Nothing, but nothing screams New York!in the summer like Shakespeare in the Park. Here's the skinny on this year's season:
Through June 23rd, you can catch Much Ado About Nothing at the series' home, the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Tony Award winner Kenny Leon (American Son, A Raisin in the Sun) directs a bold new take on Shakespeare's timeless comedy of romantic retribution and miscommunication. Leon's version features an all-black cast headed up by Danielle Brooks (Tony nominee for The Color Purple and a star of Netflix's Orange is the New Black) in the role of Beatrice.
Comedy will turn into tragedy later in the summer (July 16 through August 11), with Shakespeare in the Park's first production of Coriolanus, a play based on the life of the legendary leader Caius Marcius Coriolanus, a Roman general voted into power by a populace eager for a change. Hint: It does not end well. Tony award winner Daniel Sullivan (Proof) directs and Jonathan Cake and Kate Burton will star.
Now, how do you get tickets? There are several ways:
Tickets are distributed right at the Delacorte Theater on a first-come, first-served basis at noon on the day in the show. (To get to the theater, enter in the park at 81st St. and Central Park West or 79th St. and Fifth Ave.) The line is long, and you probably shouldn't arrive much later than 10 a.m. to have a decent chance at snagging seats. Before you go, be sure to register online for a Public Theater Patron ID, because they won't give you the tix without it. (We don't know why this is necessary, but we will obey. It's Shakespeare, for God's sake!) Tickets are limited to two per person, and the amount handed out varies from day to day. Oh--and bring an umbrella and snacks for the wait, just in case.
Another option is there's also a standby line every night at the Delacorte for unclaimed tickets; if going that route, try to get in line at least an hour before the performance.
Entrance can also be scored through a mobile lottery. Tickets are assigned by random draw on the TodayTix app each day of a performance. You simply enter the lottery for one or two tickets between midnight and noon on the day of the show. If you're in luck, you'll be notified between noon and 2:15 p.m. and must confirm you want them within 45 minutes.
And here's yet another route! The Public Theater in Astor Place holds an in-person lottery each show day. Sign-up starts at 11 am and the drawing is at noon.
Phew! The good news is that the tickets are free, gratis, youpaynothingwereallymeanitnokidding. And that makes it all worthwhile.