James Ijames' GOOD BONES, Delacorte Theater Reopening & More Set for The Public Theater 24-25 Season

The Public will feature productions by Caryl Churchill, Lisa Sanaye Dring, David Finnigan, and more.

By: May. 07, 2024
James Ijames' GOOD BONES, Delacorte Theater Reopening & More Set for The Public Theater 24-25 Season
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The Public Theater has revealed the line-up for The Public’s 2024-25 Season at their landmark Astor Place home on 425 Lafayette Street and the Summer 2025 production to reopen the beloved Delacorte Theater. The Public will celebrate Artistic Director Oskar Eustis’ 20th anniversary season with a slate of mission- driven programming, including bold, innovative productions of works from the U.S. and abroad alongside The Public’s year-round artistic programs.

An iconic New York theatrical institution producing Free Shakespeare in the Park since 1962 and revolutionary work downtown since 1967, The Public will feature productions by groundbreaking playwright Caryl Churchill, Lisa Sanaye Dring, David Finnigan, Pulitzer Prize winner James Ijames, John Purugganan, and S. Shakthidharan and partnerships with acclaimed theater companies Belvoir St Theatre, Kurinji, and NYU Skirball; Elevator Repair Service; and Ma-Yi Theatre Company and La Jolla Playhouse. Additionally, Emerging Writers Group alumnus Else Went will kick off the Fall 2025 season; additional 2025-26 season programming will be announced in 2025.

“In my 20th season at The Public Theater, I’m overjoyed to share programming that is as bold and ambitious as The Public’s mission,” said Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “Two Australian artists anchor the start of the season; S. Shakthidharan brings us an epic Sri Lankan-Australian tale of family and healing, and David Finnigan brings reports from the front lines of climate change. Following his Pulitzer Prize- winning Fat Ham, James Ijames returns with a ghostly tale of urban renewal. Rounding out the fall, Elevator Repair Service returns to The Public for a final encore in NYC of their innovative take on The Great Gatsby. Lisa Sanaye Dring starts off 2025 with her Public Theater debut about the rarely explored world of the ancient Japanese tradition of sumo. Caryl Churchill, one of the world’s great dramatists, returns to The Public with a quartet of inventive short plays. We will also share an audio play about death row, written by John Purugganan from a maximum security prison.”

Eustis continued, “The season finishes with the reopening of The Delacorte Theater. We’re counting down the minutes until we can celebrate our revitalized home with a joyful production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Our first preview of the following season is Initiative, Else Went’s professional debut with the play she developed in The Public’s Emerging Writers Group. This next season is a true testament to the expanse of The Public’s tent, where we’re honored to bring these extraordinary artists and six acclaimed theater companies to our stages.”

After the theater undergoes its most significant revitalization in its 63-year history, The Public will celebrate the opening of the new Delacorte Theater in Summer 2025 with a Free Shakespeare in the Park production of TWELFTH NIGHT featuring an all-star cast of Public alumni. The Public’s Associate Artistic Director and Resident Director, Tony Award nominee Saheem Ali directs this joyful romp welcoming all of New York back to the magic of Central Park’s beloved theater.

Public Theater Partner and Supporter Plus tickets for GOOD BONES, DEEP HISTORY, and GATZ will go on sale on Tuesday, May 28 and Public Theater Supporter tickets on Thursday, May 30. Full-price single tickets will be available on Tuesday, June 25. Public Theater Supporter and NYU Skirball Member tickets for COUNTING AND CRACKING will go on sale on Tuesday, May 14 and full-price single tickets will be available on Tuesday, May 28.

“It’s always a thrill to announce an upcoming season of new productions at The Public, and our 24-25 season is no different,” said Board Chair Luis A. Miranda, Jr. “No matter if it’s a North American or New York premiere; a new play or anything in between, the excitement is palpable as we prepare to bring new art to our city, and the world.”

