May 21, 2019 to June 23, 2019
Shakespeare in the Park is a program that stages Shakespearean plays at the open-air Delacorte Theater in Central Park.
The festival was originally started by director Joseph Papp in 1954, and now runs annually with approximately 80,000 attendees every year.
The creation of the Delacorte Theater stemmed from a legal battle between Joseph Papp and parks commissioner Robert Moses when Papp refused to charge a cover for his productions of Shakespearean plays to deal with “grass erosion”. The battle originated the quote “well, let’s build the bastard a theater”. In 1961, the theater was built. The first performance held in 1962 was Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.
Many of the plays put on at Shakespeare in the Park have gone on to Broadway and the festival has also attracted many acclaimed actors such as Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman and Al Pacino.
While shows begin in the early evening, the audience is able to experience the sunset throughout the play, being draw into the illuminated action on the stage.
Between May 21st and June 23rd, the theater will present “Much Ado About Nothing”, directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon in a new take on this cherished comedy of romantic retribution and miscommunication.
Between July 16th and August 11st,for the first time since 1979, Coriolanus takes the stage at the Delacorte Theater, directed by Tony Award winner Daniel Sullivan.
Tickets to the performances are free and are distributed the same day as the performance outside the Delacorte Theater at noon. The line forms when the park opens at 6am so be sure to arrive early and guarantee your spot!
Alternatively, a limited number of vouchers are distributed a location’s throughout NYC’s five boroughs on certain days. Other ways to guarantee tickets include an in-person lottery at the Public Theater or virtually through TodayTix.