Breaking: Jelani Alladin, Krysta Rodriguez, Roger Bart & More Will Star in Public Works' HERCULES!
The Public Theater (Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis; Executive Director, Patrick Willingham) announced casting for the Public Works' musical adaptation of HERCULES with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by David Zippel, book by Kristoffer Diaz, and directed by Lear deBessonet, running for seven nights for free, August 31-September 8 at The Delacorte Theater. Based on the Disney film written by Ron Clements, John Musker, Donald McEnery, Bob Shaw, and Irene Mecchi and directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, HERCULES will feature over 200 New Yorkers from all five boroughs and features choreography by Chase Brock, as well as additional new songs by Menken and Zippel for this Public Works production in addition to six songs from the film's beloved Academy Award-nominated score.
The Public Theater's initiative that invites communities across New York to create ambitious works of participatory theater is closing out the summer in truly epic fashion. Public Works will present the glorious story of HERCULES, brought to vibrant life by professional actors and community groups from across the city. Journey with Hercules in this new stage adaptation that invites New Yorkers from all five boroughs to participate in a joyous musical that celebrates the heroes found in all of us. More information on how to access free tickets to HERCULES will be available in July at PublicTheater.org.
HERCULES will feature Equity actors Jelani Alladin (Hercules), Roger Bart (Hades), Jeff Hiller (Panic), James Monroe Iglehart (Phil), Ramona Keller (Thalia), Tamika Lawrence (Calliope), Krysta Rodriguez (Meg), and Rema Webb (Terpsichore); along with a special featured performance by 2019 Tony Honor Award recipient Broadway Inspirational Voices, celebrating their 25th Silver Anniversary this year.
The Public Works community partner organizations are Brownsville Recreation Center (Brooklyn), Center for Family Life in Sunset Park (Brooklyn), DreamYard (Bronx), The Fortune Society (Queens), and Military Resilience Foundation (all boroughs), along with alumni partners Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education (Bronx), Children's Aid (all boroughs), and Domestic Workers United (all boroughs).
"Many generations of our Public Works families have embraced Disney musicals as a shared American canon," said Public Works Founder and Hercules Director Lear deBessonet. "Hercules' roots in Greek mythology, infused with soulful gospel music, make it a natural extension of Public Works' radical exploration of humanity through Shakespeare and the classics. We're excited to see how this Public Works production will uncover the deeper meaning of what it means to be a hero and how true strength is derived, not from the greatness of one person, but the transformative power of community."
HERCULES features scenic design by Dane Laffrey; costume design by Andrea Hood; lighting design by Tyler Micoleau; sound design by Kai Harada and Jessica Paz; wigs, hair, and makeup design by Cookie Jordan; puppet design by James Ortiz; music supervision and arrangements by Michael Kosarin; orchestrations by Danny Troob and Joseph Joubert; dance arrangements by Mark Hummel; and synthesizer programming by Randy Cohen. HERCULESis presented by special arrangement with Disney Theatrical Productions, under the direction of Thomas Schumacher.
PUBLIC WORKS is a national and international initiative of The Public Theater that seeks to engage the people of New York by making them creators and not just spectators. Led by Founder Lear deBessonet and Director of Public Works Laurie Woolery, 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 with community partners in all five boroughs, Public Works invites community members to take classes, attend performances, and join in the creation of ambitious works of participatory theater.
This year, Public Works welcomes seven new Public Works National Affiliates, including Long Wharf Theatre (New Haven, CT), Pittsburgh Public Theater (Pittsburgh, PA), Theatre Under The Stars (Houston, TX), Trinity Repertory Company (Providence, RI), Tulsa Performing Arts Center and Trust (Tulsa, OK), Virginia Stage Company (Norfolk, VA), and Williamstown Theatre Festival (Williamstown, MA). These National Affiliates will be joining the Founding National Partners-Dallas Theater Center (Dallas, TX), the National Theatre's Public Acts programme (London and nationally, England), and Seattle Repertory Theatre (Seattle, WA). This network of theaters will be gathering to share practices and help build momentum around community-based theater nationwide. Collectively, they are seeking to put theater at the heart of every community, and community at the heart of every theater.
The three Founding Public Works National Partners are now all in production. This summer, all three Founding Partners will be presenting productions of As You Like It, adapted by Shaina Taub and Laurie Woolery, with music and lyrics by Shaina Taub. These three productions will appear in Dallas, at the Queen's Theatre Hornchurch in London, and in Seattle in the months of August and September 2019.