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Ato Blankson-Wood
Photograph: Courtesy Jeffrey MosierAto Blankson-Wood

Hamlet is coming to Shakespeare in the Park this summer

Ato Blankson-Wood will star in the Public's free outdoor production.

Adam Feldman
Written by
Adam Feldman

New York City's beloved institution Shakespeare in the Park will return this summer with a new production of Hamletthe Public Theater announced today. The series has offered free outdoor stagings of Shakespeare plays at Central Park's open-air Delacorte Theater since 1962. 

Usually, Shakespeare in the Park presents two productions each summer. Its 61th season contains only one, but it's a doozy: Shakespeare's talky tragedy of revenge deferred, where a ghost and a prince meet and everyone ends in mincemeat. Ato Blankson-Wood (Slave Play) will play the Melancholy Dane in a modern-dress staging directed by Kenny Leon, whose long and distinguished résumé includes Shakespeare in the Park's terrific 2019 version of Much Ado About Nothing. The production is scheduled to run for nine weeks, from June 8 through August 6, with an official press opening on June 28. 

Hamlet is arguably the greatest play in the Western canon, and I am thrilled that Kenny Leon will be helming this summer's production," says the Public's Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis. "Kenny has an expert way of making Shakespeare come alive in a contemporary American context, illuminating these great works while also reimagining them for our times and our country.”  

“A 500-year-old play exploring the need for a strong foundation of family, with music and words, Shakespeare’s Hamlet has much to say about humanity and the importance of our connectedness to each other," says Leon. "We set this production in 2021, filled with all of the challenges we face as Americans as we explore our need to love more profoundly both nature and its people.”

This year's foreshortened season reflects ongoing renovation of the Public's playing space in Central Park. “Hamlet will be a beautiful salute to the city as we head into a season where we will be renewing and renovating our beautiful home, the Delacorte Theater," Eustis sats. 

Full casting for Hamlet has not yet been announced, so stay tuned for more information—as well as for details about how to get free tickets to Shakespeare in the Park this year. Free tickets will be distributed in all five boroughs of the city, including through digital lottery in partnership TodayTix. Details about the mechanism and locations are expected to be announced by May; COVID-19 health and safety protocols will be determined by April.

Delacorte Theater
Photograph: Courtesy Joseph MoranDelacorte Theater

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