The Public Theater celebrated its annual gala September 20, concluding the run of its Shakespeare in the Park production of Merry Wives. The Queens, Jane Krakowski, Neil Patrick Harris, and more were part of the celebration of the famed Off-Broadway theatre company.
The Public Theater’s Annual Gala honored the late Joe Papp, the Public's founder and former artistic director who would have celebrated his 100th birthday in June. The evening also honored Public Works Community Member Vivian Jett Brown with the inaugural Annual Community Leadership Award.
Go Inside the Public Theater’s Annual Gala With Your Queens, Jane Krakowski, and More
The Shakespeare in the Park production of Merry Wives officially opened at the Delacorte Theater August 9. Adapted by Jocelyn Bioh, the show re-imagines Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor as a celebration of Black joy, laughter, and vitality in South Harlem amidst a community of West African immigrants. Helmed by Associate Artistic Director and Resident Director Saheem Ali, the production marked the return of Shakespeare in the Park following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The all-Black production starred Abena as Anne Page, Gbenga Akinnagbe as Mister Nduka Ford, Pascale Armand as Madam Ekua Page, MaYaa Boateng as Fenton/Simple, Phillip James Brannon as Pastor Evans, Joshua Echebiri as Slendor/Pistol, Angela Grovey as Mama Quickly, Jacob Ming-Trent as Falstaff, Jennifer Mogbock as Madam Nkecki Ford, Julian Rozzell Jr. as Shallow, Kyle Scatliffe as Mister Kwame Page, David Ryan Smith as Dr. Caius with ensemble members Brandon E. Burton, Branden Lindsay, Zonya Love, Jarvis D. Matthews, and Sarin Monae West.
Merry Wives featured scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Dede Ayite, lighting design by Jiyoun Chang, sound design by Kai Harada and Palmer Hefferan, hair, wigs, and makeup design by Cookie Jordan, original music by Michael Thurber, original drum compositions by Farai Malianga, fight direction by Rocío Mendez, choreography by Darrell Grand Moultrie, and sound system design by Jessica Paz. Narda E. Alcorn served as production stage manager.
It was previously announced that the production was filmed for PBS' Great Performances series.