2017 is shaping up to be the Summer of Shakespeare in NYC, with dozens of FREE and cheap performances of his timeless comedies and tragedies, including favorites Hamlet, Macbeth and Twelfth Night.
The biggie, of course, is Shakespeare in the Park, FREE, in Central Park’s outdoor Delacorte Theater, with top Broadway, Hollywood and film stars in title roles and in the director’s chair. On the schedule this summer is Julius Caesar, which couldn’t be more timely, since it’s about the rise of a popular leader who morphs into a bully and tyrant.
- Julius Caesar is May 23rd to June 18th, followed the lighter fare of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Through Monday, see Henry IV, with live rock music enhancing the Shakespearean prose. Performances are by the Hamlet Isn’t Dead troupe, at Westbeth Artist Community in Chelsea. Tickets are $25.
- King Henry IV is a monarch under siege. Not only does he have a full-blown rebellion to deal with, but his unruly offspring Prince Hal shows no signs of the responsibility it takes to assume the throne. If only she could be more like Hotspur, the hot-headed gallant leading the rebellion.
Shakespeare in Bryant Park – Also FREE, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 7pm, Sunday matinees at 3pm, at the Upper Terrace, May through September, performed by members of The Drilling Company. Here’s the schedule:
- May 19 to June 3 – The Merry Wives of Windsor – Shakespeare’s first sitcom, featuring the classic misadventures of Falstaff and two neighborhood wives, set in an Upper West Side Co-op.
- Friday July 28, Saturday July 29, and Sunday July 30 – Twelfth Night – All is not what it seems in this cross-dressing comedy. Lost travelers Viola and brother Sebastian chaotically search for each other after ending up ashore with hilarious results.
- Fridays and Saturdays from August 25 through September 9 – The Tempest – Love and revenge on Prospero’s magical island in the Bard’s last play. Songs from Natalie Smith and Andrew Gombas lead the comical journey through dazzling spells and devious plots.
Theater 2020 presents Macbeth – Instead of the dreary Moors, this version moves the incest, madness and witchcraft to the sunny South Pacific. Performances Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday matinees at 4pm, May 25th through June 9th, at First Unitarian Church, 116 Pierrepont St., Brooklyn Heights. Tickets are $25, and $20 for Seniors and Students.
Drunk Shakespeare – This Off-Broadway play tells the tale an actor who has had one too many slurring, his way through famous Shakespearean prose, including the famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy by Hamlet. It’s a silly, funny evening of suds and sonnets, cocktails and couplets, that would have even The Bard roaring with laughter.
- Discount tickets are $29, which is $30 less than the walk-up price, for performances through September 2017
Sonnet Slam – You’ll have to wait until next year to hear all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets read, in order, by top Broadway stars and others. The annual Sonnet Slam is in Central Park on Shakespeare’s birthday, April 21st.