After beginning previews July 6, the Shakespeare in the Park production of Merry Wives officially opens at the Delacorte Theater August 9. Ahead of its opening, The Public Theatre commemorated the production with a celebration August 6.
Adapted by Jocelyn Bioh, the show re-imagines Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor as a celebration of Black joy, laughter, and vitality in South Harlem amidst a community of West African immigrants. Helmed by Associate Artistic Director and Resident Director Saheem Ali, the production marks the return of Shakespeare in the Park following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The all-Black production stars Abena as Anne Page, Shola Adewusi as Mama Quickly, Gbenga Akinnagbe as Mister Nduka Ford, Pascale Armand as Madam Ekua Page, MaYaa Boateng as Fenton/Simple, Phillip James Brannon as Pastor Evans, Jacob Ming-Trent as Falstaff, Joshua Echebiri as Slender/Pistol, Julian Rozzell Jr. as Shallow, Kyle Scatliffe as Mister Kwame Page, David Ryan Smith as Doctor Caius, and Susan Kelechi Watson as Madam Nkechi Ford alongside ensemble members Brandon E. Burton, Branden Lindsay, Ebony Marshall-Oliver, Jarvis D. Matthews, and Jennifer Mogbock.
Merry Wives features scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Dede Ayite, lighting design by Jiyoun Chang, sound design by Kai Harada and Palmer Hefferan, hair, wigs, and makeup design by Cookie Jordan, original music by Michael Thurber, original drum compositions by Farai Malianga, fight direction by Rocío Mendez, choreography by Darrell Grand Moultrie, and sound system design by Jessica Paz. Narda E. Alcorn serves as production stage manager.
Merry Wives is scheduled to play through September 17 in Central Park, with free tickets made available through a weekly digital lottery. For more information, visit PublicTheater.org.