Before the reading of ROMEO AND JULIET, Tony Award winner Al Pacino will be honored at an al fresco dinner in Central Park for his body of work with The Public Theater, going back to the early 1970s and including his acclaimed performance as Shylock in the Shakespeare in the Park production of The Merchant of Venice in 2010. The benefit event is being chaired by Public Theater Board Members Arielle Tepper Madover and Alexandra Shiva.
In addition to Kevin Kline (Romeo), and Meryl Streep (Juliet) the cast will feature F. Murray Abraham (Friar Laurence); Christine Baranski (Nurse); John Cullum (Capulet); Raúl Esparza (Sampson, Apothecary, Watchman 1); David Harbour (Abraham, Capulet Servant, Paris’ Page); Bill Irwin (Montague); Jesse L. Martin (Gregory, Friar John, Watchman 2); Sandra Oh (Lady Montague); Phylicia Rashad (Lady Capulet); Jerry Stiller (Peter); Michael Stuhlbarg (Paris); Christopher Walken (Mercutio); Sharon Washington (Stage Directions); Sam Waterston (Benvolio); and Jeffrey Wright (Tybalt).
THE DELACORTE THEATER, home of Shakespeare in the Park, officially opened in Central Park on June 18, 1962 with The Merchant of Venice, directed by Joseph Papp and Gladys Vaughan and featuring George C. Scott as Shylock. The Merchant of Venice was followed that summer by a production of The Tempest, directed by Gerald Freedman and featuring Paul Stevens as Prospero and James Earl Jones as Caliban. The first Delacorte summer season concluded with King Lear, directed by Joseph Papp and Gladys Vaughan and featuring Frank Silvera as Lear. Since that time more than 150 productions have been presented for free at the Delacorte Theater. Highlights of past productions include Othello in 1964 with James Earl Jones; Hamlet in 1975 with Sam Waterston; The Taming of the Shrew in 1978 with Raul Julia and Meryl Streep; The Pirates of Penzance in 1980 with Kevin Kline and Linda Ronstadt; Henry V in 1984 with Kevin Kline; Much Ado About Nothing in 1988 with Kevin Kline and Blythe Danner; Richard III in 1990with Denzel Washington; Othello in 1991with Raul Julia and Christopher Walken; The Tempest in 1995 with Patrick Stewart; The Seagull in 2001 with Natalie Portman, Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline and Philip Seymour Hoffman; Mother Courage in 2006 with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline; Macbeth in 2006 with Liev Schreiber; HAIR in 2008 with Jonathan Groff and Will Swenson; Twelfth Night in 2009 with Anne Hathaway; The Merchant of Venice in 2010 with Al Pacino and Lily Rabe; All’s Well That Ends Well and Measure for Measure in 2011; and this summer’s As You Like It and Into the Woods.
ABOUT THE PUBLIC THEATER’S DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION
The revitalization of The Public Theater’s downtown home, to be completed in fall 2012, will physically manifest the Company’s core mission of sparking new dialogues and increasing accessibility for artists and audiences by dramatically opening up its landmark building to the street and community, and transforming the lobby into a public piazza for artists, students, and audiences. Designed by Ennead Architects, the project encompasses enhancements to the building’s interior and exterior while preserving the historic structure. Key elements of the design include infrastructure updates to the 158-year old building, as well as construction of new exterior entry stair and glass canopy; installation of ramps for improved accessibility; an expanded and refurbished lobby; the addition of a mezzanine level with a new lounge, designed by the Rockwell Group; expansion and remodeling of restroom facilities; and comprehensive exterior restoration, ensuring stability of the landmark façade.
AL PACINO (Gala Honoree) recently appeared in the critically acclaimed 2010 Shakespeare in the Park production of The Merchant of Venice, directed by Daniel Sullivan, which transferred to Broadway and earned him a Tony Award nomination. His other Public Theater credits include Marcus Antoinus in Julius Caesar in 1988. He has also appeared on Broadway in Salome; Hughie, which he appeared in and directed; Chinese Coffee; American Buffalo; Richard III; The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel, and Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? both earning him a Tony Award; and Camino Real. His additional Off-Broadway credits include The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui; The Indian wants the Bronx, earning him an Obie and Theatre World Award; The Connection; Tiger at the Gates; The Local Stigmatic; Hello; Out There; and Orphans. Pacino is an Academy Award and two-time Emmy winner who has appeared in more than 35 films. He also received the NEA National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama earlier this year.
