The Public Theater Sets Traveling Free Shakespeare in the Park Schedule for Summer 2024

The season will also feature the return of The Mobile Unit’s THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, and more.

By: Feb. 13, 2024
The Public Theater Sets Traveling Free Shakespeare in the Park Schedule for Summer 2024
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The Public Theater will present GO PUBLIC! A Festival of Free Shakespeare in the Park, featuring a suite of free summer programming taking place across all five boroughs. From the return of The Mobile Unit’s joyful, bilingual musical adaptation of THE COMEDY OF ERRORS to outdoor screenings of the acclaimed 2019 production of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, and opportunities to enjoy encore performances at home, GO PUBLIC! offers an array of free programming for all as Free Shakespeare in the Park’s home at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park undergoes its most significant revitalization in its 62-year history.

“While we wait for our beautifully refurbished Delacorte to reopen in the summer of 2025, we'll keep bringing free Shakespeare to the people of New York,” said Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “Our brilliant, bilingual Mobile Unit production of The Comedy of Errors will be playing across the boroughs, including extended runs at Hudson Yards and in front of The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building in collaboration with Bryant Park. Kenny Leon's magnificent 2019 production of Much Ado About Nothing was exquisitely captured by The WNET Group, and we'll be showing it on screens across the city. We're all eager to get back to The Delacorte, but the summer of 2024 is going to provide Shakespeare everywhere. Come and enjoy, come and celebrate!”

Beginning in May, The Public’s acclaimed 2023 Mobile Unit bilingual Spanish and English production of THE COMEDY OF ERRORS returns with an encore tour across the five boroughs. The joyously fast-paced, 90-minute, musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, conceived by director Rebecca Martinez and composer Julian Mesri, features contemporary rhythms from across Latin America in a tale of separation and reunion, bringing vibrant energy to an age-old tale of two sets of twins separated by stormy seas as they overcome a baffling case of mistaken identity—and the mayhem and hilarious confusion that follows.

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS will be performed at outdoor sites in collaboration with The New York Public Library and Bryant Park and as part of the “Backyard at Hudson Yards presented by Wells Fargo” series at Hudson Yards. The Mobile Unit will also pop up at public plazas and parks across the five boroughs in partnership with NYC Parks as well as other key Public Theater partners. Performances begin Tuesday, May 28 and continue through Sunday, June 30 as part of The Public’s commitment to bringing free theater to all and deepening its engagement with communities around NYC. An initial tour schedule follows below, with additional details to be announced.

“We're thrilled to help bring Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors to the vibrant plaza in front of The New York Public Library. In addition to having Public Theater founder Joseph Papp's papers from the very first years of the New York Shakespeare Festival in our collections, The Library proudly holds six copies of Shakespeare's First Folio—including one currently on display in the Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library's Treasures—so it's exciting to be able to make a seamless connection between the timeless words within our walls and the exciting contemporary live performance just steps away. This collaboration effortlessly blends literature and theater, encouraging playgoers to immerse themselves in the world of Shakespeare both inside and outside the Library,” said Brent Reidy, Andrew W. Mellon Director of the Research Libraries at The New York Public Library.

“Bryant Park aims to create a rich and dynamic visual, cultural, and intellectual outdoor experience for New Yorkers and visitors alike. I can think of few things more fitting than extraordinary free productions of Shakespeare in partnership with The Public Theater,” said Dan Biederman, President of Bryant Park Corporation. “It is a joy to help continue this great tradition.”

“Hudson Yards is proud to partner with The Public Theater, one of New York City's most beloved cultural institutions, to bring theater and the arts to our community, as we host performances of Shakespeare in the Park as part of Backyard at Hudson Yards throughout the month of June,” said Stephanie Fink, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Partnerships & Events for Hudson Yards. “This new series is a testament to the vibrant public outdoor space that New Yorkers have created at Hudson Yards and a perfect addition to the expansive free programming we host all summer long. We are honored to welcome Shakespeare lovers to what is sure to be another spectacular performance of The Comedy of Errors.”

The Public continues its relationship with THIRTEEN’s Great Performances on PBS this summer, providing free access to stream Free Shakespeare in the Park productions at home, as well as the premiere of 2023’s HAMLET. In addition to HAMLET, throughout the month of May, viewers will have access to the 2019 production of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, 2021’s MERRY WIVES, and 2022’s RICHARD III. Details on how to access productions will be available at a later date. Each will be available free of charge throughout May and June. Additional details follow below.

