Tony Award winner Jack O'Brien ( The Nance, Macbeth, Hairspray) will stage the comedy Much Ado About Nothing, which begins June 3 at the Delacorte Theater. Rabe ( The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, "American Horror Story") and Linklater ( The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, Seminar) will co-star in the five-week run that will play through July 6.
Lithgow ( The Columnist, Sweet Smell of Success, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), who last appeared at the Delacorte in the 1975 production of Hamlet, will star as King Lear under the direction of Tony winner Daniel Sullivan ( The Merchant of Venice, Proof). Performances will run July 22-Aug. 17.
"This summer, Shakespeare in the Park features two of the greatest plays ever written: the magnificent comedy Much Ado About Nothing and the towering tragedy of King Lear," Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis said in a statement. "We are welcoming back three of The Public's most beloved Shakespeareans of the past decade, Dan Sullivan, Lily Rabe and Hamish Linklater. And we are proud that one of America's greatest theatre artists, Jack O'Brien, will be making his Delacorte debut and that the amazingly talented John Lithgow will be returning to the Park after an inexplicable 35-year absence. It will be a miraculous summer."
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 will again offer free tickets through its Virtual Ticketing lottery at shakespeareinthepark.org 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.