Amid the 21st century progressivism of New York City lies a standing tradition that brings together both theater and community. Shakespeare in the Park is an annual event that takes place at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, NYC. The event extends through the summer months, showing two productions, which honor the legacy of William Shakespeare. The tradition holds that admission is entirely free, should you rise early enough to wait in line for tickets on the morning of the given show. This honorary theater affair is one of New York City’s most beloved traditions, and a must-do for anyone who loves the theater, the beautiful atmosphere of central park, or simply the appreciation for long-standing traditions.
This summer celebrates the 54th anniversary of this event, which was created by Joseph Papp in the mid-1900s. Papp originally founded the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1954, which drew fame from being the first company in the United States to offer free Shakespearian productions. The Festival performed in various New York City parks, but found its permanent home at the Delacorte Theater of Central Park in 1962. Joseph Papp is known to be a pioneer of nonprofit theater, and went on to continue his work through transferring plays to nonprofit theaters across the U.S., as well as fostering the talent of many American actors, playwrights, and directors. This fifty-four-year-old tradition celebrates the classic works of William Shakespeare alongside the progressive movement of Joseph Papp to bring the elegance of theater to all ends of society.
The two shows featured this summer are The Taming of the Shrew, running from May 24th-June 26th, and Troilus and Cressida, running from July 19th-August 14th. The lighter of heart may prefer to catch a showing of The Taming of the Shrew, a romantic comedy telling the tale of three different couples, and both the elation and strife they feel whilst navigating the unpredictable paths of love. For those who enjoy a deeper, more complex plot, Troilus and Cressida tells a tale with a theme that dives into the relationship of, and conflict between, personal life and the interests of the state.
Shakespeare in the Park upholds a classic tradition, which, simultaneously, honors the great works of William Shakespeare and rejuvenates the life of nonprofit theater. Both residents and visitors of New York City can enjoy the beauty of this event in the peaceful center of a city that never sleeps. Don’t miss the opportunity to take part in this cherished tradition.