Shakespeare in the Park is one of the greatest New York City traditions, and the lineup has been announced for the Public Theater’s 52nd summer season at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.
Tony nominee Lily Rabe (Steel Magnolias, American Horror Story), Obie winner Hamish Linklater (The School for Lies, The New Adventures of Old Christine, The Crazy Ones), and Tony-Emmy winner John Lithgow (Sweet Smell of Success, Third Rock from the Sun) will headline the two productions. Rabe and Linklater will play the quarrelling lovers Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, running June 3-July 6, while Lithgow will essay the title role in King Lear from July 22 to August 17. A pair of Tony winning directors will helm the productions. Jack O’Brien (Hairspray) will stage Much Ado while Daniel Sullivan (Proof) will be responsible for King Lear.
Rabe and Linklater appeared together at the Delacorte back in 2010 in The Merchant of Venice. Linklater also played in The Winter’s Tale the same season. Merchant subsequently transferred to Broadway and Rabe was nominated for a Tony for her performance as Portia. She has also played Rosalind in As You Like It at the Delacorte. Linklater’s additional Central Park credits include Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night and twin brothers both named Antipholus in The Comedy of Errors. Lithgow last played the Delacorte as Laertes in Hamlet in 1975.
“This summer, Shakespeare in the Park features two of the greatest plays ever written: the magnificent comedy Much Ado About Nothing and the towering tragedy of King Lear,” Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis said in a statement. “We are welcoming back three of The Public’s most beloved Shakespeareans of the past decade, Dan Sullivan, Lily Rabe and Hamish Linklater. And we are proud that one ofAmerica’s greatest theatre artists, Jack O’Brien, will be making his Delacorte debut and that the amazingly talented John Lithgow will be returning to the Park after an inexplicable 35-year absence. It will be a miraculous summer.”
Further cast members will be announced at a later date.