Public Works' THE WINTER'S TALE, Featuring Lindsay Mendez & Christopher Fitzgerald, Begins 9/5

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Public Works' THE WINTER'S TALE, Featuring Lindsay Mendez & Christopher Fitzgerald, Begins 9/5

The Public Theater will begin free performances for the community-based Public Works production of Shakespeare's THE WINTER'S TALE, conceived and directed by Obie Award winner Lear deBessonet, with music and lyrics by Todd Almond, and choreography by Chase Brock on Friday, September 5. This original musical adaption will run for three nights only through Sunday, September 7 at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Free tickets will be distributed, two per person, at 12:00 p.m. on the day of the show at the Delacorte Theater and via the Virtual Ticketing lottery at www.publictheater.org.

Featuring more than 200 New Yorkers from all five boroughs performing alongside professional actors and The Public's community partners, Public Works' THE WINTER'S TALE brings Shakespeare's tale of mystery and magic to life as never before. Featuring Public Works' signature blend of professional actors, community members, and special guests, this musical adaptation will explode with authentic performances that come together to tell Shakespeare's beloved fable of hard-won joy and the promise of renewal.

THE WINTER'S TALE will feature equity actors Todd Almond (Antigonus), Christopher Fitzgerald (Autolycus), Isaiah Johnson (Leontes), Lindsay Mendez (Hermione), and David Turner (Clown), along with Danny Williams as The Bear. The show will feature cameo group performances by Sesame Street, New York Theatre Ballet, DanceBrazil, Rosie's Theater Kids, Shinbone Alley Stilt Band, Staten Island Lions, and Megha Kalia's NYC Bhangra Dance Company. The five Public Works community partner organizations are Children's Aid Society (Manhattan); DreamYard Project (Bronx); Fortune Society (Queens); Brownsville Recreation Center (Brooklyn); and Domestic Workers United (all boroughs, including Staten Island).

"Public Works is about pursuing a fully participatory model of theater. We have people of all ages and backgrounds coming together from across the city to tell this story," said Public Works Director Lear deBessonet. "The project both celebrates the depth of our community partnerships, and also creates the opportunity for us to work with these splendid cameo groups from all over the city - it will be a Winter's Tale with stilt walkers, Bollywood dancers, and cast members ranging from small children to elders, and also one defined by the robustness of the relationships developed over two years of community collaboration."

THE WINTER'S TALE features scenic design by Justin Townsend, lighting design by Tyler Micoleau, costume design by Paul Carey, and sound design by Acme Sound Partners.

Tickets to THE WINTER'S TALE are free, continuing The Public Theater's long-standing tradition of free programming and community engagement. Since the opening of the Delacorte in 1962, more than five million people have enjoyed more than 150 free productions of Shakespeare and other classical works and musicals at The Public's Central Park venue. Free tickets will be distributed, two per person, at 12:00 p.m. on the day of the show at the Delacorte Theater. Free tickets will also be available via the Virtual Ticketing lottery at www.publictheater.org on the day of the performance. You may become a Summer Supporter for a $75 tax-deductible donation and receive a reserved seat to the event. For information and to donate, call 212-967-7555.

The Public Theater, founded nearly 60 years ago by Joe Papp as one of the nation's first nonprofit theaters, has been an advocate for theater as an essential cultural force and forum for dialogue about issues of the day. As the only theater in New York producing Shakespeare and the classics, musicals, contemporary and experimental works in equal measure, The Public continues its long tradition of engaging a wide range of audiences and artists. Public Works exemplifies The Public's long-standing commitment to community engagement that is at the core of the theater's mission. It is animated by the idea that theater is a place of possibility, where the boundaries that separate us from each other in the rest of life can fall away

Public Works is made possible with the generous support of the Ford Foundation and the Theater Subdistrict Council, LDC. Additional support is provided by the David Rockefeller Fund, the Samuel H. Scripps Foundation, and Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P.

ABOUT PUBLIC WORKS:

PUBLIC WORKS is an ongoing initiative of The Public Theater that seeks to engage the people of New York by making them creators and not just spectators. PUBLIC WORKS deliberately blurs the line between professional artists and community members, creating theater that is not only for the people, but by and of the people as well. Working deeply with partner organizations in all five boroughs, PUBLIC WORKS invites members of diverse communities to participate in workshops, take classes, attend performances at The Public, and, most importantly, to join in the creation of ambitious works of participatory theater.

PUBLIC WORKS is founded on a 360° transformational experience of theater: making theater, seeing theater, discussing theater. The five community partner organizations that have worked with The Public for the first two years of PUBLIC WORKS have taken part in the full range of Public Theater programming, including Joe's Pub, Shakespeare in the Park, Public Forum, and the Mobile Shakespeare Unit. Additionally the Public Works family gathers for monthly potluck dinners and ongoing intergenerational activities.

BROWNSVILLE RECREATION CENTER (Brooklyn) is a branch of the New York City Parks Department. With extensive resources for youth and seniors, the center offers a vibrant space to tap into pursuits artistic and athletic alike. As part of Public Works, senior citizens participate in a weekly dance and theater class led by an artist from The Public. Over the course of the first year, the seniors learned a dance that they performed in The Tempest at the Delacorte Theater. The seniors have since performed pieces from their class led by Erin Washington several times over the course of the year. The Brownsville Recreation Center received the Mobile Shakespeare Unit tour of Richard III in the summer of 2012 and Much Ado About Nothing in the fall of 2013.

THE CHILDREN'S AID SOCIETY (Manhattan) helps children in poverty to succeed and thrive by providing comprehensive support and critical services to children and their families in targeted high-needs New York City neighborhoods. As part of Public Works, the Children's Aid Society Chorus (a group of teenage girls led by Kelly Campbell) attended shows at Joe's Pub, attended regular Public Theater performances, and received master classes in singing, songwriting, movement, and acting.

DREAMYARD PROJECT (Bronx) was recognized by President Obama with a 2012 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. The organization provides transformative arts education for youth in the Bronx through school-based and out-of-school programs and supports young people as they work toward higher learning, meaningful careers and social action. As part of Public Works, DreamYard youth participate in workshops and intensives in performing Shakespeare, and in generative movement led by artists from The Public, along with attending performances in The Public's season. In 2013, parents of DreamYard students also participated in weekly acting classes where they studied, rehearsed and performed scenes from Hamlet.

DOMESTIC WORKERS UNITED (all boroughs, including Staten Island) is a city-wide organization of Caribbean, Latina and African nannies, housekeepers, and elderly caregivers in New York, organizing for power, respect, and fair labor standards, and to help build a movement to end exploitation and oppression for all. As part of Public Works, members participate in a monthly reading group where the women read and discuss a different classic play each session. Members also attend performances at The Public.

FORTUNE SOCIETY (Queens) is a nonprofit social service and advocacy organization, founded in 1967, whose mission is to support successful reentry from prison and promote alternatives to incarceration thus strengthening the fabric of their communities. Drawing upon the life experience of Fortune's formerly incarcerated staff and clients, they offer a holistic, "one-stop" model which includes: alternatives to incarceration, counseling, career development, education, housing services, HIV/AIDS-case management, substance abuse treatment, family services, and lifetime aftercare, among other services. As part of Public Works, members participate in a full year of bi-weekly classes in playwriting, acting, comedy, and production. The Fortune Society received the Mobile Shakespeare Unit tour of Richard III in the summer of 2012 and Much Ado About Nothing in the fall of 2013.

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