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Laura Benanti, Norm Lewis & More to Lead The Public Theater's Musical Adaptation of THE TEMPEST at Delacorte Theater, 9/6-8

The Public Theater announced today that Todd Almond (Ariel), Laura Benanti (Goddess), Carson Elrod (Caliban), Jeff Hiller (Trinculo), Norm Lewis (Prospero), and Jacob Ming-Trent (Stephano) have been cast in the free, original musical adaptation of THE TEMPEST, part of The Public's groundbreaking new initiative for community-based theater, PUBLIC WORKS. Directed by Public Works Director Lear deBessonet, with music, lyrics and book by Almond, and choreography by Chase Brock, THE TEMPEST will run September 6 through September 8 at 8:00 p.m. at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.

PUBLIC WORKS is designed to cultivate new connections and new models of engagement with artists, audiences and the community each year. In its inaugural year, it is creating an extraordinary example of participatory theater with this free, original musical adaptation of THE TEMPEST, inspired by a 1916 community theatrical event of Caliban by the Yellow Sands at the stadium at City College in New York.

"Theater isn't a commodity, it's an experience," said Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. "Public Works aims to reclaim that territory by making participation central to the theatrical event. This is one of the most exciting initiatives The Public has ever embarked upon."

Tickets to THE TEMPEST are free, continuing The Public Theater's long-standing tradition of free programming and community engagement. They will be distributed, two per person, at 12:00 p.m. on the day of the show at the Delacorte Theater. 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. Free tickets will be available via the Virtual Ticketing drawing at on the day of the performance. Summer Supporter tickets are also available for a tax-deductible donation of $75 each. For information and to donate, call 212-967-7555.

Seven cameo performers from New York City will also be featured in this PUBLIC WORKS production of THE TEMPEST, in addition to the previously announced five community partners: Children's Aid Society (Manhattan); DreamYard (Bronx); Fortune Society (Queens); Brownsville Recreation Center (Brooklyn); and Domestic Workers United (all boroughs, including Staten Island). For THE TEMPEST, participants from these community groups are performing in the ensemble as well as playing featured roles.

The cameo groups include Ballet Tech, the NYC Public School for Dance, with choreography by Eliot Feld; the Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, which creates folkloric and contemporary works while exploring Mexican traditions; the Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Ensemble, a taiko drumming group; the Middle Church Jerriese Johnson Gospel Choir, a choir based in New York's East Village; the New York City Taxi Workers Alliance; Raya Brass Band, which performs Balkan "gypsy" music; and Stephen Duncan, a New York City performance artist who specializes in super-sized soap bubbles.

THE TEMPEST will feature scenic design by Matt Saunders; costume design by Paul Carey; lighting design by Tyler Micoleau; and sound design by Acme Sound Partners.

Photo by Walter McBride

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