This summer, The Public Theater will continue its Free Shakespeare in the Park with the rarely seen Richard II, directed by Saheem Ali, followed by a return, four-week run of Shaina Taub and Laurie Woolery's musical adaptation of As You Like It, previously seen at the Delacorte as part of the 2017 Public Works lineup.
As is the tradition, both shows will be free and open to the public.
Appearing in Central Park for the first time in 30 years, Richard II will run May 19–June 21, with casting to be announced.
In Richard II, Shakespeare weaves a drama of lost sovereignty, political intrigue, and psychological complexity. When King Richard banishes his cousin Henry Bolingbroke and deprives him of his inheritance, he unwittingly creates an enemy who will ultimately force him from the throne.
As You Like It, the Bard’s dream-like tale of faithful friends, feuding families, and lovers in disguise, will run July 14–August 18, with direction by Woolery and choreography by Sonya Tayeh. Forced to seek refuge in the Forest of Arden, Orlando, Duke Senior, Rosalind, and Celia fall under love’s magical spell amidst the trees.
Seen for a short run as part of Public Works in 2017, As You Like It is adapted by Taub (who also adapted the musical Twelfth Night, seen at Shakespeare in the Park), and Laurie Woolery, with music and lyrics by Taub.
Like in 2017, the Shakespeare in the Park run will feature an ensemble of both professional actors and community members from across New York City. Reprising their performances will be Darius de Haas as Duke Senior, Joél Pérez as Touchstone, and Taub as Jaques, with further casting to be announced.
The cast of the original run also included Ato Blankson-Wood as Orlando and Rebecca Naomi Jones as Rosalind, along with cameo group performances by Bronx Wrestling Federation, Freedom Dabka Group, Harambee Dance Company, and The Sing Harlem Choir.
The Public Works community partner organizations are Brownsville Recreation Center (Brooklyn), Center for Family Life in Sunset Park (Brooklyn), DreamYard (Bronx), The Fortune Society (Queens), and Military Resilience Foundation (all boroughs), along with alumni partners Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education (Bronx), Children's Aid (all boroughs), and Domestic Workers United (all boroughs).