“There is no issue in the world that can’t be helped by a little Shakespeare,” said artistic director Oskar Eustis in a statement. “This summer, Richard II explores the extraordinary danger and possibility of regime change and As You Like It celebrates a Forest of Arden where all refugees are welcome. Laurie Woolery and Saheem Ali make their Shakespeare in the Park directing debuts and these brilliant artists will prove to us, once again, that Shakespeare is the most democratic of dramatists.”
First up will be Shakespeare’s Richard II (May 19-June 21), which follows the divinely anointed monarch’s contentious journey to the throne. The drama was last performed at the Delacorte Theater in 1987. Ali will direct.
Next will be the return of Shakespeare’s As You Like It (July 14-Aug. 8), adapted by Shaina Taub (music and lyrics) and director of Public Works Laurie Woolery. The musical will be presented as part of the company’s Public Works program. Two rotating ensembles of community members will perform alongside professional performers. Darius de Haas, Joél Pérez, and Taub will reprise their roles from the original 2017 production, and Woolery will direct.
This year’s community partners for the Public Works program include Brownsville Recreation Center, Center for Family Life in Sunset Park, DreamYard, the Fortune Society, and Military Resilience Foundation, in addition to alumni partners Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education, Children’s Aid, and Domestic Workers United.
Since 1962, more than five million people have attended free performances of Shakespeare in the Park. It was conceived by Public Theater founder Joseph Papp.