DANIEL SULLIVAN (Romeo and Juliet Director). In addition to directing As You Like It at the Delacorte this summer, for The Public Theater, Sullivan directed All’s Well That Ends Well, The Merchant of Venice (Broadway/Shakespeare in the Park), Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Stuff Happens, and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Among his Broadway credits are The Columnist, Good People, Time Stands Still, Accent on Youth, The Homecoming, Prelude to a Kiss, Rabbit Hole, After the Night and the Music, Julius Caesar, Brooklyn Boy, Sight Unseen, I’m Not Rappaport, Morning’s at Seven, Proof, the 2000 production of A Moon for the Misbegotten, Ah, Wilderness!, The Sisters Rosensweig, Conversations With My Father, and The Heidi Chronicles. Among his Off-Broadway credits are Intimate Apparel, Far East, Spinning into Butter, Third at Lincoln Center, Dinner With Friends, and The Substance of Fire. From 1981 to 1997, he served as Artistic Director of Seattle Repertory Theatre. Sullivan is the Swanlund Professor of Theatre at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
JEANINE TESORI (Original Music for Romeo and Juliet) has composed original works for The Public with Tony Kushner for Caroline, or Change and Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children. Her other notable theater works include original music for A Free Man of Color, Shrek The Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Swing!, Twelfth Night, The Sound of Music, Dream, and How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Tesori has also composed music for the films Nights in Rodanthe, The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning, among others.
F. MURRAY ABRAHAM (Friar Laurence)has appeared in The Public’s Shakespeare in the Park productions of The Golem and Twelfth Night; and downtown in Landscape of the Body, The Seagull, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and King Lear. He recently appeared as Shylock in the Theater For A New Audience production of The Merchant of Venice, and on Broadway in Mauritius, Triumph of Love, A Month in the Country, Angels in America, and others. His select films and television credits include Scarface, Amadeus, Star Trek: Insurrection, “Bored to Death,” “Louie,” “The Good Wife,” and “Blue Bloods.”
CHRISTINE BARANSKI (Nurse)has appeared on The Public’s Delacorte Theater stage in Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Her Broadway credits include Boeing-Boeing, Nick & Nora, Rumors, The House of Blue Leaves, Hurlyburly, The Real Thing, and Hide and Seek. Her select film and television credits include The Bounty Hunter; Mama Mia!; Falling for Grace, Welcome to Mooseport, Chicago, Life With Mike, “Cybill;” “Happy Family;” “The Big Bang Theory;” and Diane Lockhart on “The Good Wife.”
JOHN CULLUM (Capulet) appeared last season in The Public’s Shakespeare in the Park productions of All’s Well That Ends Well and Measure for Measure. He first appeared in the Park in 1962 as the King of France in King Lear. The two-time Tony Award-winner and inductee into the Theatre Hall of Fame recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of his Broadway debut and has appeared in The Scottsboro Boys and August: Osage County.
RAÚL ESPARZA (Sampson, Apothecary, Watchman 1)appeared in The Public’s Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night in 2009and in The Normal Heart in 2004, which was hosted by The Public. He was recently seen on Broadway in Leap of Faith. His other Broadway credits include Arcadia, Speed-the-Plow, The Homecoming, Company, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Taboo, Cabaret, and The Rocky Horror Show. His select film and television credits include My Soul to Take, Find Me Guilty, “A Gifted Man,” and “Pushing Daisies.”
DAVID HARBOUR (Abraham, Capulet Servant, Paris’s Page)appeared in The Public Theater’s Broadway production of The Merchant of Venice in 2010, as well as the 2008 Shakespeare in the Park production of Hamlet. His additional theater credits include the Broadway productions of The Coast of Utopia; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; The Invention of Love; and The Rainmaker. His Off-Broadway credits include Between Us, The Two Noble Kinsmen, A Bad Friend, Fifth of July, Stranger, and The Time of the Cuckoo. His select film and television credits include Knife Fight, Isolation, Revolutionary Road, Quantum of Solace, “Pan Am,” and “Royal Pains.”
BILL IRWIN (Montague)has appeared at The Public in King Lear with Sam Waterston, The Tempest, and Texts for Nothing. His Broadway credits include Bye Bye Birdie; Waiting for Godot; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (2005 Tony Award); and The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? Off-Broadway he appeared in Mr. Fox: A Rumination, The Regard Evening, The Harlequin Studies, and Trumbo: Red White and Blacklisted. His film and television credits include Rachel Getting Married, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and “The Cosby Show.”
