Shake, Shake, Shake Your Shakespeare...June 14, 2011 - by Griffin Miller, Theatre Editor
Once spring departs the Big Apple, you can be certain the city will be gearing up for its favorite annual visitor: The Bard. In addition to several Off- and Off-Off-Broadway Shakespearean offerings, often in park settings -- BYOB: Bring Your Own Blanket -- there’s the celebrated Delacorte Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park where, in addition to open-air ambiance, theatergoers are privy to comfy stadium-style seats and big-name performers -- for free.
Now through July 30, the Delacorte is presenting two of Shakespeare’s works in repertory: Measure for Measure and All’s Well That Ends Well. The two plays will be alternating performances, buoyed by a stellar company of Public Theater veterans and Shakespearean heavyweights including Tony winners John Cullum (Shenandoah; Northern Exposure) and Tonya Pinkins (Jelly’s Last Jam; Caroline, or Change), as well as actors Annie Parisse (Alexandra Borgia on Law & Order) and Andre Holland, fresh from his critically acclaimed performance in Off-Broadway’s The Whipping Man.
Said Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis: “Last year’s experiment in rep was a brilliant success, allowing us to create an acting company of unparalleled depth and ability, and giving us two wonderful productions, The Merchant of Venice [with Al Pacino] and The Winter’s Tale. This year, we are tackling two of the lesser-known jewels of the canon.”
While Shakespeare in the Park is a long-revered NYC summer tradition, this year the Delacorte is receiving some unprecedented competition from the renowned Royal Shakespeare Company beginning July 6, when the RSC takes up residence -- make that replicates residence -- within Manhattan’s Park Avenue Armory. For the record, the 900-seat, web-like theater has been rebuilt from a flat-pack transported to the fortress-sized Armory. (Suffice it to say, serious welding was involved.)
A co-presentation by Lincoln Center Festival 2011 and the Park Avenue Armory, in association with The Ohio State University, RSC will present five plays by the Bard of Avon -- As You Like It, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet and The Winter’s Tale -- for a total of 44 performances through August 14.
As for the performance area, expect to be awed (or as the Brits would say, “gob-struck”) by the imported reproduction of the new thrust Courtyard “Scarlet & Gray Stage” Theatre designed for the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.
RSC artistic director Michael Boyd, who notes that this “specially built thrust stage” could “only be realized in Park Avenue Armory’s soaring space,” adds: “I want American audiences to have the opportunity of seeing the very best of our work.”
Gaston Leroux's famous period thriller is now one of Broadwa...
Swiss luxury watch manufacturer for men and women since 1853...
BODY WORLDS shows the science of the human body, and deconst...