The Public Theater kicks off its 2019 Shakespeare in the Park season May 21 with a production of Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Kenny Leon. Taking center stage is The Color Purple Tony nominee and Orange Is the New Black star Danielle Brooks, who stars as Beatrice in the Kenny Leon-helmed staging in Central Park.
An ensemble of all-black artists join her, including Tony winner Chuck Cooper as Leonato, Boardwalk Empire's Erik LaRay Harvey as Antonio/Verges, Grantham Coleman (Buzzer) as Benedick, Jeremie Harris (Legion) as Claudio, Daniel Croix Henderson (Seven Guitars,Purchase Rep.) as Balthasar, Tyrone Mitchell Henderson (Yale Rep's An Enemy of the People) as Friar Francis/Sexton, Tiffany Denise Hobbs (Yale Rep’s Twelfth Night) as Ursula, Lateefah Holder (Modern Family) as Dogberry, Billy Eugene Jones (A Raisin in the Sun) as Don Pedro, Margaret Odette (The Convent) as Hero, Hubert Point-Du Jour (Happyish) as Don John, Jaime Lincoln Smith (Pipeline) as Boracchio, and Olivia Washington (The Butler) as Margaret.
Rounding out the company are Jamar Brathwaite, Javen Crosby, Denzel Fields, Tayler HArris, Kai Heath, LaWanda Hopkins, Jazmine Stewart, and Latra A. Wilson.
The production features choreography by Choir Boy Tony nominee Camille A. Brown, music by Jason Michael Webb, sets by Beowulf Boritt, costumes by Emilio Sosa, lighting design by Peter Kaczorowski, and sound design by Jessica Paz.
Performances are scheduled through June 23. The Shakespeare in the Park season also includes Coriolanus and a Public Works presentation of a new stage adaptation of Disney’s Hercules.