Public Theater to present Hercules, alongside Much Ado About Nothing and Coriolanus, in Central Park

The Public Theater reveals details of its 2019 Free Shakespeare in the Park season at the Delacorte Theater...

Tom Millward
Tom Millward

Exciting news of heroic proportions for fans of Disney's 1997 animated classic "Hercules"! The Public Theater has announced a brand new stage adaptation as part of its 2019 Free Shakespeare in the Park season at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.

To close out the summer season, the Public Works production of Hercules will run from August 31 through to September 8, 2019, directed by Lear deBessonet and presented by special arrangement with Disney Theatrical Productions.

DeBessonet commented: "Many generations of our Public Works families have embraced Disney musicals as a shared American canon. Hercules' roots in Greek mythology, infused with soulful gospel music, make it a natural extension of Public Works' radical exploration of humanity through Shakespeare and the classics. We're excited to see how this Public Works production will uncover the deeper meaning of what it means to be a hero and how true strength is derived, not from the greatness of one person, but the transformative power of community."

Alongside the Oscar-nominated "Go the Distance," as well as cherished songs such as "The Gospel Truth," "Zero to Hero," "I Won't Say (I'm in Love)," and "A Star Is Born" from the movie soundtrack, legendary Disney composer Alan Menken and lyricist David Zippel have written additional original songs for this world premiere stage musical. The production also features a new book by Kristoffer Diaz and choreography by Chase Brock.

Synopsis: "Public Works presents the glorious story of Hercules, brought to vibrant life by professional actors and community groups from across the city. Based on the Disney animated film, the stage musical features the film's beloved score, plus additional original songs by the film's composer Alan Menken and lyricist David Zippel. Journey with Hercules in this new stage adaptation that invites New Yorkers from all five boroughs to participate in a joyous musical that celebrates the heroes found in all of us."

The creative team behind Hercules also features music supervision & arrangements by Michael Kosarin, scenic design by Dane Laffrey, costume design by Andrea Hood, lighting design by Tyler Micoleau, sound design by Kai Harada and Jessica Paz, and wigs, hair & makeup design by Cookie Jordan.

The 1997 animated classic was Ron Clements, John Musker, Donald McEnery, Bob Shaw, and Irene Mecchi and directed by Ron Clements and John Musker.

In addition, the Public Theater also presents two free Shakespeare in the Park productions this summer.

Firstly, Tony Award winner Kenny Leon directs Shakespeare's romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing, which will play the Delacorte Theater from May 21 through to June 23, 2019, with an official opening set for June 11.

Synopsis: "In this modern production, a bold new take on Shakespeare's cherished comedy of romantic retribution and miscommunication, we find the community of Messina celebrating a break from an ongoing war. But not all is peaceful amid the revelry, as old rivals engage in a battle of wits, unexpected foes plot revenge, and young lovers are caught in a tumultuous courtship - until love proves the ultimate trickster, and undoes them all."

Previous Shakespeare in the Park productions of Much Ado About Nothing have been staged in 1972, 1988, 2004, and 2014.

Secondly, Tony Award winner Daniel Sullivan will helm a rare Shakespeare in the Park revival of Shakespeare's war-torn tragedy Coriolanus, scheduled to run from July 16 through to August 11, 2019, with an official opening on August 5.

Synopsis: "Shakespeare in the Park presents Coriolanus, the Bard's blistering drama about a general voted into power by a populace hungry for change, and the unraveling that follows. Tony Award winner Daniel Sullivan directs a modern-day version of this riveting epic of democracy and demagoguery."

Coriolanus has only been staged twice before in the 57-year history of Shakespeare in the Park - in 1965 and 1979.

Casting for all three summer productions will be announced at a later date.

(Photo credited to Disney)

Originally published on

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