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Photograph: Joan MarcusJosephine & I

Public Theater announces its 2016 Shakespeare in the Park lineup

Written by
David Cote

RECOMMENDED: Complete guide to Shakespeare in the Park

Back in November when I reviewed director Phyllida Lloyd’s Henry IV at St. Ann’s Warehouse, I facetiously remarked that I didn’t really need to see another of her all-female Shakespeare productions (she’d previously done a similar job on Julius Caesar). How wrong I was. The Public Theater just revealed the lineup for Shakespeare in the Park, and I’m going back. Cush Jumbo (pictured) will star as Katherina alongside Janet McTeer as Petruchio 
in Lloyd’s estrogen-heavy take on The Taming of the Shrew. I’ve never seen a good staging of this difficult (misogynist?) comedy, and I’m dying to see how the ladies navigate its patriarchal privilege. Shrew runs May 24 through June 26 at the Delacorte Theater.

The summer’s second SITP attraction is the too-infrequently performed Troilus and Cressida, another bitter work that can leave a bad taste in 21st-century mouths. Combining equal parts historical drama, romantic comedy and blistering satire, the classic speaks out harshly against those who make and profit from war. Master director Daniel Sullivan will apply his customary magic to the piece, which runs July 19 through August 14. Casting will be announced at a later date.

But wait! There’s more. The Public’s Public Works program will present a musical adaptation of Twelfth Night, also for free, at the Delacorte in early September. The Bard-based tuner co-conceived by Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub has music and lyrics by Taub and staging by Kwei-Armah. Downtown the Public Theater itself, the Mobile Unit’s Romeo and Juliet, directed by Lear deBessonet, will play for three weeks from April 11 to May 1 following a free tour of the five boroughs.

Also, the Public joins with the New-York Historical Society and 92nd Street Y to present First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare, as part of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s nationwide tour celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. An ultra-rare copy of the 1623 First Folio—containing the first published scripts of 36 of Shakespeare’s most famous plays—will be on display at the New-York Historical Society for six weeks for free, beginning June 7.

Tickets to The Public Theater’s FREE Shakespeare in the Park are distributed, two per person, at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park on the day of the show. The Public Theater will again offer free tickets through its Virtual Ticketing lottery on the day of the show.

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