KEVIN KLINE (Romeo) is an Academy Award and Tony Award-winning actor who last appeared at the Delacorte in Mother Courage and Her Children in 2006. His other Public Theater credits include King Lear; The Seagull; The Wars of the Roses cycle; Pirates of Penzance, which also transferred to Broadway earning him a Tony Award; Richard III; Henry V; Much Ado About Nothing; Hamlet; and Measure for Measure. His Broadway credits include Three Sisters, Ivanov, Arms and the Man, On the Twentieth Century (Tony), and Loose Ends. His additional Off-Broadway credits include The Lower Depths, and The School for Scandal. His extensive film and television credits include Sophie’s Choice, The Big Chill, Silverado, Cry Freedom, A Fish Called Wanda (Oscar), Soapdish, Grand Canyon, Dave, French Kiss, The Ice Storm, In and Out, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Life as a House, The Emperor’s Club, De-Lovely, A Prairie Home Companion, No Strings Attached, Darling Companion and Hamlet on PBS.
JESSE L. MARTIN (Gregory, Friar John, Watchman 2)has appeared at The Public in The Merchant of Venice (on Broadway and at the Delacorte) and The Winter’s Tale. His additional Broadway credits include Rent, Timon of Athens, and The Inspector General. Martin’s other theater credits include Ain't Yo Uncle, The Arabian Nights, The Butcher's Daughter, Romeo & Juliet, and Two Gentlemen of Verona. His film and television credits include Rent; Peter and Vandy; Cake Eaters; Season of Youth; The Restaurant; nine years on "Law & Order;" "The Philanthropist;" "The X-Files;" "Ally McBeal;" "413 Hope Street;" "New York Undercover;" and “Deep In My Heart.”
SANDRA OH (Lady Montague) has previously appeared at The Public Theater in Satellites and Stop Kiss. Her additional Off-Broadway credits include The Vagina Monologues. Her select film and television credits include Rabbit Hole, Ramona and Beezus, Sideways, For Your Consideration, and most notably as Doctor Cristina Yang on “Grey’s Anatomy.”
PHYLICIA RASHAD (Lady Capulet) has appeared at The Public in The Story, Helen, and Everybody’s Ruby. Her Broadway credits include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; August: Osage County; Cymbeline; Gem of the Ocean; A Raisin in the Sun; Jelly’s Last Jam; Into the Woods; Dreamgirls; The Wiz. She has been seen Off-Broadway in Bernarda Alba, Blue, and The Vagina Monologues. Her select film and television credits include For Colored Girls, Good Deeds, Just Wright, “The Cosby Show,” “Psych,” “Touched by an Angel.”
JERRY STILLER (Peter) previously performed in Romeo and Juliet in 1957 in The Public’s Mobile Unit. He performed in the Shakespeare in the Park productions of Two Gentlemen of Verona in 1971 and Much Ado About Nothing in 1988. His select Broadway credits include The Golden Apple; Threepenny Opera; Measure for Measure; The Taming of the Shrew; The Ritz, Hurlyburly; What’s Wrong With This Picture?; and The Three Sisters. His select film and television credits include The Heartbreak Kid, Hairspray, Serving Sara, On the Line, “The King of Queens,” “Fish Hooks,” “Seinfeld,” and “The Love Boat,” among many others.
MERYL STREEP (Juliet)last appeared on the Delacorte stage in 2006 in Mother Courage and Her Children. Her other Public Theater credits include the critically acclaimed production of The Seagull directed by Mike Nichols; Trelawny of the Wells; Henry V; Measure for Measure; The Cherry Orchard; The Taming of the Shrew; Taken in Marriage; and Alice at the Palace. Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award seventeen times, and has won it three times, most recently for her role in The Iron Lady. Her first film role was in the 1977 film Julia, and the following year she was nominated for her first Oscar for her role in The Deer Hunter. She went on to win the Academy Award for her performances in Kramer vs. Kramer and Sophie's Choice. Her additional film credits include Silkwood, Out of Africa, Ironweed, A Cry in the Dark, Postcards from the Edge, Death Becomes Her, The House of the Spirits, The River Wild, The Bridges of Madison County, Before and After, Marvin's Room, One True Thing, Dancing at Lughnasa, Music of the Heart, The Hours, Angels in America, The Manchurian Candidate, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Prime, A Prairie Home Companion, The Devil Wears Prada, Dark Matter, Rendition, Mamma Mia!, Doubt, Julie & Julia, Fantastic Mr. Fox, It’s Complicated, and the upcoming film Hope Springs.
