Free Shakespeare in the Park program traveling to all five boroughs this summer

February 14, 2024

The company of Mobile Unit’s “The Comedy of Errors,” touring the five boroughs May 2-21 and returning to The Public May 25-June 11. Photo credit: Peter Cooper

Shakespeare is coming to a park near you this summer. The Public Theater on Tuesday announced its free Shakespeare in the Park program will travel to all five boroughs while its Central Park home, the Delacorte Theater, undergoes a renovation. Kicking off on May 28, “Go Public! A Festival of Free Shakespeare in the Park” includes a citywide tour of “The Comedy of Errors” by the theater’s mobile unit at parks and plazas across the city, including on the Fifth Avenue Terrace at the New York Public Library and Bryant Park and in Hudson Yards.

Danaya Esperanza and Gían Pérez in Mobile Unit’s “The Comedy of Errors,” touring the five boroughs May 2-21 and returning to The Public May 25-June 11. Photo credit: Peter Cooper

The “Comedy of Errors” adaptation will be performed in collaboration with the New York Public Library and Bryant Park and as part of the “Backyard at Hudson Yards” series sponsored by Wells Fargo. The mobile unit will travel to public parks and plazas in partnership with the city’s Parks Department. Performances will begin May 28 and run through June 30.

Directed by Rebecca Martinez and composed by Julian Mesri, the adaptation of “The Comedy of Errors” will be presented in both Spanish and English and feature contemporary music styles from Latin America and a modern vibrant energy.

The cast includes Varin Ayala as Egeon and Pinch, Danaya Esperanza as Adriana, Rebecca Jimenez as Understudy, Keren Lugo as Luciana, Alan Mendez as Understudy, Sara Ornelas as Troubadour, Gían Pérez as Dromio, and Desireé Rodriguez as Courtesan and Emilia.

The initial schedule (more details will be announced in April) for the “The Comedy of Errors Tour” can be found below:

  • May 28 through June 2: The New York Public Library and Bryant Park on the Fifth Avenue Terrace (Manhattan)
  • June 6-9, June 13-14, and June 20-21: Hudson Yards (Manhattan)
  • A.R.R.O.W. Field House (Queens)
  • J. Hood Wright Park (Manhattan)
  • Maria Hernandez Park (Brooklyn)
  • Roy Wilkins Park (Queens)  
  • St. John the Divine (Manhattan)
  • St. Mary’s Park (Bronx)
  • Sunset Park (Brooklyn)
  • Wolfe’s Pond Park (Staten Island)
Sara Ornelas in Mobile Unit’s “The Comedy of Errors,” touring the five boroughs May 2-21 and returning to The Public May 25-June 11. Photo credit: Peter Cooper

Go Public! will continue the Public Theater’s relationship with THIRTEEN’s “Great Performances” on PBS, with free access to streaming Shakespeare in the Park productions at home starting this summer. Viewers will have access to streams of “Hamlet,” the 2019 production of “Much Ado About Nothing,” the 2021 production of “Merry Wives,” and the 2022 production of “King Richard III” from May through June.

Plus, throughout June, July, and August, the Public Theater will host free outdoor screenings of the 2019 production of “Much Ado About Nothing” directed by Kenny Leon.

Screenings, to begin at dusk, are scheduled for the following dates and locations:

  • July 11 – J. Hood Wright Park (Manhattan)
  • July 17 – McCarren Park (Brooklyn)
  • July 24 – Brooklyn War Memorial (Brooklyn)
  • August 2 – Faber Park (Staten Island)
  • August 20 – Washington Square Park (Manhattan)
  • August 29 – Baisley Park (Queens)
  • September 6 – Loreto Park (Bronx)

“NYC Parks is proud to have been a champion and partner of The Public Theater and Free Shakespeare in the Park since its inception. NYC Parks programming would not be complete without the joyous Mobile Unit productions that visit our rec centers and parks each year,” NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue said.

“This year, in addition to the Mobile Unit partnership, we are thrilled that even more New Yorkers will be able to experience Free Shakespeare in the Park through our Movies Under the Stars program. Those attending this free program will be able to experience the magic of visiting The Delacorte Theater from the comfort of their local park and have the chance to witness first-class presentations of recent Free Shakespeare in the Park productions.”

Renderings courtesy of the Public Theater

The Delacorte Theater in Central Park is currently undergoing a $77 million revitalization and restoration project to improve accessibility, lighting, audience comfort, and back-of-house operations. The work also will restore the theater’s exterior with a textured wood facade and add a covered canopy and bluestone pathway. Approved by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission in January 2022, the project is the first major renovation since the open-air theater was built over 50 years ago.

Shakespeare in the Park is expected to return to the newly opened theater in the summer of 2025.

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