(June 5 – August 25, 2012) Every summer, the Public Theater takes its act uptown, bringing theater to all of New York with its free productions at the Delacorte Theatre in gorgeous Central Park. Shakespeare in the Park (formerly called the New York Shakespeare Festival) usually consists of two productions; one is always a play by the Bard and the other is usually either something from the classical repertoire or a modern classic.
Free tickets are handed out at 1 p.m. on the day of performance, though people start lining up at the Delacorte much earlier. When the cast is particularly starry, such as the 2001 production of The Seagull, featuring Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Natalie Portman, John Goodman, and Christopher Walken, some people spend the whole night in the Park waiting for tickets. Fortunately, you couldn’t ask for a better place to wait than lovely leafy Central Park.
The atmosphere inside the Delacorte is even better, where the drama begins just as the sun is setting.
The show will hold for rain delays, only completely calling off the performance if it gets really bad and won’t let up, in which case, sadly, you’ll have to return another day and wait in line for tickets all over again.
Shakespeare in the Park (New York, NY) Information
- Public Transportation: Good (convenient to subway lines B and C at 81st Street/Museum of Natural History, and buses M10 and M79)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: Performance schedule is Tuesday–Sunday
- Ticket Prices: Tickets are free, distributed at 1 p.m. on the day of each performance at the Delacorte Theatre. Public Theater donors (usually $500 or more) qualify for reserved Shakespeare in the Park tickets. The Public also offers an online lottery for a limited number of tickets to each performance. You have to register for Virtual Ticketing, but registration is free.