BroadwayWorld.com reported the news exclusively on January 9, 2012 and now the The Public Theater has officially announced the line-up for the 50th Anniversary Shakespeare in the Park season at the Delacorte. Daniel Sullivan, who directed acclaimed productions of All's Well That Ends Well, The Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night in the Park, will return to direct AS YOU LIKE IT in June with Lily Rabe as Rosalind.
The second show of the 50th Anniversary summer season will be Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's beloved musical INTO THE WOODS, directed by Timothy Sheader with co-direction by Liam Steel. Based on the Olivier Award-winning Regent's Park Open Air Theatre London production in 2010, The Public Theater's INTO THE WOODS will be an all new production with an American cast and designers and will be staged in one of the most beautiful outdoor venues in the world-the Delacorte Theater. INTO THE WOODS will begin performances at the end of July.
"For half a century the Delacorte has been at the heart of New York culture, a priceless embodiment of America's democratic promise, offering superb performances of the greatest plays in our literature, free for the people," said Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. "To celebrate, we are offering two magnificent plays about the lessons to be learned in the forest: Shakespeare's As You Like It, and Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's masterpiece Into the Woods. Lily Rabe is returning, after her luminous performance as Portia in Dan Sullivan's production of The Merchant of Venice, to assay the greatest of Shakespeare's heroines, Rosalind. And I'm delighted that we are adding Stephen Sondheim to the Delacorte's roster: our greatest artist of musical theater will sit very comfortably next to Shakespeare. Sondheim in the Park has a good ring to it."
Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, THE DELACORTE THEATER 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 then more than 100 productions have been presented for free at the Delcorte Theater. Highlights of past Delacorte 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; and most recently last summer's acclaimed productions of All's Well That Ends Well and Measure for Measure.