The Public Theater will kick off the 2017-18 season in September with a free Public Works musical adaptation of AS YOU LIKE IT, adapted by Shaina Taub and Laurie Woolery, with music and lyrics by Shaina Taub. Directed by Laurie Woolery, AS YOU LIKE IT will once again feature over 200 actors and community members alongside equity actors.Now in its fifth season, this unforgettable Public Works musical adaptation about chance encounters and self-discovery, will run for five nights for free, September 1-5, at the Delacorte Theater.
Celebrating its fifth season, Public Works is the Public’s local and national initiative that invites diverse communities from across New York to join in creating ambitious works of participatory theater.
This year, Public Works presents Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT, in a ravishing new musical adaptation by Director of Public Works Laurie Woolery and Shaina Taub, featuring music and lyrics by Taub, the acclaimed singer/songwriter behind last season’s adaption of Twelfth Night, and choreography by Emmy nominee Sonya Tayeh (So You Think You Can Dance, The Last Goodbye).
Two hundred community members and professional actors perform together on the Delacorte stage in this immersive dream-like tale of faithful friends, feuding families and lovers in disguise. Forced from their homes, Orlando, Duke Senior, his daughter Rosalind and niece Celia, escape to the Forest of Arden, a fantastical place of transformation, where all are welcomed and embraced. Lost amidst the trees, the refugees find community and acceptance under the stars. Fall under love’s spell in this magical story of chance encounters and self-discovery.
The Public Works community partner organizations are Brownsville Recreation Center(Brooklyn), Center for Family Life in Sunset Park (Brooklyn), DreamYard Project (Bronx), Fortune Society (Queens), and Military Resilience Project (all boroughs), along with alumni partners Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education, Children’s Aid Society and Domestic Workers United.
“Public Works is the crown jewel of what The Public Theater does and stands for; theater of, for and by the people,” said Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “Public Works has spread nationally, with Public Works Dallas and Public Works Seattle joining our network of extraordinary community collaborations. In this, our fifth year, the amazing Shaina Taubreturns for her second year and our own Laurie Woolery makes her Delacorte debut. On Labor Day weekend 2017, the Delacorte will be the best place to be in the world.”
Tickets to AS YOU LIKE IT are free, continuing The Public Theater‘s long-standing tradition of free programming and community engagement. Tickets are distributed, two per person (age 5+), at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park beginning at 12:00 p.m. on the day of each performance. All performances are at 8:00 p.m. The Public continues its partnership with TodayTix, who is the exclusive mobile ticket lottery partner. Tickets will be distributed by random mobile lottery on the TodayTix app each date that there is a public performance at the Delacorte Theater. Public Theater Members can reserve a seat with an additional contribution starting at $75; for premium access to AS YOU LIKE IT and other Public Theater programming join us as a Public Supporter with a contribution starting at $500. For information and to donate, call 212-967-7555.
Since the opening of the Delacorte in 1962, more than five million people have enjoyed more than 150 free productions of Shakespeare and other classical works and musicals at The Public’s Central Park venue. The Delacorte Theater is accessible by entering at 81st Street and Central Park West, or 79th Street and Fifth Avenue.
PUBLIC WORKS is a major initiative of The Public Theater that seeks to engage the people of New York by making them creators and not just spectators. Working with community partner organizations in all five boroughs, Public Works invites members of diverse communities to participate in theater workshops, to attend classes, to attend productions, and to become involved in the daily life of The Public. Founded by Resident Director Lear deBessonet, Public Works deliberately blurs the line between professional artists and community members creating theater that is not only for the people, but by and of the people as well.
Public Works exemplifies The Public’s long-standing commitment to community engagement that is at the core of the theater’s mission. It is animated by the idea that theater is a place of possibility, where the boundaries that separate us from each other in the rest of life can fall away. It seeks to create a space where we can not only reflect on the world as is, but where we can actually propose new possibilities for what our society might be. In June 2016, The Public announced the expansion of Public Works with ACTivate, a new tier of the groundbreaking initiative designed to bind our community together by creating acts of participatory theater to examine the great issues and dilemmas of our time, which culminated in a new devised work, Troy.
