William Shakespeare hasn’t been more exciting in recent memory than in the hands of the Public Theater, whose free Shakespeare in the Park productions resonated way beyond Central Park last summer.
From its modern-day Julius Caesar with the lead as Donald Trump to same-sex couples in As You Like It, the Public Theater proved how Shakespeare’s works can still speak to audiences even 400 years later.
And that’s not likely to stop in 2018, when Shakespeare in the Park kicks off with Othello, running from May 29-June 24. Tony-winning actor Ruben Santiago-Wilson makes his directorial debut with “Shakespeare’s most urgent and relevant tragedy today,” as the Public puts it.
The second production, running from July 17-Aug. 19, is a musical version of the mistaken-identity comedy Twelfth Night.
Singer-songwriter Shaina Taub’s adaptation is a massive feat of community theater by the theater’s Public Works program: The cast is made up of two rotating groups of 200 ordinary New Yorkers from all five boroughs, from kids to seniors, alongside a handful of professional actors.
Public Works productions are usually staged for a handful of performances at the Delacorte at the end of the usual Shakespeare season. Twelfth Night was first staged in 2016 to rave reviews, and returns to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Public Works program.
Tickets to all productions are free, but standing in line for them can be daunting. Before you go, check out our guide to how to get free tickets to Shakespeare in the Park. Or lock down your seats now with a $500 donation to support the Public Theater’s programs.