In addition to a robust mainstage season downtown at Astor Place, The Public continues its year-round engagement through its vital, mission-driven programs. Focused on furthering The Public’s belief that art and culture belong to everyone, these programs and initiatives offer free and low-cost tickets, build community through theater, and develop the next generation of theater artists. In Spring 2025, Mobile Unit returns to tour the city with free performances of a Shakespeare play across the five boroughs. Public Works engages year-round with community members by offering classes, free tickets to performances, and more. Throughout the school year, The Public’s partnership with the Hunts Point Children’s Shakespeare Ensemble continues, where students will tackle a Shakespeare play, culminating in a performance by their fourth, fifth, and sixth grade participants.

The Public also hosts several artist development programs, residencies, and fellowships, including supporting upcoming theater artists and writers through the Emerging Writers Group, Joe’s Pub Working Group, Vanguard Residency, New York Voices Commissioning Program, and Jose Solís’ BIPOC Critics Lab. Residencies and fellowships include Writer in Residence Suzan-Lori Parks; theater company The Apothetae; Creatives Rebuild New York fellows Julian Goldhagen, Ryan J. Haddad, and Ife Olujobi; and Ntozake Shange Social Justice Playwright in Residence Erika Dickerson-Despenza.

Joe’s Pub at The Public, an anchor for experimental and iconic artists in music, comedy, and live performance, celebrates a new season of vibrant nightly performances. Singer-songwriters Jake Blount and Mali Obomsawin will present the first Joe’s Pub New York Voices commission of 2024-2025. Dan Fishback will present his 2023-2024 New York Voices commission Dan Fishback is Alive and Unwell and Living in His Apartment in December. Americana legend Toshi Reagon will gather her creative community in a reprise of her Post-Election Day Concert in November. Slide guitar virtuoso Debashish Bhattacharya will make his Joe’s Pub debut. Applications for the 2024-2025 Joe’s Pub Working Group are currently open and available at joespub.org, and the 2024-2025 Vanguard Residency recipient will be announced this summer.

Additional Joe’s Pub performances will include the return of Habibi Festival, Kate Siahaan-Rigg’s disOrientalism series, the DANCE NOW Joe's Pub Festival, John Cameron Mitchell & Amber Martin: Cassette Roulette, and multiple runs with Justin Vivian Bond. More information about Joe’s Pub’s fall season can be found at joespub.org.

This summer, while The Delacorte Theater is closed for a significant revitalization until Summer 2025, The Public will bring free Shakespeare to parks and plazas around the city and screens around the country through GO PUBLIC! Mobile Unit’s bilingual musical adaptation of THE COMEDY OF ERRORS returns for a free encore tour of the five boroughs. Free Shakespeare in the Park’s acclaimed production of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon, will screen at parks around New York City in special evening events. This captured version by THIRTEEN’s Great Performances on PBS, along with their recordings of 2023’s HAMLET, 2022’s RICHARD III, and 2021’s MERRY WIVES, will also be made available for streaming at home, free of charge, to audiences nationwide.

Continuing The Public’s mission to make great theater accessible to all, The Public’s Joseph Papp Free Performance Initiative will return for all 2024-25 productions. Free tickets to a performance of every production will be available via a digital lottery, powered by The Public's digital partner, TodayTix.


The Public Theater’S 2024-25 SEASON:

North American Premiere

COUNTING AND CRACKING


Presenting a Belvoir St Theatre & Kurinji Co-Production By S. Shakthidharan with Eamon Flack
In Partnership with NYU Skirball

Performances at NYU Skirball (566 LaGuardia Place) September 6–22, 2024 (Opening: September 12)

Belvoir St Theatre’s COUNTING AND CRACKING, by S. Shakthidharan and directed by Eamon Flack, comes to NYU Skirball this fall for its North American Premiere after critically acclaimed productions in Australia and the United Kingdom. The sweeping, episodic play features 19 actors from across the globe on a multi-generational journey of a Sri-Lankan Australian family from 1956-2004. Radha fled Sri Lanka with her unborn child as the nation struggled with conflict. Two decades later, her son Siddhartha, now an Australian man who knows little of his family’s background, receives a call from the past that changes everything he thought he knew, and who he thought he was. One of the most highly anticipated premieres of 2024, COUNTING AND CRACKING is a joyous, epic story of family, forgiveness, the ghosts we leave behind, and the power of love.

