Public Theater announces 2020 Shakespeare in the Park season
The Public presents Richard II and a return of the Public Works' production of As You Like It at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.
Kicking off the season will be a rare revival of Shakespeare's Richard II, directed by Saheem Ali, marking the drama's first Shakespeare in the Park presentation in over 30 years. The only other production of the play was staged in 1987, starring Peter MacNicol as the titular character.
Synopsis: "The last of the divinely anointed monarchs ascends to the throne in Shakespeare’s Richard II. When King Richard banishes his cousin Henry Bolingbroke and deprives him of his inheritance, he unwittingly creates an enemy who will ultimately force him from the throne. One of the Bard’s only dramas entirely in verse, this epic and intimate play presents the end of the Medieval Age and the rise of the house of Lancaster through a riveting tale of lost sovereignty, political intrigue, and psychological complexity."
Richard II will run from May 19 through June 21, 2020, with an official opening set for June 15. Casting and additional creative team information will be announced in the coming months.
Following this, the Public will bring back the 2017 Public Works' production of Shakespeare's As You Like It for a full 4-week run. Adaptated by Shaina Taub and Laurie Woolery, with a score by Ms. Taub, the production is directed by Ms. Woolery and choreographed by Sonya Tayeh.
Synopsis: "Public Works’ As You Like It is an immersive tale of faithful friends, feuding families, and lovers in disguise. Forced from their homes, Orlando, Duke Senior, his daughter Rosalind, and niece Celia escape to the Forest of Arden, a fantastical place of transformation, where all are welcomed and embraced. Banished into the forest, they find community and acceptance under the stars."
Reprising their respective roles from the 2017 production will be Darius de Haas (as Duke Senior), Joél Pérez (as Touchstone), and Shaina Taub herself (as Jaques). Additional casting will be announced at a later date.
As You Like It begins performances on July 14, 2020, ahead of an official opening on August 3 and a limited run through August 8, 2020.
With Richard II and As You Like It, the Public Theater continues a 58-year tradition of free theater in Central Park, the cornerstone of its mission to increase access and engage the New York community. The Free Shakespeare in the Park program was conceived and founded by Joseph Papp in 1962 and since then, over five million people have been entertained by more then 150 free productions of Shakespearian tales, as well as musicals and other classical works.
(Shaina Taub photo by Shervin Lainez)