One of New York’s most iconic theatrical traditions is back.
After taking a hiatus last summer, the Public Theater’s annual presentation of outdoor theater in Central Park’s Delacorte Theater, Shakespeare in the Park, is returning for another season of plays.
The series is set to return this July with an adaptation of the Merry Wives of Windsor. “We have spent the last year getting ready,” wrote the Public on its site regarding the performance series. “We have been producing new work and preparing a safe return. We’ve grieved, Zoomed, innovated, supported our communities, and connected our city.”
The new adaptation of Merry Wives of Windsor by Jocelyn Bioh will run from July 5 through August 29 in the park. This version of the Bard’s comedy will be set in South Harlem amidst a vibrant community of West African immigrants and the Public says it will serve as a “celebration of Black joy, laughter and vitality. A New York story about the tricks of the heart, performed in the heart of the City.” The production will feature 12 actors and will be intermission-free.
“People want to celebrate,” the theater’s artistic director Oskar Eustis told the New York Times in an interview about the decision. “This is one of the great ways that the theater can make a celebration.”
Last year, was the first time in its history that the Central Park tradition, a beloved Summer ritual for many New Yorkers, did not take place. Exact rules around how many people will be able to attend each performance, and what precautions will be in place when they do, are still up in the air, but current state regulations would allow the 2,000-seat theater to host 500 people per performance. More information on safety measures and ticket distribution methods will be released over the next few weeks.
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