deliveries at the Post Office Cabaret  with the classic-drag revue Illusions (May 24 – September 20) starring Lakia Mondale, Kira Stone, Payton St. James, and Billie Jean, the Anita Cocktail Variety Hour (May 25 – October 12), the showbiz spitfire Paige Turner with The Wonderful World of Drag (May 24 – August 26), and special Carnival Week appearances by none other than Flotilla DeBarge (August 23) and Ruby Dickulous (August 24). Closing out summer is Electra with I Did It Their Way (September 5 – 15). The Governor Bradford’s entries in the drag game are Dana Danzel and her Dragalicious Karoake all summer, as well as Dinner Divas (June 7 – September 6) every Friday, featuring Anita Cocktail, Raquel Blake, and Abby Cummings

The Art House is now being programmed by the Producer Entertainment Group (PEG), an artist management company that represents drag queens and other LGBTQ talent, in partnership with RuPauls Drag Race alum Ginger Minj, who will kick off the season with drag pal Gidget Galore with BroadsWay 2: Electric Boobaloo (June 22 – September 14). The Art House is drag-action-packed all season, featuring Salina EsTitties (July 3 -6), Kelly Mantle (July 19 – 20), Rosé (July 24 – 27), Miz Cracker (July 24 – August 3), Big Wigs with Mrs. Kasha Davis and Aggy Dune (July 31 – August 3), Plasma (August 14 – 17), Lagoona Bloo (August 14  – 17), and Alaska Thunderf—k (August 21- 22) with more announcements coming! 



Home to all things wild and wacky, the Provincetown institution Showgirls will be at Pilgrim House Mondays in June while it continues to search for a permanent home. And speaking of the delightfully hard to categorize, Helltown Burlesque (June 1 – October 26) presented by Spookey, takes audiences on ※a vaudeville journey with a sexy, modern twist” with singing, dancing, drag, pole dancing, and aerial and circus acrobatics, and more at the Post Office Cabaret.


The 26th annual Provincetown International Film Festival (June 12 – 16) presents hundreds of films from all around the world. This year’s Filmmaker on the Edge Award goes to Andrew Haigh. Haigh will be in conversation with John Waters at Town Hall on June 15. The English writer/director is best known for Weekend, 45 Years, Lean On Pete, and most recently All Of Us Strangers, starring Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal. Haigh also wrote and produced the HBO series Looking. The Excellence in Acting Award goes to Colman Domingo, who most recently starred as Civil Rights leader Bayard Rustin in Rustin and in The Color Purple. This year he received Oscar, BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe, and Critics Choice Award nominations for his portrayal of Rustin. Domingo will receive the award and be in conversation with Academy-Award-nominated film producer Christine Vachon at the Crown & Anchor (June 13). The festival includes various screenings, parties, and conversations at various other venues in town, as well.


In this day and age we all need a good laugh. And when it comes to comedy, the Outer Cape offers everything from the drôle to the hilarious to the raunchy. Local bon vivant and all-around funny guy Bob Keary hosts Good Night Provincetown with Bob Keary  (May 27, June 17, September 23, and October 28), a Johnny Carsonesque live talk show at the Post Office Cabaret. Emmy-winning comic and Provincetown favorite Judy Gold (June 13 – September 8) returns to the Post Office as does the latest incarnation of comedic playwright Jamie Morris Schartt$ Creek 3. Ew! (June 9 – September 29) and his brand new offering The Devil Wear Payless (June 18 – September 27). And in a tale that may strike a chord in Provincetown it’s Grindr Help Desk: The Musical (May 26 – September 5), created by David Sullivan and directed by Kate Pazakis, all about poor Candice, an aspiring drag queen who works Grindr customer service to make ends meet. 

