The musical will play Aug. 16-Sept. 11 and be directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall—her first major assignment since winning a Tony Award for her choreography of Wonderful Town.
The first summer show by The Public Theater at the Delacorte Theater this summer is As You Like It, with Brian Bedford, Jennifer Ikeda, Richard Thomas and James Waterston in the cast. The Rivals' Mark Lamos directs the June 25-July 17 run.
Verona holds a big place in the Public's history. It was the first Public Theater production to transfer to Broadway. The show made its 1971 debut at the Delacorte, with Shapiro directing a cast featuring Raul Julia and Clifton Davis. The locale of the play was switched from Milan and Verona to New York City and Puerto Rico, and the 1971 text made references to contemporary issues such as Vietnam and psychoanalysis.
Dawson, cast as Julia, will play Mimi in the upcoming film of Rent. She is known for such films as "The 25th Hour" and "He Got Game." Lawrence, who will play Lucetta, is a veteran of Urinetown. The show's Valentine, Norm Lewis' most recent credit was Dessa Rose at Lincoln Center. Constabile, playing Launce, was in Caroline, or Change.
According to the book "It's a Hit," Joseph Papp attended a rehearsal and thought the show a disaster. He proceeded to reconfigure it drastically. When it opened, critics were enthusiastic. Verona transferred to the St. James Theatre where it ran for 613 performances. It won 1972 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical (Guare's only Tony Award to date), and a nomination for Best Original Score. Stockard Channing and Jeff Goldblum played bit roles in the Broadway staging. Channing later headed a national tour.
According to the Public, the show "will be re-imagined by the original creative team as part of The Public's 50th anniversary celebration."