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Service alert Open

All Middlesex County buildings will remain closed to the general public until further notice due to COVID-19. Only select County services are available on an appointment basis.
Johnson and Donaldson Parks are open with limited services and amenities. For more information, click here.


Frequently Asked Questions about Plays-in-the-Park

FAQs for our 2021 Summer Season

How much are tickets?
Admission is FREE all summer long.

What will seating look like?/Do I need to get tickets in advance?
Seating practices are going to be the SAME as pre-COVID, meaning doors will open at 5:30pm for chairs to be set up and the show will start at 8:00pm. Patrons still bring their own chairs with a back NO HIGHER THAN 40 inches (ex: folding chairs, soccer chairs, etc.). There will be no tickets sold in advance.

Will there be rain dates?
The first two shows America the Beautiful, and Rock Roll & Soul will only have ONE performance each, Friday, July 2nd, and Friday July 23rd respectively. The third show Showtune will have three performances Friday, August 13th, Saturday, August 14th, and Sunday August 15th . There will be NO RAIN DATES.

Will accessible seating/accommodations still be available?
Yes! There are still two sections, one on each side of the stage for accessible seating. You can come on the night of the show and we will ensure that you are accommodated, or you may call Diane at 732-548-2884, ext. 225 with any questions or to arrange any accommodations you may need.

Have a question about the Summer Shows at Plays-in-the-Park? Check out this list - If you have a question that is not answered below, please feel free to call the theater at 732-548-2884.​

If I want really good seats, what time should I arrive?
Our box office opens at 5:30 pm and that's when gates will be opened to let folks in to the lawn area to put down their chairs. A lot of factors figure into how early the line begins to form, and how long it might get: the weather report, the day of the week, and the type of show. It is hard to generalize, BUT a blockbuster family musical such as WIZARD OF OZ, on a sunny Friday with no predication of rain, will most likely find a line forming about 2 p.m. in the afternoon, often building to about 200 patrons by the time we open the gates. This is the first rush, and these early birds take up the first several rows. Then, over the next few hours until 8:00 p.m., there will be flurries of activity. But please keep in mind we comfortably seat 2000, so there are still plenty of spaces. You DO NOT have to show up this early. It is a rare occasion indeed for us to turn anyone away, and more often than not it is because there are no more parking spaces.

On a night where there is a chance of isolated thunderstorms (which is just about every night it seems), the line will form about 4 pm and will reach 100 or so by 5:30 pm. So plan accordingly, but keep in mind that there are great seats throughout the arena so no need to rush to be here by the gate opening at 5:30 pm.

Do I have to bring my own chairs, and what kind should I bring?
Yes, we provide the lawn - you provide the seats! We have found that standard woven-plastic lawn chairs, or the resin one-piece chairs, or canvas chairs in carry bags are acceptable as long as THE BACK IS NO HIGHER THAN 40". If you do arrive with a chair higher than 40" we will have to ask you to sit in the area to the side, referred to as "the berm". When you accommodate as many as we do, there is a need to be specific as to the type of chairs allowed. If your seats are too tall, then the people behind you won't be able to see; and if you bring a blanket or a seat that is too low, you won't be able to see. Below are examples of the types of acceptable chairs:
Will you cancel the show if it's raining?
This is the magic question. We at the theater never wish to cancel, and will wait until the last possible minute, but there are a number of factors to consider. Even a light mist can ruin sound and lighting equipment, as well as the musician's instruments. Heavy downpours are dangerous to fleeing patrons and actors who could slip on the wet stage. It takes approximately 45 minutes of clear skies to dry out equipment and set up the orchestra, so if time does not allow for that delay, we will have to cancel the show. Generally, if it is raining at 8 pm, we will cancel. If it is drizzling before 8 pm, but stops at 8 pm, we'll move forward.

Bottom line --- we simply cannot predict the weather. If you are concerned about the weather, it may ee better to schedule your visit when clear skies are predicted.

Do you have any matinees?
We do not. As an outdoor theater we need to wait until it is dark in order for our lighting to be effective.

Can I get tickets in advance?
No, tickets are sold on the day of the performance only, beginning at 5:30 pm, at which time you may buy your ticket(s) and place your lawn seat(s) in the seating area. You can then leave ---- after getting your hand stamped --- and have dinner. We ask tat you return before curtain time of 8:00 pm.