Throughout June, July, and August 2024, in partnership with NYC Parks’ and The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment’s Movies Under the Stars program, and The WNET Group, The Public will offer free screenings of THIRTEEN’s Great Performances on PBS recorded performances of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING across all five boroughs.

"NYC Parks is proud to have been a champion and partner of The Public Theater and Free Shakespeare in the Park since its inception. NYC Parks programming would not be complete without the joyous Mobile Unit productions that visit our rec centers and parks each year,” said New York City Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “This year, in addition to the Mobile Unit partnership, we are thrilled that even more New Yorkers will be able to experience Free Shakespeare in the Park through our Movies Under the Stars program. Those attending this free program will be able to experience the magic of visiting The Delacorte Theater from the comfort of their local park and have the chance to witness first-class presentations of recent Free Shakespeare in the Park productions."

On Sunday, July 28, The Public will celebrate the season and Shakespeare with a Summer Block Party outside its home at 425 Lafayette Street. Featuring live performances, activities for all ages, and more, additional details will be announced in the coming months.

MOBILE UNIT’S THE COMEDY OF ERRORS

Bilingual Musical Adaptation
By William Shakespeare
Adaptation by Rebecca Martinez and Julian Mesri
Music, Music Direction, and Spanish Translations by Julian Mesri
Lyrics by Julian Mesri and Rebecca Martinez
Directed by Rebecca Martínez
Tuesday, May 28 through Sunday, June 30

Conceived by director Rebecca Martinez and composer Julian Mesri, THE COMEDY OF ERRORS adaptation embraces contemporary music styles from Latin America in a tale of separation and reunion. Featuring live actor-musicians, this modern musical adaptation brings a vibrant energy to an age-old tale of two sets of twins separated by stormy seas as they overcome a baffling case of mistaken identity—and the mayhem and hilarious confusion that follows.

The initial cast for THE COMEDY OF ERRORS includes Varin Ayala (Egeon, Pinch), Danaya Esperanza (Adriana), Rebecca Jimenez (Understudy), Keren Lugo (Luciana), Alan Mendez (Understudy), Sara Ornelas (Troubadour), Gían Pérez (Dromio), and Desireé Rodriguez (Courtesan, Emilia). Additional casting to be announced.

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS INITIAL TOUR SCHEDULE  

Please note additional dates, locations, and times to be announced 

May 28-June 2 – The New York Public Library and Bryant Park on the Fifth Avenue Terrace (Manhattan)
June 6-9, June 13-14, June 20-21 – Hudson Yards (Manhattan)
A.R.R.O.W. Field House (Queens)
J. Hood Wright Park (Manhattan)
Maria Hernandez Park (Brooklyn) 
Roy Wilkins Park (Queens)  
St. John the Divine (Manhattan)
St. Mary’s Park (Bronx) 
Sunset Park (Brooklyn) 
Wolfe's Pond Park (Staten Island)

FREE AT-HOME STREAMING OF THIRTEEN’S GREAT PERFORMANCES ON PBS OF SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK PRODUCTIONS

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Available May 3-June 30
2019 production directed by Kenny Leon with choreography by Camille A. Brown

The complete cast of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING includes Jamar Brathwaite (Ensemble), Danielle Brooks (Beatrice), Grantham Coleman (Benedick), Chuck Cooper (Leonato), Javen K. Crosby (Ensemble), Denzel DeAngelo Fields (Ensemble), Jeremie Harris (Claudio), Tayler Harris (Ensemble), Erik LaRay Harvey (Antonio/Verges), Kai Heath (Messenger), Daniel Croix Henderson (Balthasar), Tyrone Mitchell Henderson (Friar Francis/Sexton), Tiffany Denise Hobbs (Ursula), Lateefah Holder (Dogberry), LaWanda Hopkins (Dancer), Billy Eugene Jones (Don Pedro), Margaret Odette (Hero), Hubert Point-Du Jour (Don John), William Roberson (Ensemble), Jaime Lincoln Smith (Borachio), Jazmine Stewart (Ensemble), Khiry Walker (Conrade/Ensemble), Olivia Washington (Margaret), and Latra A. Wilson (Dancer).

