Reviews: Critics Weigh In On Kenny Leon-Helmed Hamlet at Central Park's Delacorte Theater | Playbill

The Verdict Reviews: Critics Weigh In On Kenny Leon-Helmed Hamlet at Central Park's Delacorte Theater

The Free Shakespeare in the Park production stars Ato Blankson-Wood in the leading role.

Ato Blankson-Wood in Hamlet Joan Marcus

Critics are sharing their thoughts on The Public Theater's Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Hamlet, which opened at Central Park's Delacorte Theater June 28. Performances began after June 10 for the play which stars Tony nominee Ato Blankson-Wood (Slave Play) in the title role. Tony winner Kenny Leon directs the run which is scheduled to continue through August 6.

Joining Blankson-Wood are Brandon Gill as Guildenstern, Tyrone Mitchell Henderson as Osric/Priest, Greg Hildreth as Gravedigger, Colby Lewis as First Player, Warner Miller as Horatio, Daniel Pearce as Polonius, Solea Pfeiffer as Ophelia, Nick Rehberger as Laertes, John Douglas Thompson as Claudius, Lorraine Toussaint as Gertrude, and Mitchell Winter as Rosencrantz.

Read the reviews here.

CitiTour (Brian Scott Lipton)

The Daily Beast (Tim Teeman)

New York Stage Review (Melissa Rose Bernardo)

New York Theater (Jonathan Mandell)

New York Theatre Guide (Gillian Russo)

The New York Times (Jesse Green)*

Observer (David Cote)

TheaterMania (Kenji Fujishima)

Time Out (Raven Snook)

Vulture (Jackson McHenry)*

The Wrap (Robert Hofler)

*This review may require creating a free account or a paid subscription.

Playbill will continue to update this list as reviews come in.

The ensemble comprises Mikhail Calliste, Safiya Kaija Harris, Lauren Hayes, LaWanda Hopkins, Jaylon Jamal, TrÍ Lê, Cornelius McMoyler, Laughton Royce, Lance Alexander Smith, and Lark White. Rounding out the company as understudies are Liam Craig, Myxolydia Tyler, William Oliver Watkins, and Bryce Michael Wood.

Performances were originally scheduled to begin June 8, but the Public canceled the first two previews due to dangerous air quality in NYC. Free tickets are distributed in a variety of ways across all five boroughs. The Public shared details about the program on social media.

The outdoor production features choreography by Camille A. Brown, scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Jessica Jahn, lighting design by Allen Lee Hughes, sound design by Justin Ellington, video design by Jeff Sugg, music composition by Jason Michael Webb, and hair, wig, and makeup design by Earon Chew Nealey. Karyn Meek serves as production stage manager.

Check out photos of the production in the gallery below.

Take a Look at The Public's Free Shakespeare in the Park's Hamlet

Hamlet has been previously staged at The Delacorte four times. It was last seen 15 years ago in a 2008 production featuring Michael Stuhlbarg in the title role and Lauren Ambrose as Ophelia, Andre Braugher as Claudius, and David Harbour as Laertes, directed by Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. Michael Rudman directed Sam Waterston as Hamlet in 1975, also featuring Ruby Dee as Gertrude and John Lithgow at Laertes. In 1972, the production was directed by Gerald Freedman, featuring Stacy Keach as Hamlet, James Earl Jones as Claudius, Sam Waterston as Laertes, Raul Julia as Osric, and Colleen Dewhurst as Gertrude. In 1964, two years after The Delacorte opened, Public Theater Founder Joseph Papp directed a production featuring Alfred Ryder in the title role, with Howard Da Silva as Claudius and Julie Harris as Ophelia.

Since 1962, over six million people have enjoyed more than 150 free productions of Shakespeare and other classical works and musicals in The Public’s home in Central Park.

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