The complete guide to Shakespeare in the Park in NYC

Shakespeare in the Park in Central Park is a New York tradition.

Shakespeare in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park Photograph: Joseph Moran

Shakespeare in the Park opens another season of the Bard's greats performed in open air at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Created by the late Joseph Papp and presented by the Public, Shakespeare in the Park has endured not just because it's a night of free theater in New York's backyard, but because it's a night of great performances by some of the most talented actors of our day, including Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Al Pacino, Oliver Platt, Blythe Danner, Philip Seymour Hoffman, George C. Scott and Denzel Washington.

So loved is Shakespeare in the Park that it has spawned several other companies around the city to mount their own Shakespeare events alfresco, where you'll find performances everywhere from parking lots to community gardens and, of course, other parks. For any theater lover in New York, Shakespeare outdoors is indeed a midsummer night's dream. Here's our full list of free outdoor theater in New York this summer.

This summer, Shakespeare in the Park presents Much Ado About Nothing with Lily Rabe and Hamish Linklater, and King Lear with John Lithgow.

When is Shakespeare in the Park?

Much Ado About Nothing
runs from June 3 through July 6. King Lear runs July 22 to  August 17.

Where is Shakespeare in the Park?

Although you'll find free, outdoor Shakespeare in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, nothing beats the Public's offering for historical resonance and amazing casts. The easiest way to get to the Delacorte Theater in Central Park is to enter at 81st Street and Central Park West. Subway: B, C to 81st St–Museum of Natural History.

Click here for details on getting free tickets

Read more theater features

Interview: Tom Stoppard

The knighted British dramatist talks about smoking, writing and his days as a hack journalist.

Interview: Bridget Everett

Downtown shock singer and loose cannon Bridget Everett is movin' on up. Here's why you should bow before her.

Interview: Michael Cera

The spotlight-shy It boy is all grown up, with a new home, no-more-mister-nice-guy roles and a hotly anticipated Broadway debut

Interview: Julia Jarcho

The fascinating playwright draws inspiration from fellow writer Jane Bowles for her latest work, Nomads

Interview: Alex Kingston

Mrs. Doctor Who talks about morality, living in Los Angeles and playing opposite Kenneth Branagh in Macbeth

See more in Theater