Theatre darlings came out in their best for the opening night of The Public Theater's Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Hamlet. The red carpet was rolled out at Central Park's Delacorte Theater June 28 for the play, which began previews June 10. Tony winner Kenny Leon directs the engagement through August 6. Read the reviews here.
Starring Tony nominee Ato Blankson-Wood as the titular character, Hamlet's cast also features Brandon Gill, Tyrone Mitchell Henderson, Greg Hildreth, Colby Lewis, Warner Miller, Daniel Pearce, Solea Pfeiffer, Nick Rehberger, John Douglas Thompson, Lorraine Toussaint, and Mitchell Winter.
Ensemble members include 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.
Coming out in support of the show were the likes of Patti LuPone, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Corey Hawkins, André De Shields, Wendell Pierce, Questlove, Aaron Tveit, Larissa FastHorse, J. Smith Cameron, Donna Murphy, and more. See photos of them and the other opening night attendees for Hamlet in the gallery below.
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.
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.
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.
For more information visit PublicTheater.org.