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Shakespeare in the Park to present Hamlet and the musical Hair

The Public Theater has announced today that this years' Shakespeare in the Park summer season will present Hamlet and the musical Hair.

William Shakespeare's Hamlet, directed by Oskar Eustis, will star Michael Stuhlbarg (Hamlet) and Richard Easton (Polonius). The show will play at the Delacorte Theater from 27 May - 29 Jun 2008.

Hamlet: A young man haunted by his father's ghost and driven to the edge of madness in his obsession to avenge his death.

Hamlet has not been staged at The Delacorte Theater since 1975 when Sam Waterston played the title role.

Michael Stuhlbarg (Hamlet): Broadway credits include 'The Pillowman' (Tony Award Nomination), 'The Invention of Love,' 'Cabaret,' 'Taking Sides,' 'Timon Of Athens,' 'The Government Inspector,' and 'Saint Joan.' He has performed at The Public in 'Measure for Pleasure,' 'Twelfth Night,' 'The Winter's Tale,' 'A Dybbuk,' 'Henry VIII,' 'Richard II' (title role), 'All's Well That Ends Well' and 'Woyzeck.'

Richard Easton (Polonius): Broadway credits include 'The Coast of Utopia' trilogy, 'The Rivals,' 'Henry IV,' 'The Invention of Love '(Tony Award winner),' 'Noises Off,' 'Exit the King,' 'The Misanthrope,' 'The Cherry Orchard,' 'Hamlet,' 'Cock-a-Doodle-Dandy,' 'Back to Methuselah,' 'The Country Wife,' and 'School for Scandal.'

Oskar Eustis (Hamlet Director) became the Artistic Director of The Public Theater in 2005. Directing credits include: Paula Vogel's 'The Long Christmas Ride Home' (world premiere, Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Production), 'Homebody/Kabul' (Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Production), 'The Ruby Sunrise' (world premiere) and Angels in America, Part I: Millennium Approaches' (Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director), among many others.

Jonathan Groff as Claude in 'Hair'

Following the success of the 40th Anniversary concert celebration of Hair last September in the Park, The Public Theater will stage a full production of the musical from 22 Jul - 18 Aug 2008.

Diane Paulus will once again direct a cast of 27 led by Jonathan Groff and Will Swenson who will revive their roles as Claude and Berger, respectively. While the full company is being invited back, complete casting won't be confirmed for a few weeks.

Hair: The year is 1967, and the Vietnam War is at its height. In New York City, a tribe of hippies rails against the establishment, protesting intolerance, brutality, and the dehumanization of society. When Claude, one of their own, gets drafted, he must make a decision about what values are worth fighting for.

Hair was the show that, in 1967, officially opened The Public Theater's long-time home on Lafayette Street. With book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot, HAIR has the distinction of being the first off-Broadway musical to transfer to Broadway. It moved to Broadway on April 29, 1968 and ran for 1,873 performances.

Jonathan Groff (Claude) can currently be seen on Broadway as Melchior in Spring Awakening fhe had previously appeared on Broadway in 'In My Life.' Other theatrical credits include: 'The Sound of Music' (Rolf), 'Fame '(Nick), 'Honk!' (Ugly) and 'Bat Boy' (Bat Boy).

Will Swenson (Berger) Broadway credits include '110 In The Shade' (Roundabout), 'Lestat,' and 'Brooklyn.' He has performed at The Public in 'Two Gentlemen Of Verona'.

Diane Paulus (Hair Director) is the creator and director of 'The Donkey Show,' which ran for six years off-Broadway and toured internationally. Other Off-Broadway credits include 'Swimming With Watermelons,' 'Brutal Imagination' and the Obie-winning 'Eli's Comin.'

"What a piece of work is man!" said Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. "Both Park shows this year center on idealistic brilliant men as they struggle to find their place in a world marred by war, violence, and venal politics. They see both the luminous possibilities and the harshest realities of being human. In the end, unable to effectively combat the evil around them, they tragically succumb. Hamlet and Hair represent both sides of The Public's twin mission to create productions of Shakespeare that speak to our time and new work that is Shakespearean in its aspirations."

Bank of America will return as the 2008 season sponsor, supporting The Public's mission to keep 'Shakespeare in the Park' free.

Jonathan Groff as Claude in 'Hair'

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