The cast of COUNTING AND CRACKING includes Rodney Afif, Prakash Belawadi, Antonythasan Jesuthasan, Nadie Kammallaweera, Ahi Karunaharan, Abbie-Lee Lewis, Gandhi MacIntyre, Radhika Mudaliyar, Shiv Palekar, Dushan Philips, Sukhbir Singh Walia, Nipuni Sharada, Kaivu Suvarna, Raj Velu, and Sukania Venugopal. They will be joined by musicians Kranthi Kiran Mudigonda, Janakan Raj, and Venkhatesh Sritharan.
COUNTING AND CRACKING includes set and costume design by Dale Ferguson, lighting design by Damien Cooper, and sound design and music composition by Stefan Gregory. Anandavalli serves as costume and cultural advisor.


New York Premiere

GOOD BONES

By James Ijames Directed by Saheem Ali
September 19–October 13, 2024 (Opening: October 1)

 
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright James Ijames explores gentrification and the growing price of the American dream in his sharp, funny new play, GOOD BONES. A work opportunity to revitalize the blighted neighborhood she grew up in has led Aisha and her chef husband Travis to buy and renovate a charming old house. But as everyone knows, renovation is expensive and stressful—both for buildings and the communities that surround them. Aisha’s young contractor Earl grew up in the area too, but his memories are of more than just dangerous streets and hollowed-out homes. When their purely professional relationship gives way to heated debate about who gets to stay and who must go, Aisha is forced to reckon with the choices she’s made to get ahead and the painful, joyful, complicated ghosts that haunt her dreams… and her dream house. The Public’s Associate Artistic Director Saheem Ali directs this New York premiere play about community, change, and the soul of our cities.


North American Premiere

DEEP HISTORY

Written and Performed by David Finnigan October 5–27, 2024 (Opening: October 10)
At the end of 2019, in the English countryside, Australian playwright David Finnigan began writing a play about the six turning points that have brought us to this moment in time—our ecosystems transformed, our planet on the brink of unthinkable climate disaster. But then Finnigan's hometown of Canberra was hit by bushfires. As an area the size of England burned and one billion animals perished, he started to receive texts from loved ones racing to evacuate amid the devastation. In a performance that interweaves 75,000 years of humanity with the incredibly personal account of his best friend’s escape, Finnigan calls on scientific research, phone footage, and a very personal story to illuminate the transforming planet and how we’ve arrived here. An extraordinary ride through human history, DEEP HISTORY is shot through with humor and glowing with hope.


Final NYC Encore of Acclaimed Production

GATZ

By Elevator Repair Service
Text: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Directed by John Collins
November 1–December 1 (Opening: November 8)

Ahead of the centennial of The Great Gatsby’s publication and more than a decade after its original Obie and Lortel Award-winning engagements, Elevator Repair Service’s GATZ returns to The Public for a thrilling and final New York City encore of the acclaimed production. One morning in the office of a mysterious small business, an employee finds a copy of The Great Gatsby in the clutter of his desk. He starts to read it out loud and doesn’t stop. At first his coworkers hardly notice. But after a series of strange coincidences, it’s no longer clear whether he’s reading the book, or the book is transforming him. Told over a single 6 1/2-hour production created by Elevator Repair Service and directed by Elevator Repair Service Artistic Director John Collins, GATZ is not a retelling of the Gatsby story but an enactment of the entire novel. Fitzgerald’s American masterpiece is delivered word for word, startlingly brought to life by a low- rent office staff amid their inscrutable business operations. Scott Shepherd reprises his award-winning role as the Narrator and is joined by most of the original New York cast. An event not to be missed and a last chance to see this theatrical and literary tour de force by one of the American theater’s most exciting and inventive companies.

