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Encyclopedia > New York Shakespeare Festival

New York Shakespeare Festival is the traditional name of a sequence of shows organized by the Public Theater in New York City, most often being held at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. For years under the guidance of Joseph Papp and George C. Wolfe, the official name of the entire company was "The Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival," as a tribute to the company's enduring commitment toward Shakespeare's timeless theater. Under new re-organization and branding, the Public has dropped "NYSF" from its name, and has labelled its uptown operations as simply "Shakespeare in Central Park" (colloquially to New Yorkers "Shakespeare in the Park"). The Public Theater is a New York City arts organization. ... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... The Delacorte Theater is located in Central Park in New York City. ... Central Park is a large public, urban park (843 acres, 3. ... Joseph Papp (1921 - 1991) was an American theatre producer and director. ... George C. Wolfe (September 23, 1954 - ) is an African-American playwright and director of theater and film. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ...


"Shakespeare in Central Park" is an annual theater festival held in the summer in New York City's Central Park. Tickets to Shakespeare in the Park are always free, which contributes to the popularity of the event. Long queues for the free tickets are common sights near the Great Lawn of Central Park, particularly during the last weekend of a show's run and during productions with big name stars. Patrick Stewart, Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman, Jimmy Smits, Allison Janney, Oliver Platt, Sam Waterston, and Kevin Kline are among the actors who have graced the Delacorte stage in recent years. Central Park is a large public, urban park (843 acres, 3. ... The Great Lawn and Turtle Pond, Central Park, occupy the almost flat site of the intractably rectangular, thirty-five-acre Lower Reservoir,[1] constructed in 1842, which was an unalterable fixture of the location of Central Park as it was first designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. ... This article is about the actor. ... Mary Louise Meryl Streep (born June 22, 1949) is a two-time Academy Award, Cannes Best Actress, Berlin Best Actress winning American actress who has worked in theatre, television, and film. ... Natalie Portman (‎; born June 9, 1981) is a Golden Globe-winning, Academy Award-nominated Israeli-American actress. ... Jimmy Smits as President Matt Santos on The West Wing. ... Allison Brooks Janney (born November 19, 1959) is an Emmy-winning American actress, perhaps best known for her portrayal of C. J. Cregg on the American television series The West Wing and of Prudy on the 2007 film adaption of the musical Hairspray . ... Oliver Platt as The West Wings Oliver Babish Oliver Platt (born January 12, 1960 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada) is a Canadian film and television actor. ... Samuel Atkinson Waterston (born November 15, 1940) is an Oscar nominated American actor noted particularly for his portrayal of Jack McCoy on the long-running NBC television series Law & Order. ... Kevin Delaney Kline (born October 24, 1947) is an Academy Award- and Tony Award-winning American stage and film actor. ...

Contents

History of the Festival

The festival was originally conceived by director, producer, and Public Theater founder Joseph Papp in 1954. Papp began with a series of Shakespeare workshops, then moved on to free productions on the Lower East Side. Eventually, the plays moved to a lawn in front of Turtle Pond in Central Park. In 1959, parks commissioner Robert Moses demanded that Papp and his company charge a fee for the performances to cover the cost of "grass erosion." A court battle ensued. Papp continued to fight Moses, winning his enduring respect and the quote "well, let's build the bastard a theater." Following this, Moses requested funds from the city for the construction of an amphitheater in the park. In 1961, the Delacorte Theater was built. The first performance held in the theater in 1962 was Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, starring George C. Scott and James Earl Jones. Categories: Manhattan neighborhoods | Stub ... The Great Lawn and Turtle Pond, Central Park, occupy the almost flat site of the intractably rectangular, thirty-five-acre Lower Reservoir,[1] constructed in 1842, which was an unalterable fixture of the location of Central Park as it was first designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. ... This is about the urban planner; for other uses, see Robert Moses (disambiguation). ... The Delacorte Theater is located in Central Park in New York City. ... Title page of the first quarto (1600) The Merchant of Venice is a play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written sometime between 1596 and 1598. ... George Campbell Scott (October 18, 1927 - September 22, 1999) was a stage and film actor, director, and producer. ... James Earl Jones (born January 17, 1931) is an American Academy Award-nominated, Emmy- and Tony Award-winning actor of film and stage well known for his deep basso voice. ...