MICHAEL STUHLBARG (Paris)has appeared in The Public’s Shakespeare in the Park productions of Hamlet as the title role, Twelfth Night, The Winter’s Tale, Henry VIII, and All’s Well That Ends Well. His other Public Theater credits include Measure for Pleasure, A Dybbuk, Richard II, and Woyzeck. His Broadway credits include The Pillowman, The Invention of Love, Cabaret, Taking Sides, The Government Inspector, Timon of Athens, Three Men on a Horse, and Saint Joan. His select film and television credits include Men in Black III, Hugo, A Serious Man, as well as Arnold Rothstein on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.”
CHRISTOPHER WALKEN (Mercutio) has appeared in The Public’s Shakespeare in the Park productions of The Seagull, Othello, and Cymbeline as well as in Him, Coriolanus, Cinders, and Kid Champion. His Broadway credits include A Behanding in Spokane, James Joyce’s The Dead, Hurlyburly, Sweet Bird of Youth, The Merchant of Venice, The Plough and the Stars, Enemies, The Rose Tattoo, Baker Street, High Spirits, and The Lion in Winter. He has been seen Off-Broadway in Love Letters, The House of Blue Leaves, The Tempest, and Troilus and Cressida. His select film and television credits include Catch Me If You Can, Hairspray, Wedding Crashers, Sleepy Hollow, Pulp Fiction, and The Deer Hunter for which he won an Oscar.
SHARON WASHINGTON (Stage Directions)has appeared in The Public Theater productions of Coriolanus, Cymbeline, Richard III, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, and Before It Hits Home. She has appeared on Broadway in The Scottsboro Boys and Off-Broadway in The Overwhelming, String of Pearls, House, Garden, Seeking the Genesis, The Radical Mystique, and Joined at the Head. Her select film and television credits include Rocksteady, An Invisible Sign, Michael Clayton, Die Hard: With a Vengeance, “Royal Pains,” and “Damages.”
SAM WATERSTON (Benvolio)has appeared at The Public in over 12 productions. He first performed as Silvius in As You Like It in 1963 for Shakespeare in the Park. His other Public Theater credits include Prince Hal in Henry IV, Parts I & II (1968);Cloten in Cymbeline (1971); Laertes, Hamlet, Polonius in Hamlet (1972, 1975, 2008);Duke in Measure for Measure (1976); Benedick, Leonato in Much Ado About Nothing (1972, 2004); and Prospero in The Tempest (1974).He most recently played Lear in King Lear in 2011. HisLincoln Center credits include Abe Lincoln in Illinois, and A Doll’s House. His film and television credits include The Great Gatsby, The Killing Fields, four Woody Allen films, Serial Mom, The Glass Menagerie, “I’ll Fly Away,” “Law & Order” (16 seasons), and the upcoming Aaron Sorkin HBO series, “The Newsroom.”
JEFFREY WRIGHT (Tybalt)has appeared at The Public in Julius Caesar; Othello; King Lear; This is How It Goes; and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Topdog/Underdog. His Broadway credits include A Free Man of Color; Topdog/Underdog; Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk; and Angels in America: Parts I and II. His select film and television credits include Casino Royale; Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close; The Ides of March; Cadillac Records; W.; The Manchurian Candidate; Shaft; and “Angels in America.”
ABOUT THE PUBLIC THEATER
The only theater in New York that produces Shakespeare and the classics, musicals, contemporary and experimental pieces in equal measure, The Public continues the work of its visionary founder, Joe Papp, by acting as an advocate for the theater as an essential cultural force, and leading and framing dialogue on some of the most important issues of our day. Creating theater for one of the largest and most diverse audience bases in New York City for nearly 60 years, today the Company engages audiences in a variety of venues—including its landmark downtown home, which houses five theaters and Joe’s Pub; the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, home to the beloved, free Shakespeare in the Park; and the Mobile Shakespeare Unit, which tours Shakespearean productions for underserved audiences throughout New York City’s five boroughs. The Public’s wide range of programming includes free Shakespeare in the Park, the bedrock of the Company’s dedication to making theater accessible to all, new and experimental stagings at its downtown home, and a range of artist and audience development initiatives including its Public Forum series, which brings together theater artists and professionals from a variety of disciplines for discussions that shed light on social issues explored in Public productions. The Public Theater receives annual support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. www.publictheater.org
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