Tuesday, March 28, 2023








By William Shakespeare

Directed by Kenny Leon

June 8–August 6


Cast Includes Ato Blankson-Wood, Liam Craig, Brandon Gill,

Safiya Kaija Harris, Tyrone Mitchell Henderson, Greg Hildreth, Jaylon Jamal, TrÍ Lê, Colby Lewis, Cornelius McMoyler, Warner Miller, Daniel Pearce,

Solea Pfeiffer, Nick Rehberger, Laughton Royce, Lance Alexander Smith,

John Douglas Thompson, Lorraine Toussaint, Myxolydia Tyler,

William Oliver Watkins, Lark White, Mitchell Winter, and Bryce Michael Wood

The Public Theater (Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis; Executive Director, Patrick Willingham) announced additional casting today for the Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Shakespeare’s classic drama HAMLET, directed by Tony Award winner Kenny LeonHAMLET will have an extended run of nine weeks, beginning at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park on Thursday, June 8, and running through Sunday, August 6 with an official press opening on Wednesday, June 28.

In 2019, director Kenny Leon’s entrancing production of Much Ado About Nothing was widely adored and heralded as “delicious & powerful” by The New York Times. Returning once again to Free Shakespeare in the Park, Leon commands The Delacorte stage with a nine-week, tour-de-force production of the Bard’s masterpiece, HAMLET, a riveting, contemporary take on Shakespeare’s classic tale of family and betrayal, as enduring as the stars above Central Park.

The cast of HAMLET will include Ato Blankson-Wood (Hamlet), Liam Craig (Understudy), Brandon Gill (Guildenstern), Safiya Kaija Harris (Ensemble), Tyrone Mitchell Henderson (Osric/Priest), Greg Hildreth (Gravedigger), Jaylon Jamal (Ensemble), TrÍ Lê (Ensemble), Colby Lewis (First Player), Cornelius McMoyler (Ensemble), Warner Miller (Horatio), Daniel Pearce (Polonius), Solea Pfeiffer (Ophelia), Nick Rehberger (Laertes), Laughton Royce (Ensemble), Lance Alexander Smith (Ensemble), John Douglas Thompson (Claudius), Lorraine Toussaint (Gertrude), Myxolydia Tyler (Understudy), William Oliver Watkins (Understudy), Lark White (Ensemble), Mitchell Winter (Rosencrantz), and Bryce Michael Wood (Understudy).

“I’m so happy to be at The Delacorte once again and to share something that binds us to one another,” said director Kenny Leon. “A 400-year-old play exploring the need for a strong foundation of family, with music and words, Shakespeare’s Hamlet has much to say about humanity and the importance of our connectedness to each other. We set this production in 2021, filled with all of the challenges we face as Americans as we explore our need to love more profoundly both nature and its people.”

HAMLET will feature scenic design by Beowulf Boritt; costume design by Jessica Jahn; lighting design by Allen Lee Hughes; sound design by Justin Ellington; projection design by Jeff Sugg; music composition by Jason Michael Webb; hair, wig, and makeup design by Earon Chew Nealey; fight direction by Tom Schall; and choreography by Camille A. Brown. Karyn Meek will serve as production stage manager and Rachel Zucker will serve as stage manager.

In Free Shakespeare in the Park’s 61-year history, HAMLET has been staged at The Delacorte four times. It was last seen 15 years ago in a 2008 production featuring Michael Stuhlbarg in the title role and Lauren Ambrose as Ophelia, Andre Braugher as Claudius, and David Harbour as Laertes, directed by Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. Thirty-three years before, Michael Rudman directed Sam Waterston as Hamlet in 1975, also featuring Ruby Dee as Gertrude and John Lithgow at Laertes. In 1972, the production was directed by Gerald Freedman, featuring Stacy Keach as Hamlet, James Earl Jones as Claudius, Sam Waterson as Laertes, Raul Julia as Osric, and Colleen Dewhurst as Gertrude. Two years after The Delacorte opened, Public Theater founder Joseph Papp directed a 1964 production featuring Alfred Ryder in the title role, with Howard Da Silva as Claudius and Julie Harris as Ophelia.

Since 1962, over five million people have enjoyed more than 150 free productions of Shakespeare and other classical works and musicals at The Delacorte Theater. Conceived by founder Joseph Papp as a way to make great theater accessible to all, The Public’s Free Shakespeare in the Park continues to be the bedrock of the Company’s mission to increase access and engage the community.

Free tickets will be distributed in a variety of ways across all five boroughs with distribution details and locations announced by May 2023. TodayTix returns as a partner for the free virtual ticket lottery distribution. Public Theater Supporter and Partner tickets are available now. COVID-19 health and safety protocols will be made available by May 2023.

This season, The Public proudly welcomes the return of Jerome L. Greene Foundation as a season sponsor. The generous support of the Jerome L. Greene Foundation helps to sustain The Public’s mission of inclusion, creating great theater, boldly conceived, and free for all.

The Public Theater’s Annual Gala, a star-studded evening of dinner and performance, will be celebrated on Monday, June 12 on the lawn at The Delacorte Theater. This year, The Public will honor Darren Walker, President, and Ford Foundation for their immense philanthropic impact in the arts. In addition, The Public celebrates Marlla-Altagracia Torres as this year’s community honoree. Torres serves as the Family & School Partnership Coordinator for LION Charter school, a close partner of Hunts Point Alliance for Children and the Hunts Point Children’s Shakespeare Ensemble, and uses her position as both a parent and a community partner to recruit other families and advocate for Hunts Point programming. 

For more information on The Public Theater’s Gala, visit or email

In 2018, The Public Theater, in partnership with Central Park Conservancy and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, began embarking on a much-needed revitalization of the 61-year-old Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The plan—a major investment in outdoor cultural space as part of New York’s economic recovery—will dramatically improve the home of Free Shakespeare in the Park, addressing critical infrastructure, accessibility, and theatrical needs. The key approved design includes accessible and comfortable space for audiences and artists with disabilities, streamlined backstage operations and improved comfort for cast and crew, a revitalized exterior for a more dynamic aesthetic experience, a focus on resilience and sustainability, and lighting improvements, among other benefits. Initial construction began this past fall and will continue following HAMLET. Additional details, including production plans for the upcoming 2024 Free Shakespeare in the Park season, will be announced at a later date. For more information on The Delacorte’s revitalization, visit

To support The Public Theater, become a Supporter or Partner by visiting


KENNY LEON (Director) is a Tony Award-winning director who has been honored with The Actors Fund Medal of Honor, an Obie Award, and an NAACP Image Award. Leon is also a proud honoree of the George Abbott Lifetime Achievement for American Theatre. Leon is on the producing team of Some Like It Hot, the musical directed by Casey Nicholaw. This season, Leon directed Topdog/Underdog and Ohio State Murders on Broadway. Other Broadway credits include A Soldier's Play; American Son; Children of a Lesser God; Holler If Ya Hear Me; A Raisin in the Sun; The Mountaintop; Stick Fly; and August Wilson’s Fences, Gem of the Ocean, and Radio Golf. Off-Broadway work includes The Underlying Chris, Everybody's Ruby, Emergence-SEE! (The Public); and Smart People (Second Stage). Television and film credits include Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia, “Colin in Black & White,” “4400,” “Amend: The Fight for America,” American Son (adapted for Netflix), “Hairspray Live!,” “The Wiz Live!,” Steel Magnolias, “Dynasty,” and In My Dreams. Leon is the author of Take You Wherever You Go. He is the artistic director emeritus of Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company, as well as senior resident director at Roundabout Theatre Company.


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