PHOTO CALL: Steven Pasquale, Alec Baldwin, James Earl Jones, Cynthia Nixon, Jessica Chastain Celebrate the Bard With Free Shakespeare Event

The Public Theater presented "Shakespeare in America," a free, one-night-only performance and discussion at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, June 30 at 8 PM. Steven Pasquale, Alec Baldwin, James Earl Jones, Whitney Bashor and Jessica Chastain were among the stars performing Shakespeare's text or offering songs inspired by his plays.

The evening also promised appearances by Annette Bening, Jackie Hoffman, E.L. Doctorow, Bryan Stevenson, Justin Levine, Micah Stock, Elizabeth Alexander, Sarah Amengual, Billy Collins, Brian Dennehy, Colman Domingo, Colin Donnell, Michael Friedman, Renée Elise Goldsberry, André Holland, Harold Holzer, Stephin Merritt, Cynthia Nixon, Annie-B Parson, Bryce Pinkham, Caesar Samoyoa, Vijay Seshadri and Michael Stuhlbarg.

According to the Public, the event explored "how Shakespeare has challenged and inspired the American people, from poets to presidents. This free one-night-only event will feature scenes from Shakespeare’s greatest works performed by some of America’s greatest actors, songs from musicals inspired by the Bard, as well as excerpts from the newly released Library of America book, 'Shakespeare in America,' edited by Public Theater Shakespeare scholar in residence James Shapiro, which includes speeches, interviews, and other writings about Shakespeare’s influence on American culture."

Highlights included Jones reading a scene from Othello; Baldwin reading scenes from Macbeth; O'Hara and Goldsberry singing from the Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night; Doctorow reading a landmark piece of American writing on Shakespeare; and Pasquale singing Tony in the "Tonight" duet from West Side Story.