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Breaking News: 'MUCH ADO' with Lily Rabe, Hamish Linklater & KING LEAR with John Lithgow Set for The Public's 2014 Shakespeare in the Park Season

The Public Theater announced the line-up today for the 2014 free Shakespeare in the Park season, continuing a 52-year tradition of free theater in Central Park. Since 1962, over five million people have enjoyed more than 150 free productions of Shakespeare and other classical works and musicals at the Delacorte Theater. Conceived by founder Joe Papp as a way to make great theater accessible to all, The Public's free Shakespeare in the Park continues to be the bedrock of the Company's mission to increase access and engage the community. This summer, free Shakespeare in the Park will feature a comedy and a tragedy with Jack O'Brien directing MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING and Daniel Sullivan directing KING LEAR.

Beginning on Tuesday, June 3, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, featuring Lily Rabe ("American Horror Story") as Beatrice and Hamish Linklater ("The Crazy Ones") as Benedick, will run for five weeks through Sunday, July 6. Linklater most recently performed in The Comedy of Errors last summer, while Rabe was in the 2012 Shakespeare in the Park production of As You Like It. They both performed in Daniel Sullivan's 2010 production of The Merchant of Venice.

John Lithgow returns to the Delacorte in July to play Lear in The Public's second show of the free Shakespeare in the Park summer season. KING LEAR, not seen in the Park since 1973, will begin performances on Tuesday, July 22 and run through Sunday, August 17. Lithgow last performed at the Delacorte Theater as Laertes in Hamlet in 1975.

"This summer, Shakespeare in the Park features two of the greatest plays ever written: the magnificent comedy Much Ado About Nothing and the towering tragedy of King Lear," said Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. "We are welcoming back three of The Public's most beloved Shakespeareans of the past decade, Dan Sullivan, Lily Rabe and Hamish Linklater. And we are proud that one of America's greatest theater artists, Jack O'Brien, will be making his Delacorte debut and that the amazingly talented John Lithgow will be returning to the Park after an inexplicable 35-year absence. It will be a miraculous summer."

Bank of America continues its leadership sponsorship in support of The Public's mission to keep Shakespeare in the Park free.

"At Bank of America, we understand that the arts, in all its forms, so often lends vitality to a city as it inspires, transcends socio-economic barriers, and celebrates diversity," said Jeff Barker, Bank of America New York City President. "Shakespeare in the Park is one of our city's finest summertime traditions and attracts tens of thousands of New Yorkers and visitors alike each season. We're proud to return as the lead sponsor for 2014 as part of our broader commitment to create opportunities for the public to access arts and culture."

Tickets to The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park are FREE and are distributed, two per person, at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park on the day of the show. The Public Theater will again offer free tickets through our Virtual Ticketing lottery on the day of the show at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park is accessible by entering at 81st Street and Central Park West or at 79th Street and Fifth Avenue.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING was first staged at the Delacorte in 1972 and was directed by A. J. Antoon, featuring Sam Waterston as Benedick and Kathleen Widdoes as Beatrice. It was also performed at the Delacorte in 1988, directed by Gerald Freedman and featuring Kevin Kline as Benedick, Blythe Danner as Beatrice, David Hyde Pierce as Don Juan, and Jerry Stiller as Dogberry. It was last staged at the Delacorte in 2004, directed by David Esbjornson, featuring Jimmy Smits as Benedick, Kristen Johnston as Beatrice, Sam Waterston as Leonato, Elizabeth Waterston as Hero, and Jayne Houdyshell as Ursula. Most recently, the comedy was presented as part of The Public's Mobile Shakespeare Unit last year, bringing Shakespeare to audiences in the five boroughs who have limited or no access to the arts.

KING LEAR was first staged at the Delacorte in its inaugural year, 1962, directed by Joseph Papp and Gladys Vaughan. The show featured Frank Silvera as Lear, Roscoe Lee Brown as Lear's Fool and John Cullum as the King of France. The last time it was staged at the Delacorte was in 1973, where it was directed by Edwin Sherin and featured James Earl Jones as Lear, Tom Aldredge as Lear's Fool, and Raúl Julia as Edmund. King Lear was staged at The Public Theater at Astor Place in 1996 with F. Murray Abraham as Lear and Jeffrey Wright as the Fool. It was presented again in 2007 with Kevin Kline as Lear and Michael Cerveris as Kent and was last presented downtown at Astor Place in 2011 with Sam Waterston as Lear, Bill Irwin as the Fool, Kelli O'Hara as Regan and Michael McKean as Gloucester.JACK O'BRIEN (Much Ado About Nothing Director). His Broadway credits include Macbeth, The Nance, Dead Accounts, Catch Me If You Can, Impressionism, The Coast of Utopia (Tony Award), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Tony nomination), Henry IV (Tony Award), Hairspray (Tony Award), Imaginary Friends, The Invention of Love (Tony nomination, Drama Desk Award), The Full Monty (Tony nomination), More to Love, Getting Away With Murder, Pride's Crossing, The Little Foxes, Hapgood (Lucille Lortel Award, Best Director), Damn Yankees, Two Shakespearean Actors (Tony nomination), and Porgy and Bess (Tony nomination). For the Metropolitan Opera he directed Il Trittico, as well as Love Never Dies, and Hairspray (Olivier nomination) in London, and His Girl Friday at the National Theatre. He served as Artistic Director of the Old Globe Theatre from 1981 to 2007. He has also directed six movies for PBS's "American Playhouse." His additional awards include the 2008 Theatre Hall of Fame Inductee; 2005 John Houseman Award; ArtServe Michigan 2008 International Achievement Award; Honorary Doctorate, University of Michigan. His film credits for acting include Sex and the City 2 and he is the author of JACK BE NIMBLE published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