Public Works is a national program with three affiliated theaters throughout the U.S. to create community-based inspired productions in the Public Works model for an impact across the country. The theaters are Dallas Theater Center in collaboration with SMU Meadows School of the Arts; Seattle Repertory Theatre, and Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit. In March 2017, Dallas Theater Center presented their inaugural Public Works Dallas production, The Tempest, directed by DTC Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty and featuring 200 Dallasites. The Public Works Productions of The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale, and The Odyssey are also available to be produced through Theatrical Rights Worldwide.
ABOUT THE PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS:
Brownsville Recreation Center (Brooklyn) is one of 36 public Recreation Centers managed by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. With extensive resources for youth and seniors, the center offers a vibrant space to tap into pursuits artistic and athletic alike. During the five-year partnership with Public Works, senior citizens have participated in dance, theater, storytelling, and scene study classes led by master teaching artists. This group has performed in every Public Works production at the Delacorte Theater from The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale, The Odyssey to last year’s Twelfth Night. The seniors have also performed Steel Magnolias, A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as a staged reading of August Wilson‘s Jitney at The Public Theater and the Brownsville Recreation Center. The Brownsville Recreation Center hosts The Public Theater‘s Mobile Unit tours and members serve as community Ambassadors for downtown performances at The Public.
CASITA MARIA CENTER FOR ARTS AND EDUCATION (Bronx). Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education’s mission is to empower youth and their families by creating a culture of learning through high quality social, cultural, and educational opportunities. It is one of the few organizations in the South Bronx that welcomes kids at the age of six and stays with them until college, while providing family learning through the arts. It is also different in the plurality of ways in which it can attract community members to utilize its services. Students introduce their parents to the Center’s cultural programs, while public programs guide parents to the wide ranging educational programs offered. As part of Public Works, Casita Maria youth participated in acting classes that focused on ensemble building and Shakespeare. The Casita Maria community received the Mobile Unit tour of Romeo and Juliet. Members also serve as community Ambassadors for regular performances at The Public. Learn more at casitamaria.org.
CENTER FOR FAMILY LIFE IN SUNSET PARK (Brooklyn). Center for Family Life is a neighborhood-based social service organization in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. For 38 years, the Center has grown with the Sunset Park community, responding to emerging needs with effective and innovative programs. Today, CFL’s comprehensive services in counseling, employment, education, the arts and recreation engage more than 16,000 children and adults each year at eight community locations. This is Public Works’ second year partnering with Center for Family Life in Sunset Park. As part of Public Works, parents and children from Sunset Park participated in classes focused on ensemble building, creativity, and collective storytelling. The Center for Family Life community serve as community Ambassadors for performances at The Public as well as contribute to the Public Works community newsletter. Learn more at www.cflsp.org.
Domestic Workers United (All Boroughs, including Staten Island) is a city-wide workers led organization of Caribbean, Latina and African nannies, housekeepers, and elderly caregivers in New York, organizing for power, respect, and fair labor standards, and to help build a movement to end exploitation and oppression for all. As part of Public Works, members participated in a monthly play reading luncheon series that explored dozens of plays. Plays included Eurydice, For Colored Girls…, A Raisin in the Sun, Antigone, The House of Bernarda Alba, Mother Courage and Her Children, Shakespeare’s sonnets and many others. Members also serve as community Ambassadors for performances at The Public. Learn more at www.domesticworkersunited.org and visit the Facebook page.
