The Public Theater's Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Hamlet officially opens at Central Park's Delacorte Theater June 28 after beginning performances June 10. The run is scheduled to continue through August 6. Tony nominee Ato Blankson-Wood (Slave Play) stars in the title role with Tony-winning director Kenny Leon at the helm.
Performances were originally scheduled to begin June 8, but the Public canceled the first two previews due to dangerous air quality in NYC.
Free tickets are distributed in a variety of ways across all five boroughs. The Public shared details about the program on social media.
Hey NYC! We are thrilled to announce that our Free Shakespeare in the Park production of HAMLET will begin performances tomorrow at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park! Learn about the 5 ways to access free tickets at https://t.co/iaocfYy6Hp! ✨ 🌳 🎭 pic.twitter.com/1B3CMbLI6k— The Public Theater (@PublicTheaterNY) June 9, 2023
Joining Blankson-Wood are Brandon Gill as Guildenstern, Tyrone Mitchell Henderson as Osric/Priest, Greg Hildreth as Gravedigger, Colby Lewis as First Player, Warner Miller as Horatio, Daniel Pearce as Polonius, Solea Pfeiffer as Ophelia, Nick Rehberger as Laertes, John Douglas Thompson as Claudius, Lorraine Toussaint as Gertrude, and Mitchell Winter as Rosencrantz.
The ensemble comprises Mikhail Calliste, Safiya Kaija Harris, Lauren Hayes, LaWanda Hopkins, Jaylon Jamal, TrÍ Lê, Cornelius McMoyler, Laughton Royce, Lance Alexander Smith, and Lark White. Rounding out the company as understudies are Liam Craig, Myxolydia Tyler, William Oliver Watkins, and Bryce Michael Wood.
The outdoor production features choreography by Camille A. Brown, scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Jessica Jahn, lighting design by Allen Lee Hughes, sound design by Justin Ellington, video design by Jeff Sugg, music composition by Jason Michael Webb, and hair, wig, and makeup design by Earon Chew Nealey. Karyn Meek serves as production stage manager.
Hamlet has been previously staged at The Delacorte four times. It was last seen 15 years ago in a 2008 production featuring Michael Stuhlbarg in the title role and Lauren Ambrose as Ophelia, Andre Braugher as Claudius, and David Harbour as Laertes, directed by Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. Michael Rudman directed Sam Waterston as Hamlet in 1975, also featuring Ruby Dee as Gertrude and John Lithgow at Laertes. In 1972, the production was directed by Gerald Freedman, featuring Stacy Keach as Hamlet, James Earl Jones as Claudius, Sam Waterston as Laertes, Raul Julia as Osric, and Colleen Dewhurst as Gertrude. In 1964, two years after The Delacorte opened, Public Theater Founder Joseph Papp directed a production featuring Alfred Ryder in the title role, with Howard Da Silva as Claudius and Julie Harris as Ophelia.
Since 1962, over six million people have enjoyed more than 150 free productions of Shakespeare and other classical works and musicals in The Public’s home in Central Park.
For more information visit PublicTheater.org.