DANIEL SULLIVAN (King Lear Director). For The Public Theater, Sullivan directed The Comedy of Errors, As You Like It, The Delacorte Theater's 50th Anniversary reading of Romeo and Juliet, All's Well That Ends Well, The Merchant of Venice (Broadway/Shakespeare in the Park), Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Stuff Happens, and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Among his Broadway credits are the recent production of Snow Geese; Orphans; the revival of Glengarry Glen Ross; The Columnist; Good People; Time Stands Still; Accent on Youth; The Homecoming; Prelude to a Kiss; Rabbit Hole; After the Night and the Music; Julius Caesar; Brooklyn Boy; Sight Unseen; I'm Not Rappaport; Morning's at Seven; Proof; the 2000 production of A Moon for the Misbegotten; Ah, Wilderness!; The Sisters Rosensweig; Conversations With My Father; and The Heidi Chronicles. His Off-Broadway credits include Intimate Apparel, Far East, Spinning into Butter, Third at Lincoln Center, Dinner With Friends, and The Substance of Fire. From 1981 to 1997, he served as Artistic Director of Seattle Repertory Theatre. Sullivan is the Swanlund Professor of Theatre at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

HAMISH LINKLATER (Benedick). His credits for The Public Theater include The Comedy of Errors; The Merchant of Venice; The Winter's Tale; Twelfth Night, for which he received a Drama Desk nomination; Hamlet; The Square; and Love's Fire. He has been seen on Broadway in Seminar, and his additional Off-Broadway credits include the The Vandal at the Flea Theater, which Linklater wrote; The School for Lies, earning him an Obie Award and Lortel and Outer Critics Circle nominations; The Busy World Is Hushed, earning him a Drama League nomination; Recent Tragic Events; and Good Thing. His film and television credits include 42, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, Lola Versus, Battleship, The Future, Groove, Fantastic Four, Woody Allen's upcoming Magic in the Moonlight, "The Crazy Ones" opposite Robin Williams, "The Good Wife," "The Newsroom," "The Big C," and "The New Adventures of Old Christine."

JOHN LITHGOW (King Lear) has performed with The Public Theater in Hamlet at the Delacorte in 1975, Trelawney of the "Wells" at the Vivian Beaumont in 1975, and in Salt Lake City Skyline in the Anspacher Theater in 1980. His Broadway credits include The Changing Room, My Fat Friend, Comedians, Anna Christie, Once in a Lifetime, Spokesong, Bedroom Farce, Requiem for a Heavyweight, The Front Page, M. Butterfly, Beyond Therapy, Sweet Smell of Success, The Retreat From Moscow, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, All My Sons, and most recently, The Columnist. His additional Off-Broadway credits include Mrs. Farnsworth and Mr. & Mrs. Fitch. In England, he has played the title role in The Magistrate at London's National Theatre and Malvoilo in Twelfth Night for The RSC at Stratford-Upon-Avon. He tours regularly with his one-man show Stories By Heart. His film and television credits include All That Jazz; Blowout; The World According to Garp; Terms of Endearment; Twilight Zone: The Movie; Harry and the Hendersons; Footloose; Raising Cain; Kinsey; Shrek; This Is 40; The Campaign; "3rd Rock From the Sun"; "Dexter"; and "Amazing Stories." Upcoming films include Love Is Strange, The Homesman and Interstellar. He has authored nine bestselling picture books for children, and has recorded the CDs Singing' in the Bathtub and The Sunny Side of the Street. He wrote and performed a new narration for Carnival of the Animals at the New York City Ballet, and his memoir, Drama: An Actor's Education, was published by Harper in 2011. He has won two Tony Awards, three Drama Desk Awards, five Emmys, two Golden Globes, two SAG awards, and he has been nominated for two Oscars and four Grammys.

LILY RABE (Beatrice) has previously performed at The Public in the 2012 Shakespeare in the Park production of As You Like It as Rosalind, and the 2010 Park production of The Merchant of Venice as Portia, opposite Al Pacino. She has starred on Broadway in Seminar (Drama League nomination), The Merchant of Venice (Tony, Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk nominations; Callaway Award), The American Plan, Heartbreak House (Outer Critics Circle nomination, Callaway Award), and Steel Magnolias (Drama Desk nomination). Her Off-Broadway and regional credits include Miss Julie, A Doll's House, Crimes of the Heart, Colder Than Here, Proof, and others. Rabe's film credits include All Good Things, Letters from the Big Man, Weakness, Aftermath, What Just Happened, The Toe Tactic, No Reservations, A Crime, Mona Lisa Smile, Never Again, and Beyond Redemption. Upcoming films include Pawn Sacrifice, directed by Ed Zwick and Mockingjay, the final installment of The Hunger Games films. She has been a regular on Ryan Murphy's Emmy and Golden Globe nominated FX series "American Horror Story" for the past three seasons (for which she received a 2012 Critics Choice Nomination) and has guest starred on "The Good Wife," "Nip/Tuck," "Medium," the "Law and Orders," among others.

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