Where exactly is the Box Office?
It is located just a dozen or so yards from the theater. As you approach PIP from Grandview Avenue and Pine Drive, the Park Rangers will guide you where to park your car (parking is free) and you will then see the two paths that lead to the box office. (This is where patrons arriving early queue up.)

What payment methods do you accept?
We accept cash, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover credit cards at the Box Office. Click here to view our Box Office policies.

Can I buy several tickets for people who are coming late?
Yes, as long as you have a ticket for every chair, and can carry all those chairs. You cannot save spaces without placing down a chair.

Can I bring pets?
Pets are not allowed within the gates unless for assistance.

Can I bring food and/or coolers?
Yes, there are picnic tables available. we ask all patrons to clean up the area after eating. We also have concession stands and Plays-in-the-Park is within walking distance from diners, pizzerias and the Menlo Park Mall. Alcohol is prohibitied at the theater.

Can I leave a ticket at the box office for people to pick up?
Unfortunately, we cannot hold tickets.

Why is the lawn blocked off for parking?
Sometimes after a good soaking from a summer rain, the parking area turns to mud and we have had cars get stuck. When possible, we will re-route you to enter at higher ground. Did you also know there is a paved parking area directly across from the theater?

Can you please clarify the "entering" and "exiting" gates?
On crowded nights it is important for us to maintain a flow of patrons getting safely in and out of the lawn area. By designating certain gates as entrances and others as exits, it makes this job easier. This gate set-up also helps us identify folks who have not yet purchased tickets and thus do not have rights to enter.

What do I do if the handicapped parking lot is filled --- may I drop people off?
Absolutely. Just mention this to the Park Rangers who are directing traffic.

Is there a wheelchair section and how does it work?
There are actually 4 sections for people with special needs -- not only wheelchairs. Ample special needs seating is available down in front to the right and left of the center seating areas and in four smaller sections integrated throughout the center section. These sections are clearly marked by signage, green partitions and blue paint. We no longer require reservations for our handicap seating, but patrons requiring assistance due to a disability are welcome to contact Margaret Davis at 732-548-2884 extension 222. More information about the Accessibility Services at Plays-in-the-Park can be found here.

Disability services include *Sign Language Interpretation, Audio Description, Open Captioning, Accessible Parking and Barrier-free access to seating, rest rooms, box office and parking areas. We also offer Large Print and Braille programs.

Can you clarify the Rain Check Ticket Stub policy?
Should it rain during a performance, we may need to cancel the show for the safety of the audience, actors, technicians, and musicians. However, if you save your ticket stub, you may use it to attend any future summer performance up to a year later at no additional charge. You do not have to wait in the ticket buyer's line; There will be a special window or table set up where you can immediately exchange your stub for a new ticket on the night you decide to revisit us. The rain check line will open 3 minutes after the Box Office opens. There is only one chair allowed for each rain check ticket stub. The stub is only good for the summer shows. They are not valid for the children's musicals or "JOSEPH".

Click here for offical rainout dates.
Are there Senior Discounts?
Yes indeed! Regular admission price is $7.00; seniors 60 years of age and older are admitted for $5.00

Why are there reserved metal chairs out on the center section when I arrive at 5:30 p.m.?
Our actors and backstage staff are all volunteers. We do not offer them complimentary tickets, but we do set aside 40 spaces on the lawn for cast and crew use.

What is that elevated table up against the booth at the top of the hill?
This is where we monitor and control the sound.  We moved it from the middle of the hill to provide more seating and to give us a better vantage point to work from.  By the way, talking should be kept at a minimum at the top of the hill so that the engineers can hear properly.

Can I enter after the Box Office closes?
Why in the world would you want to? You've missed part of the show and seating will be so limited! But yes, if you need to, be our guest.

Where, and for that matter what, is the berm?
On the house left side of the grassy knoll seating area there is a new, elevated grassy area, which is called a "berm". This area is designated for people without chairs, chairs that are too tall or too short, or folks with balnkets.

Still have a question? Please call the theater at 732-548-2884.

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Stephen J. Capestro Theater
1 Pine Drive, Edison, NJ 08837
Mailing Address:
PO Box 661, New Brunswick, NJ 08903
Phone - (732) 548-2884
Fax - (732) 548-1484
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