The Public Theater presents the free staging of the Shakespeare work that has been adapted by songwriter Todd Almond and director Lear deBessonet.
Presented through Sept. 7, The Winter's Tale features Almond as Antigonus, alongside Christopher Fitzgerald (Wicked) as Autolycus, Lindsay Mendez (Wicked, Dogfight) as Hermione, Isaiah Johnson (The Merchant of Venice) as Leontes, David Turner (On A Clear Day...) as Clown and Danny Williams as The Bear. Groups making cameo performances include Sesame Street, New York Theatre Ballet, Capoeira Luanda, Rosie’s Theater Kids, Shinbone Alley Stilt Band, Staten Island Lions and Megha Kalia’s NYC Bhangra Dance Company..
Participating community groups include Children's Aid Society (Manhattan); DreamYard Project (Bronx); Fortune Society (Queens); Brownsville Recreation Center (Brooklyn); and Domestic Workers United (all boroughs, including Staten Island).
The Winter's Tale features choreography by Chase Brock, with scenic design by Justin Townsend, lighting design by Tyler Micoleau, costume design by Paul Carey and sound design by Acme Sound Partners. According to the Public, "The Winter's Tale brings Shakespeare's tale of mystery and magic to life as never before. Featuring Public Works' signature blend of professional actors, community members, and special guests, this musical adaptation will explode with authentic performances that come together to tell Shakespeare’s beloved fable of hard-won joy and the promise of renewal."
"Public Works is about pursuing a fully participatory model of theater. We have people of all ages and backgrounds coming together from across the city to tell this story," deBessonet said in a statement. "The project both celebrates the depth of our community partnerships, and also creates the opportunity for us to work with these splendid cameo groups from all over the city – it will be a Winter's Tale with stilt walkers, Bollywood dancers, and cast members ranging from small children to elders, and also one defined by the robustness of the relationships developed over two years of community collaboration."
DeBessonet and Almond previously collaborated on the 2013 premiere Public Works production of The Tempest. Their work together also includes The Odyssey at San Diego's Old Globe, as well as Don Quixote in Philadelphia.
Tickets to The Winter's Tale are free and are distributed, two per person, at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park the day of the show beginning at noon. The Public Theater is offering free tickets through its Virtual Ticketing lottery at shakespeareinthepark.org on the day of the show.