Two Gentlemen of Verona Musical Replaces Midsummer in Central Park in 2005

News   Two Gentlemen of Verona Musical Replaces Midsummer in Central Park in 2005 The Public Theater has replaced the previously announced Central Park staging of A Midsummer Night's Dream with a revival of the John Guare-Mel Shapiro-Galt MacDermot musical adaptation of The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
A scene from the original Broadway production of Two Gentlemen of Verona
A scene from the original Broadway production of Two Gentlemen of Verona Photo by Friedman-Abeles

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. George C. Wolfe was to have directed Midsummer's Night Dream. The first show at the Delacorte Theater remains As You Like It, with Brian Bedford, Jennifer Ikeda, Richard Thomas and James Waterston in the cast. The Rivals' Mark Lamos will direct 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.

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.

No casting has been announced for the new production.

According to the Public, the show "will be re-imagined by the original creative team as part of The Public's 50th anniversary celebration."