Jai Rodriguez

The Gifford House welcomes NPR’s Ari Shapiro to their performance space, The Wilde, where he’ll present an evening of music, stories, and laughter with Thank You For Listening (June 28 – 29). Out at the Payomet Performing Arts Center in North Truro the tent will surely sell out for Garrison Keillor Tonight (August 6) with the legendary storyteller presenting a night of stand-up, audience song, and poetry like only he can. The Art House is bringing in original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy cast member Jai Rodriquez (June 26 – 29) for a night of music and storytelling, as well as writer, actor, and star of the groundbreaking comedy series Special, Ryan OConnell (July 12). And over at Red Room get ready to bust a gut with Sister Marys Playtime (July 12 – 28), a comedy show from London about a nun who might be the love child of Elaine Paige and battles the blues with showtunes and off-color jokes. Little House on the Prairie star Alison Arngrim, who played the bratty Nellie Oleson, the little girl everyone loved to hate, returns to town with Confessions of a Prairie Bitch (July 12 -14) and crackling stand-up comic Poppy Champlin (July 24 – 27) hits town for Girl Splash.


It’s going to be a glam rock summer for sure with the Provincetown Theater presenting a 50th anniversary production of  The Rocky Horror Show (July 15 – September 5) and the Peregrine Theatre Ensemble returning to Fisherman Hall with John Cameron Mitchell’s masterpiece Hedwig and the Angry Inch (July 5 – August 31). The Theater prepares for Rocky Horror by hosting its annual 4-Star Solo Show Festival with Cody Sullivan in Town Meeting (June 6 – 8), Mitchell Anderson in You Better Call Your Mother (June 13 – 15), Tanya ODebra in Radio Star (June 20 -22), and Phoebe Potts in Too Fat For China (June 27 – 29). And across town Sullivan revives his wildly successful night of theater-by-the-seat-of-his pants in The Wilde at the Gifford House with Cody Plays (June 17 – September 2), in which he and a rotating cast of guest artists create and perform a play in a day every Monday night.

With a totally different vibe and scene the town of Wellfleet has a variety of options for entertainment, with especially good theatrical offering with both the Harbor Stage Company and Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater (WHAT).  The Harbor Stage kicks off the season with Harold Pinter’s Betrayal (June 13 – July 6), an adaptation of the film My Dinner With Andre (July 11 – August 3), and finishes up with a regional premiere of Westminster (August 8 – September 1) by Harbor Stage member Brenda Withers. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, WHAT’s season includes Smart (June 8 – 23) by Mary Elizabeth Hamilton, Reefer Madness: The Musical by Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney (July 5 – 27), Summer, 1976 (August 9 – 31) by David Auburn, and the world premiere of Liberty Talks! (September 14 – October 6) by Fermin Rojas.


Provincetown is fabulous on any given day in the summer, but the various theme weeks and special events give an extra boost to the ongoing seasonal celebration. Here’s a rundown of what is happening and when.

Womxn of Color Weekend May 30 – June 2
Provincetown Pride May 31 – June 2
CabaretFest June 3 – 9
Provincetown International Film Festival June 12 – 16
Frolic: Men of Color Weekend June 13 – 17
Provincetown Portuguese Festival June 27 – 30
Revolution: Independence Week June 29 – July 6
Bear Week July 13 – 20
Girl Splash July 24 – 27
Family Week July 27 – August 3
Carnival Week August 17 – 24
Carnival Parade August 22
Swim for Life & Paddler Flotilla Weekend September 6 – 8



THE ART HOUSE ( 214 Commercial St.
THE CROWN & ANCHOR ( 247 Commercial St.
FISHERMAN HALL ( 12 Winslow St.
GIFFORD HOUSE ( 9 Carver St.
GOVERNOR BRADFORD ( 312 Commercial St.
MARK CORTALE at TOWN HALL ( 260 Commercial St.
PILGRIM HOUSE ( 336 Commercial St.
THE POST OFFICE CABARET ( 303 Commercial St.
RED ROOM ( 259 Commercial St.




THE BEACHCOMBER ( 1120 Cahoon Hollow Rd.

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Ginger Mountain (MS Communications Media, BA Fine Arts/Teaching Certification K-12) has been part of the graphic design team at Provincetown Magazine since 2008. Ginger has worked as a creative director, individual contractor, and freelance designer with clients representing many areas —business software, consumer products, professional services, entertainment, and network hardware to name just a few — providing creative layout and development of a wide range of print media content. Her clients ranged from small local businesses to large corporations and Fortune 500 companies, from New Hampshire to Georgia

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