Shakespeare in the Park

History of Shakespeare in the Park

Conceived and founded by Joseph Papp, The Public Theater has been a summer tradition in Central Park for almost 60 years.  The Public Theater stages these productions every year in iconic Delacorte Theater – for free.   Over the years over five million visitors have witnessed these performances, making it one of New York City’s most beloved summer traditions.

Highlights include:

  • OTHELLO with James Earl Jones (1964)
  • ELECTRA with Olympia Dukakis (1964)
  • HAMLET with Sam Waterston (1975)
  • THE TAMING OF THE SHREW with Raul Julia and Meryl Streep (1978)
  • THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE with Kevin Kline and Linda Ronstadt (1980)
  • HENRY V with Kevin Kline (1984)
  • MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING with Kevin Kline and Blythe Danner (1988)
  • RICHARD III with Denzel Washington (1990)
  • OTHELLO with Raul Julia and Christopher Walken (1991)
  • THE TEMPEST with Patrick Stewart (1995)
  • THE SEAGULL with Natalie Portman, Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline and Philip Seymour Hoffman (2001)
  • MOTHER COURAGE with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline (2006)
  • MACBETH with Liev Schreiber (2006)
  • HAIR with Jonathan Groff and Will Swenson (2008)
  • TWELFTH NIGHT in 2009 with Anne Hathaway (2009)
  • THE MERCHANT OF VENICE with Al Pacino and Lily Rabe (2010)
  • AS YOU LIKE IT with Lily Rabe (2012)
  • Stephen Sondheim’s INTO THE WOODS with Amy Adams, Denis O’Hare, and Donna Murphy (2012)
  • LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST, a world premiere musical adaptation by Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman (2013)
  • KING LEAR with John Lithgow (2014)
  • THE TEMPEST with Sam Waterston (2015)
  • THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, with Phyllida Lloyd directing an all-female cast (2016)

Free Shakespeare in the Park is made possible by the contributions of people like you. Learn more about how you can make a donation and support this New York City tradition!

The Delacorte Theater in Central Park

Free Tickets

Free tickets to Shakespeare in the Park will be distributed on each performance day by waiting on line at select distribution points in the five boroughs as well as in Central Park. An in person lottery is held in the lobby of The Public Theater at 425 Lafayette St and a digital lottery is hosted through Today Tix, all summer long. Check back later in the spring for a detailed schedule on the Public Theater Website.

The Delacorte Theater

Things To Do

From The Philharmonic on the Great Lawn to Shakespeare in the Park to SummerStage, Central Park offers an endless array of things to do, see, hear – and, with two full service restaurants and several cafes, taste.  You can visit The Shakespeare Garden, take in a performance at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater, take a ride on the Carousel – or just sit and people watch at Bethesda Terrace!

Contact Us

Contact Info

5th Ave. 
New York, NY, 10028

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