STONINGTON – The summer of Shakespeare continues, as Opera House Arts presents the Bard’s most caustic and complex comedy, “Measure for Measure,” at Stonington Opera House.

The presentation is part of Opera House Arts’ Shakespeare in Stonington series. “Measure for Measure” opens Thursday and will remain on stage through Aug. 29. Jeffrey Frace directs.

Frace sets this production in the Southern Gothic world of author Flannery O’Connor. Dripping with kudzu and Spanish moss, it takes Shakespeare’s themes and explores the aspects of leadership needed for the health and welfare of our communities.

The production promises to be a madly dark and comic romp through a hothouse of moral choices and decisions.

Many Shakespeare in Stonington veterans have returned for “Measure for Measure,” including Frace, who was featured in last summer’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and has previously directed “Romeo and Juliet” (2003), “Hamlet” (2005), “As You Like It” (2006) and “Macbeth” (2008) for the Shakespeare in Stonington series.

Frace is an assistant professor of acting, directing and movement at the University of Washington’s Professional Actors’ Training Program in Seattle. He has conducted several residencies for local students on Deer Isle.

Frace has also appeared as an actor in more than 50 professional productions at venues including the Kennedy Center, New York Shakespeare Festival/Delacorte Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Bogota International Theatre Festival, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Chopin Theatre Chicago and La MaMa ETC. He has toured extensively with Anne Bogart’s SITI Company. Along with several of the cast members, he is currently performing with Conni’s Avant Garde Restaurant in New York.

The two stars and director of Opera House Arts’ popular February 2010 drama “Brilliant Traces,” Stephanie Dodd, Tommy Piper and Peter Richards, return for “Measure for Measure,” along with Shakespeare in Stonington veterans Melody Bates, Rachel Murdy and Connie Hall; Pierre-Marc Diennet (“Perdita” and “Bus to Bamako”); and newcomer Dan Matisa.

Live music was an important component of Shakespeare’s original productions, and most of his plays contain references and stage directions for musical interludes.

OHA’s Shakespeare in Stonington series directors Judith Jerome, Julia Whitworth and Frace have always included original musical scoring and performance as a key component of these productions.

This year’s composer is Phillip Owen. Owen grew up in small Texas towns, and has composed music and designed sound for seven years. He has also worked as a performer and designer for the theater company TENT in Portland.

At 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, actor and director Stephen McLaughlin will lead a community reading at the Wooden Boat School in Brooklin. National arts reporter Alicia Anstead will facilitate public readings of the play at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Stonington Public Library and at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Chase-Emerson Memorial Library in Deer Isle.

On Saturday, Anstead will lead a post-show talk-back with Shakespeare scholar Yu Jin Ko, who is a professor of English at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Ko is the author of “Mutability and Division on Shakespeare’s Stage” (2004) as well as numerous articles on Shakespeare in performance. He has just finished editing a book on Shakespearean character, and is working on a book tentatively titled “Shakespeare in Performance: From the Wooden O to the Cineplex.”

Show times and ticket prices vary. Visit www.operahousearts.org or call 367-2788 for details.