Shakespeare in the Park is, quite possibly, New York City’s most famous annual theatrical experience. Because its founder, Joseph Papp, stressed the importance of bringing classical theatre to the most diverse audience in the world- the residents of New York City- great works of the stage have been performed for free every summer at the Delacorte Theater, outdoors in Central Park, since 1962. Often, these shows become the hottest tickets in town, with long lines of prospective theatregoers waiting overnight to receive those metaphorical golden tickets.
Although the focus is generally on Shakespeare and other classics, many musicals have performed at the Delacorte over the years, including four that moved on to the Great White Way: The Pirates of Penzance, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, On The Town and, most recently, HAIR. And even the Shakespeare productions often have music or dance incorporated, as was the case in the last couple of years with Love’s Labour's Lost and The Comedy of Errors.
On this episode of The Ensemblist, we speak to three Broadway veterans about performing the Park- how it is the same as performing on the main stem, but more often, how it can be very, very different.
Josh Lamon (Elf, Hair) last performed for Shakespeare in the Park as the Steward in Into the Woods.
Tommar Wilson (The Book of Mormon, Hair, Lestat, Never Gonna Dance, Hairspray, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Music Man) was last seen at the Delacorte Theater in Hair as a member of the Tribe.
Jessica Wu (A Chorus Line) performed last summer for Shakespeare in the Park in the ensemble of The Comedy of Errors.