The plays

Works by Shakespeare are always included in the festival's seasonal lineup; generally three productions with two-week runs. However, other playwrights have been featured, including Anton Chekhov, Gilbert and Sullivan, Eric Bogosian, Sam Shepard, and Samuel Beckett. The 2006 season featured Mother Courage by Bertolt Brecht. Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (Russian: , IPA: ) was a Russian short story writer and playwright. ... W. S. Gilbert Arthur Sullivan Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian era partnership of librettist W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900). ... Eric Bogosian Eric Bogosian (born on April 24, 1953) is an American actor, playwright, monologist, and novelist. ... Sam Shepard (born November 5, 1943) is a unique American artist whose talents have been expressed in many different areas. ... This article is about the Irish writer. ... Mother Courage (German Mutter Courage) is a character from a Grimmelshausen novel Lebensbeschreibung der Ertzbetrügerin und Landstörtzerin Courasche (The Runagate Courage) dating from around 1670. ... {{dy justified his choice of form, and from about 1929 on he began to interpret its penchant for contradictions, much as had Eisenstein, in terms of the dialectic. ...


A notable exception came in the year a dispute occurred between Joseph Papp and the City of New York over public funding for his productions at the Delacorte. In a dramatic move of independence and zest, Joseph Papp denied the city any Shakespeare at the Delacorte for a summer, instead moving the Public's production of Pirates of Penzance to the uptown location. There have been few altercations between the city and the Public since, though the Public relies heavily on private funding. (In 2005, the theater company was among 406 New York City arts and social service institutions to receive part of a $20 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation, which was made possible through a donation by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.) [1] [2] The Pirates of Penzance, or The Slave of Duty, is a Gilbert and Sullivan comic operetta in two acts. ... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... The Carnegie Corporation was founded by the will of Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. ... Michael Rubens Bloomberg (born 14 February 1942) is an American businessman, founder of Bloomberg L.P., and the current Mayor of New York City. ...


Popularity and acclaim

Many plays from the summer festival have gone on to Broadway, including Wilford Leach's staging of The Mystery of Edwin Drood from the 1984-1985 season and The Tempest from the 1995-1996 season. The festival has also attracted many well-known actors, such as Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, Martin Sheen, and Al Pacino - the latter two of whom appeared as Brutus and Marc Antony in a toga-clad historical production of Julius Caesar, directed by Stuart Vaughan in 1987, in the first of the NYSF's Shakepeare Marathon - Papp's endeavor to present all of Shakespeare's works over a period of years. Since its inception, the festival has become popular with both New York natives and visitors to the city, and while the Delacorte Theater has over 1,800 seats, prospective theater goers can expect to sit in line for hours before the early afternoon ticket distribution. Approximately 80,000 people attend Shakespeare in the Park every year.[3]. For other uses of Broadway, see Broadway. ... Wilford Leach (August 26, 1929 - June 18, 1988) was a Tony Award-winning American theatre director, set designer, film director, screenwriter, and college professor. ... рThe Mystery of Edwin Drood was a Broadway musical based on the Charles Dickens novel of the same name. ... For other uses, see Tempest. ... Mary Louise Meryl Streep (born June 22, 1949) is a two-time Academy Award, Cannes Best Actress, Berlin Best Actress winning American actress who has worked in theatre, television, and film. ... For the Dawsons Creek director, see Morgan J. Freeman. ... Martin Sheen (born August 3, 1940) is an Emmy- and Golden Globe Award-winning American actor. ... Alfredo James Pacino (born April 25, 1940) is an Academy, Golden Globe, Tony, BAFTA, Emmy, and SAG award winning American actor who is best known for playing the roles of Tony Montana in the 1983 film Scarface and Michael Corleone in The Godfather Trilogy . ... For other uses, see Julius Caesar (disambiguation). ...


Staging and casting

The New York Shakespeare Festival was known for years as a means to develop new talent, and many actors, including Meryl Streep, attribute their performances at the Delacorte as a key bolt in their rise to stardom. There have been times where casting will rely heavily on known names in the film and theater industries, as a means to enhance the stature of a show. While controversial in the fact that lesser knowns do not get the chance to portray key roles in the park, placing stars in the cast gives the greater public the thrill of seeing a film or theater star acting for free.


