King Lear, Starring John Lithgow and Annette Bening, Opens in Central Park

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05 Aug 2014

John Lithgow
John Lithgow
Photo by Joan Marcus

The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park production of King Lear, starring Tony Award winner John Lithgow and Academy Award nominee Annette Bening, officially opens Aug. 5 after previews that began July 22 at the Delacorte Theater.

Lithgow (The Columnist, Sweet Smell of Success, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), who last appeared at the Delacorte in the 1975 production of Hamlet, stars as King Lear under the direction of Tony winner Daniel Sullivan (The Merchant of Venice, Proof). Performances run through Aug. 17. 

Bening ("American Beauty," Coastal Disturbances) portrays Goneril, with Jessica Collins ("Zero Dark Thirty") as Cordelia and Tony Award nominee Jessica Hecht (The Assembled Parties, The View from the Bridge) as Regan.

The cast also features Jeremy Bobb (Oswald), Steven Boyer (Fool), Glenn Fleshler (Cornwall), Slate Holmgren (King of France), Christopher Innvar (Albany), Chukwudi Iwuji (Edgar), Clarke Peters (Gloucester), Dale Place (Old Man, Curan), Jay O. Sanders (Kent), Eric Sheffer Stevens (Edmund), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Andrew Burnap, Christopher Ghaffari, Ryan-James Hatanaka, Matt Helm, Dave Klasko and Phillip Shinn.

Read the feature: No Puppets, Please: Steven Boyer on Playing the Fool to John Lithgow's Madness in Central Park King Lear

King Lear has scenic design by John Lee Beatty, costume design by Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Jeff Croiter, sound design by ACME Sound Partners and original music by Dan Moses Schreier.

According to the Public, "Revenge, rage, grief and delusion thunder upon the Delacorte as Tony Award winner Daniel Sullivan directs Shakespeare's classic drama about a King who loses everything—including his mind—when he disowns his favorite daughter, and finds himself betrayed in return."

Tickets to Shakespeare in the Park are free and are distributed, two per person, at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park the day of the show. The Public Theater is again offering free tickets through its Virtual Ticketing lottery at on the day of the show.

The Delacorte Theater in Central Park is accessible by entering at 81st Street and Central Park West or at 79th Street and Fifth Avenue.

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Jay O. Sanders, Annette Bening and John Lithgow
Photo by Joan Marcus