The cast of GATZ includes Laurena Allan, Jim Fletcher, Ross Fletcher, Maggie Hoffman, Mike Iveson, Vin Knight, Aaron Landsman, Annie McNamara, Scott Shepherd, Pete Simpson, Susie Sokol, Tory Vazquez, and Ben Jalosa Williams.


Ma-Yi Theatre Company and The Public Theater Present the New York Premiere

SUMO

By Lisa Sanaye Dring
A Co-Production of Ma-Yi Theater Company and La Jolla Playhouse Directed by Ralph B. Peña
Winter 2025

Entrenched in an elite sumo training facility in Tokyo, six men practice, eat, love, play, and ultimately fight. Step into the sacred world of sumo wrestling, with the New York premiere of Lisa Sanaye Dring’s mesmerizing new drama, SUMO. Akio arrives as an angry, ambitious 18-year-old with a lot to learn. Expecting validation, dominance, and fame, and desperate to move up the ranks, he slams headlong into his fellow wrestlers. With sponsorship money at stake, their bodies on the line, and their futures at risk, the wrestlers struggle to carve themselves—and one another—into the men they dream of being. SUMO is a thrilling new play set in an elite and rarely explored world. Obie Award winner Ralph B. Peña directs this powerhouse drama.


North American Premiere of All Four Plays Presented Together

GLASS. KILL. WHAT IF IF ONLY. IMP.

By Caryl Churchill
Directed by James Macdonald Spring 2025

A girl made of glass. Gods and murders. A pack of ghosts. And a secret in a bottle. A kaleidoscope of stories. James Macdonald directs these wildly inventive new works.

WHAT IF IF ONLY had its North American premiere in 2021 with remote live performances presented by the National Asian American Theatre Company, realized by Les Waters and Jared Mezzocchi.


Free Shakespeare in the Park

TWELFTH NIGHT

Directed by Saheem Ali Summer 2025

The Public Theater will celebrate the opening of the newly revitalized Delacorte Theater with a Free Shakespeare in the Park all-star cast of Public alumni in a production of TWELFTH NIGHT. Join us to revel in the midsummer madness as twins Sebastian and Viola survive shipwreck, revenge plots, and the trick doors of love. The Public’s Associate Artistic Director and Resident Director, Tony Award nominee Saheem Ali directs this joyful romp welcoming all of New York back to the magic of Central Park’s beloved theater. Be there when the stage lights turn on again at The Delacorte—a New York City classic—with this high-powered production of the Bard’s classic comedy.


World Premiere

LET’S KEEP DANCING: A Death Row Story

By John Purugganan Directed by Oskar Eustis Audio Play

Incarcerated since 1989, John Purugganan is committed to reaching past the prison walls, becoming a tutor, mentor, and prolific writer. His audio play LET’S KEEP DANCING: A Death Row Story was a prizewinner in the first annual Arts in Corrections Playwriting Contest. Michael Green is 21 years old and has just arrived in the cell he’ll inhabit for the rest of his life. His neighbor, Hap Embleton, is 67 and has been imprisoned for most of his life. Over Green’s first day and night on death row, he and Hap discuss their fears, their past, and the 50,000 people currently serving life without the possibility of parole—many for non-violent crimes. The Public’s Artistic Director Oskar Eustis directs this compelling, world premiere audio play about two souls fighting to survive the row.


FIRST PRODUCTION OF FALL 2025 SEASON:

World Premiere

INITIATIVE

By Else Went
Directed by Emma Rosa Went Fall 2025

Playwright Else Went, alumnus of our acclaimed Emerging Writers Group, brings her transformative new play INITIATIVE to The Public in Fall 2025. A bittersweet reflection on adolescence at the dawn of the new millennium, INITIATIVE charts the intertwined lives of seven teens from 2000-2004, as they become friends and more than friends, wrestle with their potential, face incalculable loss, and struggle to find their way in (and get out of) “Coastal Podunk, California.” Emma Rosa Went directs this epic world premiere guaranteed to make you remember the most difficult and beautiful things about growing up.
 





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