The Public Theater

The Public Theater sets 2023-24 season

The season contains seven plays and musicals, many making their world and New York premieres, including offerings from Alicia Keys and Suzan-Lori Parks.

Gillian Russo
Gillian Russo

The Public Theater has announced its 2023-24 season, containing seven fully staged productions at its building on Lafayette Street alongside additional programming throughout the year.

The season begins with the Public Works musical adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest, with music and lyrics by Benjamin Velez and direction by Obie Award winner and director of Public Works Laurie Woolery. Performances run August 27 to September 3.

In this version, Prospero is reimagined as a woman, who has been abandoned on an island with her daughter for 10 years and finally gets closer to justice. As part of the Public Works program, the cast will feature New Yorkers from all five boroughs.

On the creative side, The Tempest also features scenic design by Alexis Distler; costume design by Wilberth Gonzalez; lighting design by David Weiner; sound design by Jessica Paz; hair, wig, and makeup design by Krystal Balleza; orchestrations by Mike Brun; music coordination by Kristy Norter, and music direction by Andrea Grody.

Next, from October 4-14 is the New York premiere of Druid Theatre's DruidO’Casey, comprising Sean O'Casey's three Dublin Trilogy plays: The Plough and the Stars, The Shadow of a Gunman, and Juno and the Paycock. Garry Hynes will direct this epic about the toll of war on Ireland, with 18 actors playing more than 40 characters.

The world-premiere musical Hell's Kitchen will run from October 24 to December 10, with opening night on November 19. Alicia Keys penned the music and lyrics, and the story by Kristoffer Diaz is loosely based on Keys's own experiences. The coming-of-age musical follows an ambitious daughter with big dreams, who faces hard truths about race and defiance but also finds an opportunity to create the future she wants. Michael Greif directs, and Camille A. Brown choreographs.

The cast of Hell's Kitchen includes Shoshana Bean as Jersey, Chad Carstarphen as Ray, Brandon Victor Dixon as Davis, Vanessa Ferguson as Tiny, Crystal Monee Hall as Crystal, Chris Lee as Knuck, Jackie Leon as Jessica, Kecia Lewis as Miss Liza Jane, Maleah Joi Moon as Ali, Mariand Torres as Maria, and Lamont Walker II as Riq.

Reid Clarke, Chloe Davis, Sarah Parker, Timothy L. Edwards, Nico DeJesus, Raechelle Manalo, and Niki Saludez round out the ensemble, and Badia Farha, Gianna Harris, Onyxx Noel, William Roberson, Donna Vivino are understudies.

Hell's Kitchen features scenic design by Robert Brill, costume design by Dede Ayite, lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Gareth Owens, projection design by Peter Nigrini, and hair and wig design by Mia Neal.

Next, Woolery directs the New York premiere of Mary Kathryn Nagle’s Manahatta, about a Native American woman named Jane Snake who reconnects with her title homeland when she takes an NYC banking job just before the 2008 financial crisis. Performances run from November 16 to December 17, with an opening on December 5.

Itamar Moses, a Tony Award winner for The Band's Visit, brings the world premiere of his play The Ally to the Public next. In February 2024, Lila Neugebauer directs the play about a man who makes a social justice commitment that ends up challenging who he is as a liberal, a husband, an academic, an American, an atheist, and a Jew. Josh Radnor stars as Asaf; additional casting has yet to be announced.

In March 2024, the Public will present the New York premiere of Suzan-Lori Parks's Sally & Tom. In this dramedy, a small theatre troupe is putting on a play about Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson. Mirroring the troublesome power dynamic between the former president and the enslaved woman, the play's writer Luce is cast as Sally, and her romantic partner, and the play’s director, Mike, plays Tom. Steve H. Broadnax III directs.

Finally, in April 2024, Whitney White will direct the world premiere of Ife Olujobi's Jordans. A long-suffering Black employee at a mostly white workplace finds an unexpected ally in the hip new Black employee they hired, but their ambition also tears them apart.

All these productions will have a Joseph Papp Free Performance at which all tickets are free and distributed via lottery. Additionally, throughout the season, various concert residencies will take place at Joe's Pub.

Originally published on

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