World Premiere of Live Recording 

HAMLET 

Available May 10-June 30
2023 production directed by Kenny Leon with choreography by Camille A. Brown

The complete cast of HAMLET includes Ato Blankson-Wood (Hamlet), Mikhail Calliste (Player), Liam Craig (Understudy), Brandon Gill (Guildenstern/Opening Vocalist), Safiya Harris (Gentlewoman/Ensemble), Lauryn Hayes (Player), Tyrone Mitchell Henderson (Osric/Priest), Greg Hildreth (Gravedigger), LaWanda Hopkins (Player), Jaylon Jamal (Ensemble), Trí Lê (Barnardo/Ensemble), Colby Lewis (First Player/Opening Vocalist), Cornelius McMoyler (Gravedigger’s Assistant/Ensemble), Warner Miller (Horatio), Daniel Pearce (Polonius), Solea Pfeiffer (Ophelia), Nick Rehberger (Laertes), Laughton Royce (Messenger/Ensemble), Lance Alexander Smith (Marcellus/Opening Vocalist/Ensemble), John Douglas Thompson (Claudius), Lorraine Toussaint (Gertrude), Myxolydia Tyler (Understudy), William Oliver Watkins (Understudy), Lark White (Sailor/Ensemble), Mitchell Winter (Rosencrantz), and Bryce Michael Wood (Understudy).

MERRY WIVES

Available May 17-June 30
2021 production adapted by Jocelyn Bioh and directed by Saheem Ali

The complete cast of MERRY WIVES includes Abena (Anne Page), Shola Adewusi (Mama Quickly), Gbenga Akinnagbe (Mister Nduka Ford), Pascale Armand (Madam Ekua Page), Mayaa Boateng (Fenton/Simple), Phillip James Brannon (Pastor Evans), Brandon E. Burton (Ensemble), Joshua Echebiri (Slender/Pistol), Branden Lindsay (Ensemble), Ebony Marshall-Oliver (Ensemble), Jarvis D.  Matthews (Ensemble), Jacob Ming-Trent (Falstaff), Jennifer Mogbock (Ensemble), Julian Rozzell Jr. (Shallow), Kyle Scatliffe (Mister Kwame Page), David Ryan Smith (Doctor Caius), and Susan Kelechi Watson (Madam Nkechi Ford).

RICHARD III

Available May 24-June 30
2022 production directed by Robert O’Hara

The complete cast of RICHARD III includes Maleni Chaitoo (Ensemble), Wyatt Cirbus (Prince of Wales), Thomas DellaMonica (Understudy Ensemble), Sanjit De Silva (Buckingham), Sam Duncan (Duke of York), Thaddeus S. Fitzpatrick (Ensemble), Skyler Gallun (Ensemble), Danai Gurira (Richard III), Sarah Nina Hayon (Ensemble), Monique Holt (Duchess of York), Matthew August Jeffers (Ensemble), Matt Monaco (Ensemble), Gregg Mozgala (King Edward IV/Richmond), Joe Mucciolo (Ensemble), Paul Niebanck (George), Xavier Pacheco (Ensemble), Marcus Raye Pérez (Ensemble), Grace Porter (Ensemble), Michael Potts (Lord Stanley), Ariel Shafir (Lord Hastings), Heather Alicia Simms (Queen Elizabeth), N'yomi Stewart (Ensemble), Ali Stroker (Anne), Sharon Washington (Queen Margaret), and Daniel J. Watts (Catesby Ratcliffe).

THIRTEEN’S GREAT PERFORMANCES ON PBS SCREENINGS OF MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Directed by Kenny Leon
Choreography by Camille A. Brown

All screenings are free and open to the public and will begin at dusk

July 11 – J. Hood Wright Park (Manhattan)
July 17 – McCarren Park (Brooklyn) 
July 24 – Brooklyn War Memorial (Brooklyn)
August 2 – Faber Park (Staten Island) 
August 20 – Washington Square Park (Manhattan) 
August 29 – Baisley Park (Queens)
September 6 – Loreto Park (Bronx)

Tony Award winner Kenny Leon directs this bold new take on Shakespeare’s cherished comedy of romantic retribution and miscommunication, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. In this modern production, we find the community of Messina celebrating a break from an ongoing war. But not all is peaceful amid the revelry, as old rivals engage in a battle of wits, unexpected foes plot revenge, and young lovers are caught in a tumultuous courtship—until love proves the ultimate trickster and undoes them all. 

 




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