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Wednesday, 08 May 2013 15:28

Kevin Kline, Glenn Close, Eric Idle and Martin Short to Star in Public Theater's Benefit Performance of THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE

The Public Theater









The Late Nora Ephron To Be Honored
For Her Long-Term Support Of The Public Theater

May 8, 2013 – The Public Theater (Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis; Executive Director, Patrick Willingham) announced today that Kevin Kline will reprise his Tony Award-winning role of The Pirate King with Glenn Close as Ruth, Eric Idle as the Sergeant, and Martin Short as Major-General Stanley in the one-night-only concert performance of THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE for The Public’s annual gala. Co-chaired by Sir Howard Stringer, Arielle Tepper Madover, and Renée Beaumont, this unforgettable summer evening will also honor the late Nora Ephron who was a long-time board member and consummate lover of The Public’s Shakespeare in the Park.

Directed by Ted Sperling with musical staging by original choreographer Graciela Daniele, The Public Theater’s annual gala will take place on Monday, June 10 at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park where The Public’s award-winning production originally premiered more than three decades ago. The Public has a long history of premiering new musicals at The Delacorte Theater that have made a strong impact on the landscape of musical theater and are still performed around the world today.

The evening will begin with cocktails at 5:00 p.m. followed by alfresco dinner in Central Park.  The concert performance of THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE at 8:00 p.m. will be followed by a dessert reception under the stars. Tickets to The Public Theater’s annual gala on Monday, June 10 start at $650 and are now available for purchase at, by calling (212) 539-8634 or via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Inspired to produce the classics for free in a more popular arena, Public Theater founder Joe Papp brought Gilbert and Sullivan's delightful pirate tale, THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE,to the Delacorte Theater in a groundbreaking, rock-infused, modern staging starring Kevin Kline, Linda Ronstadt and Rex Smith. It was an overnight sensation, moving to Broadway in 1981 where it won the Tony Award for Best Revival.

The Public Theater’s free Shakespeare in the Park continues to be the bedrock of the Company’s mission to increase access. Since the opening of The Delacorte Theater in Central Park in 1962, more than five million people have enjoyed more than 150 free productions of Shakespeare and other classical works and musicals at The Delacorte Theater.

Bank of America returns for the seventh year as season sponsor of Shakespeare in the Park supporting The Public in its mission to keep this valued program free for all.

NORA EPHRON (Artistic Honoree) (1941-2012). A longtime supporter of The Public Theater, Ephron served on The Public’s Board of Trustees for over eight years. After becoming one of the industry's most respected screenwriters, Ephron turned to directing in 1992 with her first feature, 20th Century Fox's This is My Life starring Julie Kavner. She followed it in 1993 with her second picture, TriStar's Sleepless in Seattle starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, which grossed over $200 million worldwide, and then Michael, starring John Travolta, William Hurt and Andie McDowell. Ephron teamed Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan again for the 1998 released You've Got Mail. In 2000, she directed Lucky Numbers, starring John Travolta and Lisa Kudrow. Her first Broadway play, Imaginary Friends, was produced on Broadway in December 2002 and starred Cherry Jones and Swoosie Kurtz. She also wrote Love, Loss, and What I Wore with her sister Delia Ephron, which ran Off-Broadway in 2009. Her latest play, Lucky Guy, featuring Tom Hanks, is currently at the Broadhurst Theatre. Her last film was the 2008 released Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. Ephron received three Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay: for Sleepless in Seattle (with David Ward and Jeff Arch), for Rob Reiner's hit comedy When Harry Met Sally... and for Mike Nichols' Silkwood (co-written with Alice Arlen). She began screenwriting after years as one of the country's best known journalists. She started as a newspaper reporter for the New York Post and then became a magazine writer for Esquire, the New York Times Magazine and New York Magazine, among others. Two collections of her essays, "Crazy Salad" and "Scribble, Scribble" are bestsellers and her book, “I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman,” reached number one on the New York Times Bestsellers List. Her collection of essays, “I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections,” was published in 2010 and was also a national bestseller.

