The Vineyard Playhouse is extending its season through September with a limited run of Robert Brustein’s new play The English Channel, a comic and provocative imagining of William Shakespeare’s coming of age as a playwright.

The year is 1593. The plague has closed Elizabethan playhouses, and Shakespeare is taking refuge in the Mermaid Tavern, writing sonnets. The playwright is tangled up in sexual, artistic and political intrigue with other young Elizabethan men and women — poet and rival Christopher Marlowe; Emilia, the mysterious Dark Lady; and Shakespeare’s patron, the Earl of Southampton.

The show opened yesterday in Boston. It moves to The Vineyard Playhouse on Wednesday, Sept. 19, and runs through Sept. 29 on the stage at Church street in downtown Vineyard Haven.

The English Channel received a reading at The Vineyard Playhouse last summer as part of the Monday Night Special series. Playhouse artistic director and producer M.J. Bruder Munafo is thrilled to welcome The English Channel back as a fully staged production.

Directed by Wesley Savick, the show’s cast includes Sean Dugan as Christopher Marlowe, Gabriel Field as William Shakepeare, Merritt Janson as Emilia Lanier, and Alex Pollock as Southhampton. The production will feature set design by Richard Chambers, costume design by Seth Bodie, and lighting design by John Malinowski.

Theatre luminary Robert Brustein is an honorary board member at the Vineyard Playhouse where recent productions of his work include last year’s successful production of Spring Forward, Fall Back. Mr. Brustein is joining Suffolk’s faculty as distinguished scholar in residence. He is the founding director of both the Yale Repertory and American Repertory Theatres, where he supervised over 200 productions. His plays include Nobody Dies on Friday, Demons, and adaptations of such classics as Six Characters in Search of an Author, The Wild Duck, and The Master Builder.

Tickets for The English Channel are $30. Student and Senior tickets are $25 and rush tickets are available 10 minutes prior to curtain

Show times are Sept. 19, 20, 26 and 27 at 7 p.m. and Sept. 22, 28 and 29 at 8 p.m. There will be no show on Friday, Sept. 21, in observance of Yom Kippur.

For ticket reservations or more information, call the playhouse box office at 508-696-6300 or visit