DreamYard Project (Bronx) is an arts and social justice organization dedicated to working with Bronx youth, families, schools and communities to build pathways toward equity and opportunity. DreamYard was recognized by President Obama with a 2012 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. The organization provides transformative arts education for youth in the Bronx through school-based partnerships and out-of-school programs, and supports young people as they work toward higher learning, meaningful careers and social action. As part of Public Works, DreamYard youth participate in classes in acting, Shakespeare and generative movement led by artists from The Public. The parents of DreamYard students also participate in weekly Shakespeare scene study classes led by Public Theater artists. The group has studied and performed scenes from Hamlet, Julius Caesar, and As You Like It and performed excerpts from all three plays at The Public Theater, DreamYard Art Center, and other partner sites. The DreamYard Project regularly hosts Mobile Unit tours, serve as community Ambassadors to performances at the Public and contribute to the quarterly Public Works Newsletter.
MILITARY RESILIENCE PROJECT (All Boroughs) has a strong belief that resiliency and reintegration has as much to do with us in the community as it does with those who have served. The mission of the Military Resilience Project is to create opportunities for men and women who have served in the military to engage in community-based events that honor their unique experiences, while also allowing them to become part of a shared narrative. As a partner of Public Works, Military Resilience Project community members participate in acting classes that explore the veteran experience through Shakespeare’s canon as well as singing workshops. Members serve as community Ambassadors for performances at The Public and contribute to the Public Works community newsletter. Learn more at milresilience.com.
Fortune Society (Queens) is a nonprofit social service and advocacy organization, founded in 1967, whose mission is to support successful reentry from incarceration and promote alternatives to incarceration, thus strengthening the fabric of their communities. Drawing upon the life experience of Fortune’s formerly incarcerated staff and clients, they offer a holistic, “one-stop” model which includes: alternatives to incarceration, counseling, employment services, education, housing services, HIV/AIDS-case management, substance abuse and mental health treatment, family services, food and nutrition, discharge planning, benefits application assistance, and lifetime aftercare, among other services. In addition, the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy (DRCPP), named in honor of Fortune’s founder, promotes community education, technical assistance, trainings, research and advocacy to further advance Fortune’s mission. As part of Public Works, members participate in a full year of classes in playwriting, acting, improvisation, storytelling, and clowning. The creation of the performance ensemble “Fortune Tellers” emerged from these classes and they have performed original pieces at The Public Theater, Fortune Society campuses, as well as other partner sites. This year, the Fortune Tellers will present scenes from August Wilson‘s Seven Guitars. The Fortune Societycommunity receives the Mobile Unit tours and serve as community Ambassadors for performances at The Public.
THE CHILDREN’S AID SOCIETY (Manhattan) helps children in poverty to succeed and thrive by providing comprehensive support and critical services to children and their families in targeted high-need New York City neighborhoods. As part of Public Works, the Children’s Aid Society Chorus (a group of teenage girls led by Kelly Campbell) attends shows at Joe’s Pub, Public Theater and receives master classes in singing, songwriting, movement, and acting. The chorus performs songs they have developed at The Public Theater and other venues. Public Works also partnered with the CAS Deaf and Hard of Hearing Teen program, where deaf and hard of hearing youth studied the intersection of Shakespeare poetry and sign language. Their work culminated in a community performance of excerpts from Romeo and Juliet. Members serve as community Ambassadors for performances at The Public.
ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM:
LAURIE WOOLERY (Adaptor and Director) is a director, playwright, educator, producer as well as the Director of Public Works at The Public Theater. She has worked at theaters across the country such as the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Yale Repertory Theater, Goodman Theatre, Cornerstone Theater Company, South Coast Repertory, Mark Taper Forum, Denver Center, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Theatre Center, Inge Center for the Arts, Plaza de la Raza/RedCAT, Deaf-West Theatre, Sundance Playwrights Lab as well as the Sundance Children’s Theater. Woolery has directed world premieres of plays by Tanya Saracho, Marisela Trevino Orta, Aditi Kapil, K.J. Sanchez, Julie Marie Myatt, Cody Henderson, and Allison Carey among others. Her solo play Salvadorian Moon/African Sky was commissioned by Cornerstone Theater Company for their citywide Festival of Faith. She is the former Associate Artistic Director of Cornerstone Theater Company and former Conservatory Director at South Coast Repertory. Laurie has taught at Princeton, NYU, Brown, USC, Cal Arts, Citrus College, California State University at Northridge and Los Angeles and serves on the Board of the Latino Producers Action Network. Woolery is a proud member of the Sol Project and recipient of the Fuller Road Fellowship for Female Directors of Color.
