See Shakespeare in the Park and other theater before summer ends

New York’s summer theater scene draws crowds with celebrity headliners, offbeat Fringe Festival shows and more.



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  • Photograph: Joseph Moran

    Delacorte Theater

  • Spiegelworld: Empire

  • Spiegelworld: Empire

  • Photograph: Yumi Aman

    New York International Fringe Festival



Photograph: Joseph Moran

Delacorte Theater

The summer theater season encompasses alfresco showsShakespeare in the Park, Broadway in Bryant Park—and captivating indoor performances like Spiegelworld: Empire. For quirky Off Broadway theater, don’t forget the annual New York International Fringe Festival.

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Into the Woods

  • Critics choice
  • Free

After a successful run of As You Like It in June, the Public once again incorporates musical fare into Shakespeare in the Park with a new mounting of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s enchanting, witty and touching spin on classic fairy tales. English director Timothy Sheader based his alfresco staging on the 2010 version performed at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in London. The American cast is to die for, with Donna Murphy as the Witch and the adorable Amy Adams as the Baker’s Wife. • Thu 9–Sat 11, Mon 13–Wed 15, Aug 17–25 8pm. Tickets are free (two per person) and may be picked up only on the day of performance after 1pm at the Delacorte Theater. A limited number of tickets are also distributed via online lottery; see website for details.

  1. Delacorte Theater Central Park, at 81st St
  2. Until Sat Sep 1
More info

Spiegelworld: Empire

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

The glitzy, glam and quirky spectacle continues with a tent pitched a pastie’s toss from Times Square. Empire features a rotating roster of international burlesque and circus acts, including Rubbish Bag Lady, Moondog, Polka Dot Woman and Carrot Man. Expect the unexpected if you’ve never visited a spiegeltent—surrounded by beveled mirrors and plush red booths—head on down, order a drink and enjoy the cabaret. • Times vary; $59–$89.

  1. Spiegelworld 265 W 45th St, between Seventh and Eighth Aves, 10036
  2. Until Sun Sep 2
Buy tickets

Broadway in Bryant Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

If you’re too tired (or tapped out) to sit through Wicked again, make your way to the park on Thursdays for free lunchtime concerts by cast members of the Great White Way’s beloved musicals, who perform two or three numbers from their shows. The last two weeks of the series includes Chicago, Rebecca, Evita and Rent (Thu 9) and Nice Work if You Can Get It, Avenue Q, Bring It On: The Musical, Rock of Ages and A Christmas Story (Aug 16). • Thu 12:30–1:30pm; free.

  1. Bryant Park Sixth Ave, between 40th and 42nd Sts
  2. Thu Jul 10 - Thu Aug 14
More info

The New York International Fringe Festival

  • Price band: 2/4

That grinding, slouching-to-Bethlehem noise you hear grumbling up from lower Manhattan is the sound of thousands of theatergoers’ bellies digesting their yearly Fringe binge. This festival of 200 frantically repping companies includes straight-up dramas, solo comedies and the requisite quota of musicals with unlikely subjects. • Sort through the offerings at

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