THEN SING HIM HOME Free Musical Shakespeare Birthday Celebration Comes to Bryant Park

THEN SING HIM HOME Free Musical Shakespeare Birthday Celebration Comes to Bryant Park

In a sure sign that Spring has finally arrived, Bryant Park is proud to announce its first free-to-the-public outdoor performance of the season on Tuesday, April 23 with the Sixth Annual Shakespeare Birthday Celebration, a 455th birthday party for The Bard. Bryant Park welcomes back one of New York's most beloved theater companies, The Drilling Company (TDC), renowned for their Shakespeare in the Parking Lot series. As longtime Bardolators know, William Shakespeare is believed to have both born and died on the same date: April 23. Fittingly, this event will show all sides of Shakespeare's talents, including his role as a musical inspiration.

In service of past Bryant Park shows, Drilling Company member Natalie Smith (Netflix's Iron Fist) has created numerous pieces of original music using Shakespeare's text as libretto, including songs for TDC's runs of As You Like It in 2016 and The Tempest in 2017, the latter in collaboration with arranger Michael Chorney (Hadestown). A compilation of Smith's Shakespearean work was recently released as a full-length album, Then Sing Him Home.

Tonight's birthday celebration will include Natalie and her band sharing these songs as interstitials between the performance of short dramatic and comedic scenes from Othello, Cymbeline, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice and The Taming of the Shrew. TDC's formidable company of actors, led by director Hamilton Clancy (One Dollar, Blue Bloods, Orange Is the New Black), includes Ivory Aquino (When We Rise), Drew Valins (Midsummer Night's Dream, Much Ado About Nothing), Alessandro Colla (Lemmings, Vendetta), Jane Bradley (Emergency Contacts), Kathleen Simmonds (Twelfth Night, MSND), and Mary Linehan (Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer Night's Dream).

"We couldn't think of a better way to celebrate our sixth year hosting The Drilling Company than to highlight songs created by the ensemble in the park," says Bryant Park Director of Public Events Dan Fishman. "The Company's sometimes irreverent and often powerful performances have become a summer tradition for both serious devotees of the Bard and first-time theatergoers. In addition to original music, this birthday celebration offers a wide range of Shakespeare's timeless roles, and it serves an excellent kickoff to the diverse and exciting programs that New Yorkers can see at Bryant Park this summer.

Bryant Park Picnic Performances will run from May to October and will include two TBA full-length performances of Shakespeare plays by The Drilling Company; a sneak preview of a new opera production and selections from classics as played by New York City Opera; acclaimed local and international musicians at the largest accordion festival in the United States, Accordions Around the World; the indie rock focused Emerging Music Festival in mid-August; a participatory Latin Dance Festival in June with salsa, bachata and merengue bands; multi-month series with New York's top arts organizations and much more to be announced. A complete Bryant Park Picnic Performances lineup will follow this release shortly.

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