Shaina Taub (Adaptor and Music & Lyrics) is a Vermont-raised, New York-based songwriter and performer. In 2016, Taub created the musical adaptation of Public Works’ Twelfth Night and appeared in the Delacorte Theater production as Feste. Winner of a Jonathan Larson Grant and Ars Nova‘s 2012 Composer-in-Residence, she made her Lincoln Center solo concert debut in their 2015 American Songbook series. She wrote songs for and co-starred in Bill Irwin and David Shiner‘s Old Hats, directed by Tina Landau at the Signature Theatre and A.C.T. She earned a Lucille Lortel Award nomination as Princess Mary in the off-Broadway run of Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, and recently appeared in the original cast of Hadestown at New York Theatre Workshop. She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Yaddo Colony, and The Sundance Institute. Her songs have been performed by Audra McDonald and Sutton Foster, and she wrote the theme song for Julie Andrews‘ Netflix series Julie’s Greenroom, performed by Sara Bareilles. She’s playing a year-long residency of monthly shows at Joe’s Pub as a member of the 2017 Joe’s Pub Working Group. She’s currently writing a new musical about Alice Paul and the American women’s suffrage movement. Her album Visitors is available now. www.shainataub.com
Sonya Tayeh (Choreographer) has gleaned accolades for her versatile work including two Emmy nominations for Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” (2015 and 2013) and the 2014 Lucille Lortel Award and an Obie Award for “Outstanding Choreography” for her work on David Henry Hwang‘s dance-play Kung Fu, for which she also received a Drama Desk nomination. Her select credits include directing and choreographing You’ll still call me by name (New York Live Arts Commissioned Artist); Malpaso Dance Company(commissioned by The Joyce Theater/The Music Center); Hurricane Diane at Two River Theater (Dir. Leigh Silverman); Hundred Days at The Public’s Under The Radar Festival (Dir. Anne Kauffman); The Skin Of Our Teeth at TFANA (Dir. Arin Arbus); Andrew Lippa‘s Wild Party at City Center Encores! (Dir. Leigh Silverman); Martha Graham Dance Company‘s Lamentation Variation series at The Joyce Theater; Iphigenia in Aulis at Classic Stage Company (Dir. Rachel Chavkin); The Last Goodbye at The Old Globe (Dir.Alex Timbers); and Kung Fu at Signature Theatre (Dir. Leigh Silverman).
The Public Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham, is the only theater in New York that produces Shakespeare, the classics, musicals, contemporary and experimental pieces in equal measure. Celebrating his 10th anniversary season at The Public, Eustis has created new community-based initiatives designed to engage audiences like Public Lab, Public Studio, Public Forum, Public Works, and a remount of the Mobile Unit. 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 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; Public Works, an expanding initiative that is designed to cultivate new connections and new models of engagement with artists, audiences and the community each year; and audience and artist development initiatives that range from Emerging Writers Group and to the Public Forum series. The Public is located on property owned by the City of New York and receives annual support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; and in October 2012 the landmark building downtown at Astor Place was revitalized to physically manifest the Company’s core mission of sparking new dialogues and increasing accessibility for artists and audiences, by dramatically opening up the building to the street and community, and transforming the lobby into a public piazza for artists, students, and audiences. The Public is currently represented on Broadway by the Tony Award-winning acclaimed American musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and in Spring 2017, Lynn Nottage‘s acclaimed new play Sweat. The Public has received 59 Tony Awards, 168 Obie Awards, 53 Drama Desk Awards, 54 Lortel Awards, 32 Outer Critics Circle Awards, 13 New York Drama Critics Awards, and six Pulitzer Prizes. www.publictheater.org.
Source: Broadway WorldBack