The Public Theater announced today that Shakespeare in the Park alumni F. Murray Abraham, Christine Baranski, John Cullum, David Harbour, Bill Irwin, Sandra Oh, Phylicia Rashad, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Sharon Washington will join Kevin Kline as Romeo and Meryl Streep as Juliet in a one-night-only benefit reading of ROMEO AND JULIET on Monday, June 18 – the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Over the past five decades, more than five million people have enjoyed over 150 productions of Shakespeare and other classical works and musicals at the Delacorte.
Directed by Daniel Sullivan, this star-studded cast will be joined on stage by live musicians playing original music by award-winning composer Jeanine Tesori.
Before the reading of ROMEO AND JULIET, Tony Award winner Al Pacino will be honored at an al fresco dinner in Central Park for his body of work with The Public Theater, going back to the early 1970s and including his acclaimed performance as Shylock in the Shakespeare in the Park production of The Merchant of Venice in 2010. The benefit event is being chaired by Public Theater Board Members Arielle Tepper Madover and Alexandra Shiva.
In addition to Kevin Kline (Romeo), and Meryl Streep (Juliet) the cast will feature F. Murray Abraham (Friar Laurence); Christine Baranski (Nurse); John Cullum (Capulet); Raúl Esparza (Sampson, Apothecary, Watchman 1); David Harbour (Abraham, Capulet Servant, Paris' Page); Bill Irwin (Montague); Jesse L. Martin (Gregory, Friar John, Watchman 2); Sandra Oh (Lady Montague); Phylicia Rashad (Lady Capulet); Jerry Stiller (Peter); Michael Stuhlbarg (Paris); Christopher Walken (Mercutio); Sharon Washington (Stage Directions); Sam Waterston (Benvolio); and Jeffrey Wright (Tybalt).
For more information on purchasing tickets for The Public Theater's Anniversary Gala, please call (212) 539-8547 or visit www.shakespeareinthepark.org.
THE DELACORTE THEATER, home of Shakespeare in the Park, officially opened in Central Park on June 18, 1962 with The Merchant of Venice, directed by Joseph Papp and Gladys Vaughan and featuring George C. Scott as Shylock. The Merchant of Venice was followed that summer by a production of The Tempest, directed by Gerald Freedman and featuring Paul Stevens as Prospero and James Earl Jones as Caliban. The first Delacorte summer season concluded with King Lear, directed by Joseph Papp and Gladys Vaughan and featuring Frank Silvera as Lear. Since that time more than 150 productions have been presented for free at the Delacorte Theater. Highlights of past productions include Othello in 1964 with James Earl Jones; Hamlet in 1975 with Sam Waterston; The Taming of the Shrew in 1978 with Raul Julia and Meryl Streep; The Pirates of Penzance in 1980 with Kevin Kline and Linda Ronstadt; Henry V in 1984 with Kevin Kline; Much Ado About Nothing in 1988 with Kevin Kline and Blythe Danner; Richard III in 1990 with Denzel Washington; Othello in 1991 with Raul Julia and Christopher Walken; The Tempest in 1995 with Patrick Stewart; The Seagull in 2001 with Natalie Portman, Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline and Philip Seymour Hoffman; Mother Courage in 2006 with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline; Macbeth in 2006 with Liev Schreiber; HAIR in 2008 with Jonathan Groff and Will Swenson; Twelfth Night in 2009 with Anne Hathaway; The Merchant of Venice in 2010 with Al Pacino and Lily Rabe; All's Well That Ends Well and Measure for Measure in 2011; and this summer's As You Like It and Into the Woods.