Protesters Interrupt June 16 Performance of Public Theater's Julius Caesar

Off-Broadway News   Protesters Interrupt June 16 Performance of Public Theater's Julius Caesar The Public Theater later tweeted that those who interrupted the controversial take on Shakespeare’s political drama were paid protesters.
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Gregg Henry and the company Joan Marcus

The June 16 performance of The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar was interrupted by protesters, according to various postings on Twitter.

Time writer Charlotte Alter posted a video of the protesters, who "stormed the stage during the assassination scene." A woman can be heard shouting, "Shame on all of you," while the man yelled, "You are Nazis. Goebbels in the crowd."

Howard Sherman, the former executive director of the American Theatre Wing, also posted three statements about the evening: "At JULIUS CAESAR, during assassination, woman runs on stage saying, 'Stop the normalization of violence against the right.' Escorted out.

"Second JULIUS CAESAR audience member shouting from sets about Goebbels. Escorted out.

"Stage management asks, via sound system, for JULIUS CAESAR cast to resume from, 'Freedom. Liberty.' Standing ovation."

Later in the evening, the Public Theater issued a series of tweets saying those who interrupted the performance were paid protesters.

The Public Theater tweets also stated, "While we are champions of the first amendment, this interruption unfortunately was part of a paid strategy driven by social media. Thank you to our staff and security who worked to peacefully remove them from the theater......so we could continue with our evening of Free Shakespeare in the Park."

Artistic Director Oskar Eustis directed the political drama at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, which began performances May 23.

The staging of Shakespeare's classic has come under scrutiny for its Donald Trump-like portrayal of the assassinated title character. Recently, both Delta Air Lines and Bank of America announced that they were withdrawing their sponsorship of the production.

Julius Caesar is scheduled to run through June 18.

View photos from the production below:

The cast comprises Tina Benko as Calpurnia, Teagle F. Bougere as Casca, Yusef Bulos as Cinna the Poet, Eisa Davis as Decius Brutus, Robert Gilbert as Octavius, Gregg Henry as Caesar, Edward James Hyland as Lepidus, Popilius, Nikki M. James as Portia, Christopher Livingston as Titinius, Cinna, Elizabeth Marvel as Antony, Chris Myers as Flavius, Messala, and Ligarius, Marjan Neshat as Metullus Cimber, Corey Stoll as Marcus Brutus, John Douglas Thompson as Caius Cassius, Natalie Woolams-Torres as Marullus, Isabel Arraiza as Publius Clitus, and Erick Betancourt, Mayaa Boateng as Soothsayer, Motell Foster as Trebonius, and Dash King, Tyler La Marr as Lucillius, Gideon McCarty; Nick Selting as Lucius and Strato, Alexander Shaw as Octavius’ Servant, Michael Thatcher as Cobbler, and Justin Walker White as Pindarus.

This Shakespeare in the Park production will be followed by the popular comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream—a story of young love, fantasy, and fairies, directed by Lear deBessonet.

The cast of A Midsummer Night's Dream includes Bhavesh Patel as Theseus, Phylicia Rashad as Titania, Annaleigh Ashford as Helena, and Kristine Nielsen as Puck. Performances will begin July 11 in Central Park, where it will play through August 13.

Read: PHYLICIA RASHAD AND MORE JOIN PUBLIC THEATER'S SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK SEASON

Free tickets are distributed, two per person, at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park beginning at noon on the day of each performance. TodayTix is also offering an exclusive Mobile Ticket Lottery for Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night's Dream, with tickets available via the TodayTix app. Visit PublicTheater.org.

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