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Shakespeare in the Park: A New York City Tradition

Shakespeare in the Park: A New York City Tradition

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Nearly 60 years since its inception, Shakespeare in the Park continues to deliver ‘theater of, by, and for all people.’

Since 1962, Shakespeare in the Park has brought theater to the masses with their large-scale productions of William Shakespeare’s most famous works. With a multitude of talent that has included Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Blythe Danner, Denzel Washington, and many other Hollywood stars, the acting is as impressive as the backdrop.

Delacorte Theater, the venue for Shakespeare in the Park, is an open-air stage in New York City’s famed Central Park. Set against a contrasting landscape of city skyline and natural beauty, the theater’s productions hold an air of mystique and allure. Belvedere Castle, a Central Park landmark since its construction in 1869, rises majestically in the background, putting the finishing touch on the venue’s ambiance.

Produced by The Public Theater, performances have drawn over 5 million people from countries all over the world for nearly 60 years. The mission of the Public Theater is to remain a “theater of, by, and for all people. It’s 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.

While the Delacorte hosts productions from other genres, including those by up and coming playwrights and musical composers, Shakespeare in the Park continues to be one of the most popular events in the city. Although tickets are free, they are hard to get and in short supply.

The Delacorte offers tickets through a digital lottery to help ensure accessibility. Tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis. Many wait in line for hours in hopes of snagging a seat.

Sure, it’s December. But already New Yorkers are thinking about the next season of Shakespeare in the Park.

Summertime fun

Shakespeare in the Park runs from late May until early August each year. Performances generally take place Tuesday through Sunday at 8 pm. Some engagements offer special performances and additional shows throughout the year. One thing is certain: the Delacorte’s 1,800 seats are always filled to capacity.

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The 2019 season brought one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known characters to life in, Coriolanus. Played by Jonathan Cake, the namesake character is a hapless Roman hero with a “mama’s boy” complex. The New York Theatre Guide said of the performance, “Sexy, dirty and reflective of politics hijacking humanity, this production of Coriolanus is a pretty satisfying bit of entertainment.”

New Yorkers eagerly await spring for another season of Shakespeare at the beloved Delacorte. The Public Theater offers plenty of shows and events throughout the year. To tide over theater devotees while they await the announcement of next year’s season of Shakespeare in the Park.

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