GLENN CLOSE (Ruth) recently lent her voice to the Giant in The Public’s production of Into The Woods. She is a six-time Oscar-nominated, Emmy, Golden Globe, and Tony Award-winning actress. Her Broadway credits include Sunset Boulevard (Tony, Drama Desk, L.A. Drama Critics Circle awards); The Real Thing, Dead and the Maiden (Tony Awards); Barnum, The Crucifer of Blood and Love for Love. Off-Broadway she has appeared in The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs (Obie Award). In London she has appeared in A Streetcar Named Desire (Royal National Theater). Her most recent film credit is Albert Nobbs, which she also co-wrote and produced. Her television credits include “Damages,” which recently completed its fifth and final season.

ERIC IDLE (The Sergeant) is an English comedian, actor, author, singer, playwright, and songwriter.  Co-creator of Monty Python on TV, stage and five films, including Life of Brian and Holy Grail, which later he adapted for the stage as Spamalot, writing the book, and lyrics, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2005. Creator of The Rutles, he starred as Ko-Ko in the English National Opera version of The Mikado, in London and Houston.  He is also one of the conceiver’s of the musical Seussical.  His most recent live performance was in front of a billion people worldwide singing his song Always Look On the Bright Side of Life at the Closing Ceremony of the London Olympics. His latest musical play, entitled What About Dick?, stars Eric with Eddie Izzard, Russell Brand, Billy Connolly, Tracey Ullman, Jane Leeves and Tim Curry, and is available for download at Visit for further details.

KEVIN KLINE (The Pirate King) is an Academy Award and Tony Award-winning actor who last appeared at the Delacorte in the 2012 gala performance of Romeo and Juliet with Meryl Streep. His other Public Theater credits include Mother Courage and Her Children, King Lear; The Seagull, The Wars of the Roses cycle; The 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.

MARTIN SHORT (Major-General Stanley), a celebrated comedian and actor, has won fans and accolades in television, film and theater since his breakout season on Saturday Night Live almost 30 years ago. Short won a Tony and an Outer Critics Circle Award for his role in the revival of Little Me. He was also nominated for a Tony and took home an Outer Critics Circle Award for the musical version of Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl. Short also co-wrote and was featured in Fame Becomes Me. He made his feature film debut in Three Amigos and followed with Inner Space, Three Fugitives, Clifford, Pure Luck, Mars Attack, and the remake of Father of the Bride, as well as the follow-up, Father of the Bride Part 2. Short’s television credits include his Emmy-nominated role for the mini-series “Merlin” and host of “The Martin Short Show,” which garnered him seven Emmy nominations. Short also wrote, produced and starred in three comedy specials, winning two Cable ACE awards and an Emmy. In 2001, he launched the critically acclaimed “Primetime Glick,” garnering another five Emmy nominations. Short was nominated for his nineteenth Emmy award in 2010 for his work on “Damages.” 

TED SPERLING (Director) is The Public Theater’s Musical Theater Initiative Consultant, and is a director, music director, arranger, orchestrator, conductor, singer, pianist, and violinist. For The Public he directed See What I Wanna See and did the musical direction for Saturn Returns.  In 2005, he won Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his orchestrations of The Light In The Piazza (also music director). His other Broadway credits as music director/conductor/pianist include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Full Monty, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, Kiss Of The Spider Woman, Angels In America, My Favorite Year, Falsettos, Drood, Les Misérables, Roza, and Sunday In The Park With George.

GRACIELA DANIELE (Choreography) choreographed the original production of The Pirates of Penzance at the Delacorte Theater, as well as the Broadway production, which earned her a Tony Award nomination. Her additional Public Theater choreography credits include Alice In Concert, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Knife, and Dancing on Her Knees, which she directed. Her additional Broadway credits include The Most Happy Fella, Zorba, The Rink, Marie Christine, Once on this Island, Ragtime, Dangerous Games, and Annie Get Your Gun. She also choreographed the film version of The Pirates of Penzance, as well as three Woody Allen films, including Mighty Aphrodite (winner 1996 Fosse Award) and Everyone Says I Love You (winner 1997 Fosse Award).


Completed in October 2012, the revitalization of The Public Theater’s downtown home at Astor Place physically manifests 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 and constructed by Westerman Construction, 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, The Library at The Public, designed by the Rockwell Group; expansion and remodeling of restroom facilities; and comprehensive exterior restoration, ensuring stability of the landmark façade.


Under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham, The Public Theater is 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 at Astor Place, which houses five theaters and Joe’s Pub; the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, home to its beloved, free Shakespeare in the Park; and the Mobile 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 The Public at Astor Place, 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 is located on property owned by the City of New York and receives annual support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust provides leadership support for The Public Theater’s year-round activities.

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