One of the most highly anticipated seasonal events in New York City is the annual return of Shakespeare in the Park. These summer outdoor performances bring classic Shakespeare plays to a stage in Central Park. Evening shows offer the chance to enjoy the warm summer air and outstanding theater all in one. This year marks an important milestone for the festival. The upcoming 2012 season marks the 50th Anniversary of Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater. While theater is traditionally expensive in New York City, this festival provides free tickets to all performances.
The 2012 Festival
It has been 50 years since the first performance took place at the Delacorte Theater
June 1962. In 2012, Shakespeare in the Park will continue the longstanding tradition of bringing the works of William Shakespeare to audiences in New York City. Two plays are scheduled for 2012: As You Like It
and Into the Woods
. For five decades now, tickets to these performances have been free and the tradition will continue in the summer of 2012 as well. However, while tickets are free, they aren't always easy to come by.
Tickets to Shakespeare in the Park are highly coveted items. A combination of local New Yorkers and visitors drawn by the beautiful summer weather in Manhattan all want these free tickets. There are two ways to secure them. The first, and most traditional, is to line up in Central Park
at the Delacorte Theater on the day of the performance. Tickets are distributed (two per person) on the day of the show at 1 p.m. People who are serious about tickets will line up in advance of this time. The second option requires much less commitment. An online virtual ticketing lottery
awards tickets at random. But with this strategy, there is no guarantee of securing tickets for any single performance.
The History of the Festival
Over the past 50 years, dozens of plays and famous actors have taken the stage for Shakespeare in the Park. Recent hits include All's Well That Ends Well
, The Merchant of Venice
, T he Tempest
, King Lear
, and many more. Celebrated actors that have taken to the stage in these free performances include James Earl Jones
, Al Pacino
, Meryl Streep
, Kevin Kline
, Christopher Walken
, Natalie Portman
, and many more. Not only are these free performances an opportunity to enjoy theater in an outdoor space, but they are often a chance to see some of the best living actors live performing Shakespeare.
More Than Theater
While most people think of Shakespeare in the Park as a series of evening theater performances in Manhattan
, there is also much more to this annual festival. In addition to the plays, the festival also has a commitment to developing the talent of future actors. A Midsummer's Day Camp
is a program for young actors, age 14 to 18, that focuses on the specific challenges of performing Shakespeare. The culmination of this camp is a performance at an off-Broadway theater for friends and family of the young actors. Check the official festival website for more information on applying to this camp.
Traveling to New York City
New York City is a wonderful destination for culture, art, and theater. While it is absolutely a year-round destination, the summer is home to many important festivals and events. If you're thinking about attending Shakespeare in the Park, be sure to make your travel arrangements in advance. The best vacation rentals in Manhattan
are scooped up early. With the extra comfort and convenience of a vacation rental, you will feel like a New Yorker during your upcoming summer trip to Manhattan.
Vacation Rentals for Shakespeare in the Park
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