Tony Award nominee Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal) helms Winter's Tale, Shakespeare's late-career "romance," which follows The Merchant of Venice as the second summer production to open in rep at the Delacorte. The latter production, directed by Tony Award-winning director Daniel Sullivan (Proof), began performances June 12 and opened June 30. Both productions will run through Aug. 1.
Theatregoers take note: Although The Public Theater has billed July 1 as the official press opening for The Winter's Tale, there is no performance at the Delacorte scheduled Thursday night. Performances resume July 2.
The Winter's Tale stars Tony Award nominee Linda Emond (Life (x) 3, A Spanish Play) as wronged queen Hermione and Tony winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Seven Guitars, Jelly's Last Jam) as the king who cracks, Leontes.
The repertory acting company also features Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Young Shepherd/Lord/Launcelot Gobbo), Jesse L. Martin (Polixenes/Gratiano), Max Wright (Old Shepherd/Prince of Arragon), Bill Heck (Lord/Lorenzo), Hamish Linklater (Autolycus/Lord/Bassanio), Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Paulina/Nerissa), Gerry Bamman (Antigonus/Duke of Venice), Francois Battiste (Florizel/Lord/Salerio), Byron Jennings (Camillo/Antonio), Heather Lind (Perdita/Jessica), Nyambi Nyambi (Lord/Prince of Morocco), Matthew Rauch (Dion/Jailer/Solanio) and Richard Topol (Lord/Tubal).
The ensemble includes Happy Anderson, Liza J. Bennett, Tyler Caffall, Cary Donaldson, Luke Forbes, Bryce Gill, Shalita Grant, Jade Hawk, Bethany Heinrich, Tia James, Kelsey Kurz, Brian Macdonald, Alexander Maier, Dorien Makhloghi and Joe Short. (Emond and Santiago-Hudson do not appear in Merchant of Venice, which stars Pacino as Shylock opposite Lily Rabe (Steel Magnolias, Heartbreak House) as Portia. Both Pacino and Rabe exclusively appear in Merchant.)
Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis previously spoke with Playbill.com about creating a repertory company for the 2010 Shakespeare in the Park season: "I come from a tradition of companies, I've almost always worked with companies. Particularly with Shakespeare, the way you get work with the highest quality is to have artists work together over time. This is the smallest possible unit of time that we can form for a company," he said.
"What I hope is that the audience is going to get some of the pleasures of rep that New York audiences have been denied in major venues," he added. "The ability to go to the theatre two nights in a row and see two different shows and see the same actors assaying completely different roles is delightful. It's really fun for audiences."
Designing the productions are Mark Wendland (scenic design), Jess Goldstein (costume design for Merchant), Clint Ramos (costume design for Winter's Tale), Kenneth Posner (lighting design) and Acme Sound Partners (sound design).
Performances of Shakespeare in the Park are Tuesday-Sunday at 8 PM. Tickets are free and are available on the day of the performance (two per person) at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park beginning at 1 PM, or by entering the Public's online ticketing lottery at ShakespeareinthePark.org.
The closest entrances to the Delacorte are located at 81st Street and Central Park West or 79th Street and Fifth Avenue.