Public Theater Free Mobile Unit's HENRY V Begins At The Public, 4/23

Public Theater Free Mobile Unit's HENRY V Begins At The Public, 4/23

The Public Theater (Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis; Executive Director, Patrick Willingham) will begin previews for the MOBILE UNIT's production of HENRY V on Monday, April 23. Directed by Robert O'Hara, the free sit-down run of HENRY V follows a three-week tour to five boroughs bringing Shakespeare to audiences who have limited or no access to the arts.

Part of The Public's Astor Anniversary Season at their landmark downtown home on Lafayette Street, celebrating 50 years of new work at 425 Lafayette Street and the 50th Anniversary of HAIR, HENRY V at The Public Theater will run through Sunday, May 13 with an official press opening on Friday, April 27.


The complete cast of HENRY V includes Michael Bradley Cohen (Canterbury/Dauphin/Chorus), Leland Fowler (Scroop/William-Bates/Chorus), Patrice Johnson (Montjoy/Messengers/Chorus), Carolyn Kettig (Katharine/Cambridge/Chorus), Ariel Shafir (Westmoreland/Constable/Chorus), David Ryan Smith (Exeter/Governor/Chorus), Joe Tapper (French King/French Queen/Chorus), Zenzi Williams (Henry/Chorus), and Kim Wong (Alice/Grey/Chorus).


Insulted by the regent of France, Britain's King Henry V (Zenzi Williams) decides to wage war and claim the throne across the Channel. Resonating over the centuries, wherever there may be a kingdom for a stage and royalty to act, Shakespeare's drama about invasion, ego, and leadership delves into history's thorniest questions: What makes a person worthy of wearing the crown, and what do they owe the people they lead? But this time, our King is played with startling freshness by an African-American actress, unearthing new meaning to our little touch of Henry, as our King makes his way through this bloody campaign.

Furthering the mission of making great theater accessible to all, tickets to the MOBILE UNIT's run at The Public are FREE and are available via TodayTix mobile lottery and in-person distribution downtown at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street at Astor Place. On each public performance date, free tickets will be distributed in-person beginning 90 minutes prior to curtain, and via mobile lottery on the TodayTix app. Download the TodayTix app to enter or visit publictheater.org for more information.

HENRY V features scenic and costume design by Clint Ramos and original music by Elisheba Ittoop.

In 2017, THE MOBILE UNIT celebrated the 60th anniversary of its inaugural mobile tour in 1957 which began with a production of Romeo and Juliet, directed by Joseph Papp with Bryarly Lee and Stephen Joyce in the titular roles. The 1957 Mobile Unit tour received early support from New York City authorities. Stanley Lowell, then deputy mayor, was an early champion for free theater and mobilized city resources and departments to support Papp's production. The first Mobile Unit rolled up to performance venues across the city in borrowed Department of Sanitation vehicles with a wooden folding stage mounted to a truck bed and portable seating risers to accommodate 700 people per venue. The city's Parks Department permitted performances in local parks across all five boroughs. Subsequent productions included Two Gentlemen of Verona, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Henry V, The Taming of the Shrew, Ti-Jean and His Brothers, Take One Step, Unfinished Women Cry in No Man's Land While a Bird Dies in a Gilded Cage, and Volpone, among many others.

Recent MOBILE UNIT productions include The Winter's Tale; Twelfth Night; Hamlet; Romeo & Juliet; The Comedy of Errors; Measure for Measure; Richard III; Much Ado About Nothing; Pericles, Prince of Tyre; and Macbeth. This program reinforces The Public's commitment to the ongoing exploration of Shakespeare's canon, along with the new Public Shakespeare Initiative; the recent Public Works production of As You Like It staged at the Delacorte Theater for free; Free Shakespeare in the Park; and The Public's other affordable productions at its downtown home at Astor Place.

THE MOBILE UNIT is made possible with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Ford Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, The Tow Foundation, The Herbert McLaughlin Children's CLUT, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and JetBlue Airways. Additional support provided by Susan & David Edelstein and The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation provides lead support for The Public's access and engagement programming. The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust provides leadership support for The Public Theater's year-round activities.


Robert O'Hara (Director) has received the NAACP Best Director Award, the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, two Obies and the Oppenheimer Award. He directed the world premieres of Nikkole Salter and Danai Gurira's In the Continuum, Tarell McCraney's The Brother/Sister Plays (Part 2), Colman Domingo's Wild with Happy, Kirsten Childs' Bella: An American Tall Tale, as well as his own plays, Mankind, Bootycandy and Insurrection: Holding History. His recent plays Zombie: The American and Barbecue world premiered at Woolly Mammoth Theater and New York Shakespeare Festival, respectively. His recent directing projects include, Kirsten Childs' Bubbly Black Girl at City Center/Encores Off Center, the Universes' Uni/Son, inspired by the poetry of August Wilson, at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Shakespeare's Macbeth at Denver Center for the Performing Arts. He holds a Directing MFA from Columbia University.

ABOUT The Public Theater:

THE PUBLIC is theater of, by, and for the people. Artist-driven, radically inclusive, and fundamentally democratic, The Public continues the work of its visionary founder Joe Papp as a civic institution engaging, both on-stage and off, with some of the most important ideas and social issues of today. Conceived over 60 years ago as one of the nation's first nonprofit theaters, The Public has long operated on the principles that theater is an essential cultural force and that art and culture belong to everyone. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham, The Public's wide breadth of programming includes an annual season of new work at its landmark home at Astor Place, Free Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, The Mobile Unit touring throughout New York City's five boroughs, Public Forum, Under the Radar, Public Studio, Public Works, Public Shakespeare Initiative, and Joe's Pub. Since premiering HAIR in 1967, The Public continues to create the canon of American Theater and is currently represented on Broadway by the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Their programs and productions can also be seen regionally across the country and around the world. The Public has received 59 Tony Awards, 169 Obie Awards, 53 Drama Desk Awards, 54 Lortel Awards, 32 Outer Critic Circle Awards, 13 New York Drama Desk Awards, and 6 Pulitzer Prizes. publictheater.org

HENRY V will run at The Public Theater from Monday, April 23 through Sunday, May 13 in the Shiva Theater, with an official press opening on Friday, April 27.

Furthering the mission of making great theater accessible to all, tickets to the MOBILE UNIT's run at The Public are FREE and are available via TodayTix mobile Lottery and in-person distribution downtown at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street at Astor Place. On each public performance date, free tickets will be distributed in-person beginning 90 minutes prior to curtain, and via mobile lottery on the TodayTix app. Download the TodayTix app to enter or visit publictheater.org for more information.

The performance schedule at The Public will be Tuesday through Sunday at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. (There is an added performance on Monday, April 23 at 7:00 p.m. There are no performances on Saturday, April 28 at 2:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m.)

The Library at The Public is open nightly for food and drink, beginning at 5:30 p.m., and Joe's Pub at The Public continues to offer some of the best music in the city. For more information, visit www.publictheater.org.

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