The Public's Free HENRY V Mobile Unit Announces Casting & Tour Stops
Continuing its commitment to bringing free Shakespeare to the community and strengthening audience engagement with the arts, The Public Theater will mount its MOBILE UNIT again this spring with a free three-week tour to the five boroughs of Shakespeare's HENRY V, directed by Robert O'Hara.Now in its eighth year, the Mobile Unit's free tour (March 29 - April 21) brings Shakespeare and other works to audiences who have limited or no access to the arts by visiting correctional facilities, homeless shelters, social service organizations, and other community venues. 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, the three-week engagement of HENRY V at The Public Theater will also be free, running Monday, April 23 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), Leland Fowler (Scroop/William-Bates), Patrice Johnson (Montjoy/Messengers), Carolyn Kettig(Katharine/Cambridge), Ariel Shafir (Westmoreland/Constable), David Ryan Smith (Exeter/Governor), Joe Tapper (French King/French Queen), Zenzi Williams (Henry), and Kim Wong(Alice/Grey).
"Robert O'Hara is one of our most electrifying theater artists, and his version of Shakespeare's masterpiece of war, invasion, and what it takes to be a king is sure to be astonishing," said Artistic Director Oskar Eustis.
Obie Award-winning director Robert O'Hara brings a warring King and their band of brothers to communities all across New York with the Mobile Unit's spring production of HENRY V. Insulted by the regent of France, Britain's King Henry V decides to wage war and claim the throne across the Channel. But Henry's charm only distracts the soldiers for so long before the dire stakes of their task calls into question the King's true motives and direction. Resonating from across 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?
"The Mobile Unit is fueled by an unwavering belief in the power of a shared storytelling, and a commitment to meeting audiences where they are," said Director of Special Artistic Projects Stephanie Ybarra. "I'm thrilled to welcome this company of artists to join The Public's decades-old legacy of creating world-class theater for the city of New York."
All tour performances are free, and performances at The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center; Roy Wilkins Recreation Center; The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; Brownsville Recreation Center; Williamsbridge Oval Recreation Center; St. Paul's Chapel; Pelham Fritz Recreation Center; and Faber Park Field House, are also open to the general public via RSVP at publictheater.org. To further the mission and reach of the MOBILE UNIT, tickets for each performance of the limited run at The Public Theater will be given to community organizations that are unable to host a visit from the tour.
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.
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.
VOICES FROM THE COMMUNITY ON THE PUBLIC'S MOBILE UNIT
"I do not know if I have ever been so moved by a theatrical work in my life."
-Highbridge Recreation Center Audience Member
By doing so, you have made every inmate's day -
and somehow drawn a clear glass of water from a muddy well."
- Riker's Island Audience Member
"You took an everyday space and made it something more, something special."
- Queens Public Library Audience Member
"I feel emotional because it is the first time that I am in a theater."
-DreamYard Art Center Audience Member
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.
TOUR DATES WILL INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING VENUES (March 29 - April 21):
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, Manhattan, is a one-of-a-kind organization that empowers community members to lead healthy, successful lives (March 29).
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House/Women's Mental Health Shelter, Manhattan, provides short-term, safe, and supportive environments to address immediate needs for mentally ill homeless women (March 30).
Roy Wilkins Recreation Center, Queens, is a park and recreation center, and this public space is a cultural touchstone for all of New York City (April 3).
Queensboro Correctional Facility, Queens, is a minimum security correctional facility in Long Island City (April 4).
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Manhattan, houses one of the world's most extensive collections in its field, available free of charge (April 6).
Brownsville Recreation Center, Brooklyn, a Public Works community partner, is a NYC Parks and Recreation center located in the Brownsville Playground with extensive resources for youth and seniors. The center offers a vibrant space to tap into pursuits artistic and athletic alike (April 11).
Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn, is a U.S. federal administrative detention facility, which holds male and female prisoners of all security levels (April 13).
Williamsbridge Oval Recreation Center, Bronx, is a NYC Parks and Recreation center located in the Bronx (April 14).
Taconic Correctional Facility, Westchester, is a medium security facility for women in New York (April 17).
St. Paul's Chapel, Manhattan, part of Trinity Wall Street, is an Episcopal parish that has been a part of New York City since 1697 (April 19).
Pelham Fritz Recreation Center, Manhattan, is a NYC Parks and Recreation center located in Harlem (April 20).
Faber Park Field House, Staten Island, is a NYC Parks and Recreation center located in Staten Island (April 21).
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
All tour performances are free, and performances at The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center; Roy Wilkins Recreation Center; The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; Brownsville Recreation Center; Williamsbridge Oval Recreation Center; St. Paul's Chapel; Pelham Fritz Recreation Center; and Faber Park Field House are also open to the general public via RSVP at publictheater.org. Please check The Public's website for the most up-to-date performance times.
Following the Mobile Unit tour of the five boroughs, 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.