By Kenneth Jones
08 Mar 2012
Tony Award-winning director Daniel Sullivan's production of Shakespeare's most music-filled play will feature a live bluegrass band. "Sullivan will set the play's famous Forest of Arden in the rural American South, circa 1840, where folk and roots music perfectly capture the mood of the time," according to a statement from the Public.
Previews for As You Like It will begin June 5 and continue to June 30 at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. This summer marks the 50th summer of free Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte.
Joining the previously announced Tony nominee Lily Rabe (of The Public and Broadway's The Merchant of Venice and Broadway's current Seminar), who will play Rosalind, will be MacIntyre Dixon (Adam); Renee Elise Goldsberry (Celia); and Omar Metwally (Oliver). Additional casting will be announced.
The Public also announced dates for its summer run of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods, directed by Timothy Sheader and co-directed by Liam Steel. It will play the Delacorte July 23-Aug. 25. Opening is Aug. 9.
The 2012 Shakespeare in the Park summer production of Into the Woods is based on the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre London Production, produced by Timothy Sheader and William Village for Regent's Park Theatre Ltd. Casting will be announced later.
Into the Woods features scenic design by John Lee Beatty and Soutra Gilmour; costume design by Emily Rebholz; movement direction by Liam Steel; and sound design by Acme Sound Partners.
Martin, the film actor and screenwriter ("The Jerk," "Pennies From Heaven," "Shopgirl," "L.A. Story," "Roxanne"), novelist and playwright, has yet to make a Broadway acting appearance, though he did play Vladimir in Lincoln Center Theater's Off-Broadway production of Waiting for Godot (under the direction of Mike Nichols) in 1988. His plays, produced Off-Broadway and around the world, include The Underpants, Picasso at the Lapin Agile and WASPs and Other Plays (for The Public).
Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers' latest album, "Rare Bird Alert," debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Bluegrass Chart and at No. 43 on the Billboard Top 200. The album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album and features 13 new Martin-penned tracks, including a live version of "King Tut," and special guest vocals by Paul McCartney and the Dixie Chicks.
Tickets to Shakespeare in the Park are free. They are distributed, two per person, at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park the day of the show. The Public Theater will again offer free tickets through its Virtual Ticketing lottery at www.shakespeareinthepark.org on the day of the show.
In honor of five decades at the Delacorte, The Public Theater launched the 50th Anniversary Fellows Program this year to help support free Shakespeare in the Park for years to come. For more information on the Fellows Program, call (212) 967-7555 or visit www.shakespeareinthepark.org.
Summer Supporter Tickets, first conceived by Joe Papp, will be available for As You Like It and Into the Woods beginning March 8. A fully tax-deductible contribution of $175 entitles each Supporter to one reserved seat for either production. A limited number of Summer Supporter seats are available to ensure that as many free seats as possible will be available to distribute to the general public on the day of the show.
Supporter contributions help to underwrite free Shakespeare in the Park.
Summer Supporter donations can be made at The Public Theater Box Office at 425 Lafayette Street, by phone at (212) 967-7555, or online at www.publictheater.org.