Get Your Shakespeare Fix
There’s even more reason to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death this summer: plenty of free, outdoor Shakespeare on offer. Troilus and Cressida, the second show of the Public Theater’s free Shakespeare in the Park season, kicked off performances July 19 on the Delacorte stage in Central Park. Directed by Tony winner Daniel Sullivan, the production is playing through August 14. The golden tickets are distributed outside the theatre on the day of the show; or for the first time ever, tickets are available via the TodayTix app.
Just north of Central Park in Marcus Garvey Park, The Classical Theatre of Harlem presents free performances of Macbeth in the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater, through July 31 as part of Summer Stage. CHT’s unique production will be informed by Ethiopia during the time of Haile Selassie and Emperor of Ethiopia, 1916-1974; and will star Roslyn Ruff and Ty Jones as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
Summer Stage, New York City's largest, free outdoor festival presents an eclectic mix of events across all five boroughs, from the avant-garde, to opera and hip-hop, film to circus, and everything in between. Other highlights include Flight of the Conchords in Central Park; a master class in contemporary ballet with Jamel Gaines, the artistic director and founder of Creative Outlet Dance Theatre of Brooklyn; and the premiere of Igmar Thomas and the Revive Big Band’s A Journey Through the Legacy of Black Culture. The festival continues throughout the summer in various locations.
The New York Classical Theatre presents its second production of free Theatre in the Parks: Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, through August 7. Performances take place in The Battery (formerly Battery Park) and inside Castle Clinton. From August 9, the production moves to Brooklyn Bridge Park.
The Drilling Company’s Shakespeare in the Parking Lot returns for its 22nd year with two summer productions: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (through July 24) and The Merchant of Venice (July 28-August 14). The free performances take place in the Parking Lot behind The Clemente (Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center), located at 114 Norfolk Street in the Lower East Side.
See Some Stellar Dancing Downtown
The Battery Dance Festival returns downtown for its 35th year. New York’s longest-running free public dance festival never fails to draw large crowds who come to see some of the city’s best dancers perform against the breathtaking backdrop of the New York Harbor at Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park in Battery Park City. Performances run August 14-19.
Catch a Glimpse of Broadway in Bryant Park
The most popular shows on and Off-Broadway perform their biggest hits for free on the stage in Bryant Park every Thursday between 12:30 and 1:30 PM, presented by 106.7 LITE FM. Like you needed another excuse to spend your lunch outdoors? Running through August 11.
Manhattan doesn’t get all the fun; the radio station also offers Broadway in the Boros. Catch the casts of Broadway shows and stars such as Darren Criss in locations throughout Brooklyn and Queens.
Lincoln Center’s Free Outdoor Concerts
Lincoln Center’s LCOutofdoors kicked off July 20, presenting a mix of free live music concerts, spoken word and dance, all under the stars. The line-up includes Patti Smith, Darlene Love, Maurice Hines, Afropunk and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra. These events get busy, so make sure to arrive in advance and nab a good spot. With food trucks and a bar, there’s plenty to keep you busy while you wait.
Also check out Hudson River Park’s free outdoor concerts, sing-a-long screenings and sunset events.
Go on a Scavenger Hunt
Wander through the streets of lower Manhattan with Accomplice New York, a three-hour show that takes you with it! Up to 11 participants are transported into a theatrical story where The Boss has an important job for them – but are they cut out for a life of crime? Accomplice offers four other interactive theatre experiences including Accomplice The Village, a two-hour tour through one of the city’s most recognizable neighborhoods; Save the Big Apple, a full-day luxury expedition throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn; The Quest for the Seven Teeth, a children’s experience through Central Park; and The Quest for the Missing Slipper, a ladies night out based on the Cinderella fairy tale.
(Check back for continued updates as the warm weather continues!)