Shakespeare in the Park's Much Ado About Nothing, With Lily Rabe and Hamish Linklater, Opens Tonight

Lily Rabe and Hamish Linklater co-star as would-be lovers Beatrice and Benedick, respectively, in the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park production of Much Ado About Nothing, which officially opens June 16 at the Delacorte Theater.

Lily Rabe and Hamish Linklater
Lily Rabe and Hamish Linklater (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Tony winner Jack O'Brien ( The Nance, Macbeth, Hairspray) stages the comedy that will continue through July 6. Much Ado About Nothing began previews June 3. Beginning in mid-July, the Delacorte will welcome King Lear, starring John Lithgow, Annette Bening, Jessica Collins and Jessica Hecht.

In addition to Rabe ( The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, "American Horror Story") and Linklater ( The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, Seminar), the cast of Much Ado features Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell (Don Pedro), Tony winner John Glover (Leonato), Steel Burkhardt (Balthasar), Austin Durant (Friar Francis, Sexton), David Manis (Antonio, Verges), Kathryn Meisle (Ursula), Ismenia Mendes (Hero), John Pankow (Dogberry), Pedro Pascal (Don John), Eric Sheffer Stevens (Borachio), Zoë Winters (Margaret), Jack Cutmore-Scott (Claudio), Matt Bittner, Alex Breaux, Paco Lozano, Matthew Russell, Carisa Cotera and Isabella Curti. 

According to the Public, Rabe and Linklater are "wise-cracking, would-be lovers Beatrice and Benedick in the beloved romantic comedy. Central Park becomes sun-drenched Sicily at the turn of the last century, where the heat of summer ignites the fevered passions of lovesick ladies in corsets and pining gentlemen spying from the verandah. Three-time Tony winner Jack O’Brien directs this delightful skirmish of wit between two self-declared bachelors tricked by their mischief-making friends into falling in love against their will and in spite of their own hearts."

Much Ado About Nothing has scenic design by John Lee Beatty, costume design by Jane Greenwood, lighting design by Jeff Croiter, sound design by ACME Sound Partners and original music by David Yazbek.

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.