A variety of arrangements have been employed to modify the Delacorte Theater stage over the years. In recent years, the Public has been known for its elaborate sets at the Delacorte, with mixed metaphors and attempted tie-ins to contemporary events. While they have rarely strayed from the Shakespearean script, such staging and costuming has lent credibility to traditionalist critics. The current trend at the Delacorte has been away from original Elizabethan costuming and sets, and more toward a directorial impression of how a show can be re-interpreted. Depending on the show, this trend has led to mixed critical reviews.


Sponsorship of other theatres

Over the years, the New York Shakespeare Festival supported other theatre companies throughout New York, helping to foster the growth of Off Broadway, as well as specific theatre programs and projects. Among these companies that benefited from NYSF during critical periods of their development was the Theatre for a New Audience. The Theatre for a New Audience developed a number of productions sponsored by the NYSF, including A Midsummer Nights Dream, presented at the Ansbacher Theatre, and through this sponsorship, the company was able to grow and expand its outreach to new audiences. Another such company was the Riverside Shakespeare Company. The Festival, under Papp's leadership, sponsored several Riverside Shakespeare Company productions at a critical stage in its development, beginning with Riverside's New York premiere production of Brecht's Edward II in 1982 at The Shakespeare Center on the Upper West Side (dedicated by Joseph Papp in 1982), followed by Equity parks tours of free Shakespeare throughout the five borroughs of New York City - much as the NYSF had done for years before. Riverside Shakespeare Company summer parks tour of Free Shakespeare sponsored by the NYSF began with A Comedy of Errors in 1982, followed by The Merry Wives of Windsor, featuring Anna Deavere Smith in her New York stage debut as Mistress Quickly, Romeo and Juliet, and The Taming of the Shrew. During the NYSF period of support, the Riverside Shakespeare Company expanded greatly, offering for the first time The Shakespeare Project in 1983, and serving a wide range of audiences in the five borroughs. Off-Broadway plays or musicals are performed in New York City in smaller theatres than Broadway, but larger than Off-Off-Broadway, productions. ... // The Riverside Shakespeare Company of New York City was founded in 1977 as an Equity theatre company on the Upper West Side of New York City, by W. Stuart McDowell and Gloria Skurski. ... This article is about the fourteenth century king of England. ... For other persons of the same name, see Anna Smith. ...


Most of this kind of developmental support by the NYSF came under the initiation of Joseph Papp - as part of his commitment to foster the development of theater in New York, from revenues derived from successful NYSF productions, such as the Broadway production of A Chorus Line, which had been developed at the NYSF and transferred to Broadway for the longest run of a Broadway musical up till then. Joseph Papp (1921 - 1991) was an American theatre producer and director. ... A Chorus Line is a musical with a book by James Kirkwood, Jr. ...


Location and allure

Main article: Delacorte Theater

The Delacorte Theater is an open-air amphitheater located on the southwest corner of the Great Lawn in Central Park, closest to the entrance at 81st Street and Central Park West. It was built in 1961 and named for George T. Delacorte, Jr., who donated money for its creation. The Belvedere Castle provides a backdrop for all of the shows at the Delacorte. Immediately backstage is Turtle Pond. As shows at the Delacorte traditionally begin in the early evening, shows usually start in daylight; as the play rolls on, the sun sets and the audience is drawn into the illuminated action on the stage. Since 1962 the Public has had the privilege of its exclusive use. The Delacorte Theater is located in Central Park in New York City. ... Belvedere Castle Belvedere Castle sits upon Vista Rock in Central Park, New York City. ...


Caveats for theatergoers

Tickets are given out at 1pm, two per person, at the Delacorte Theater and at the Public's Greenwich Village location at 425 Lafayette St. Lines can get extremely long, and snaking lines are part of the trademark of getting tickets for these shows. Be advised that line jumpers will be severely reprimanded, mainly by fellow line-sitters. That said, the line can be a fantastic experience and a way to meet new friends while getting tickets to see one of the best known playwrights in one of the world's greatest cities.


The pre-eminent problem for theatergoers is rain, especially as tickets cannot be exchanged in the event of a rainout, no matter how long one has waited in line. This necessary evil prevents the logistical nightmare of backlogged rainout tickets. Do be on time for shows, as late seating is at the discretion of the director, and permission for late seating may not be granted until 30-40 minutes into the show.


External links

Internet Broadway Database The Internet Broadway Database (IBDb) is an online database of Broadway theatre productions and their personnel. ...

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"Shakespeare in the Park" is an annual theater festival held in the summer in New York City's Central Park.
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