The Public Theater has announced that changes to the rehearsal schedule have resulted in a delay of previews for its Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Richard III. The Shakespeare tragedy, starring Danai Gurira in the title role, will begin performances in Central Park's Delacorte Theater June 21, with a press opening set for July 10 and a run through July 17.
The original opening night will move forward as a "Company Opening Night" with a red carpet June 30. Tony nominee Robert O'Hara (Slave Play) will direct the production, one of the two for this summer's 60th anniversary season of Free Shakespeare in the Park at The Delacorte Theater. Public Works' As You Like It begins August 10.
Joining Gurira will be Wyatt Cirbus as Prince of Wales, Sanjit De Silva as Buckingham, Sam Duncan as Duke of York, Monique Holt as Duchess of York, Gregg Mozgala as King Edward IV and as Richmond, Paul Niebanck as George, Michael Potts as Lord Stanley, Ariel Shafir as Lord Hastings, Heather Alicia Simms as Queen Elizabeth, Ali Stroker as Anne, Sharon Washington as Queen Margaret, and Daniel J. Watts as Catesby Ratcliffe.
The ensemble will include Maleni Chaitoo, Thaddeus Fitzpatrick, Skyler Gallun, Sarah Nina Hayon, Matthew Jeffers, Matt Monaco, Xavier Pacheco, Marcus Raye Pérez, Grace Porter, and N'yomi Stewart.
“It has been over 30 years since Richard III was produced at The Delacorte, and I’m excited to bring one of drama’s all-time favorite villains back onto the Central Park stage. Richard III speaks to the dangerous machinations that we have witnessed by leaders throughout history, but most acutely in recent years in our own government," shares director O'Hara. "While navigating the projections of those around him by his decision to ‘prove the villain,’ Richard is our unreliable narrator, protagonist, and antagonist, drawing us deeper and deeper into his murderous mayhem. I am thrilled to collaborate again with the brilliant, multi-talented Danai Gurira as she returns to The Delacorte in the title role of this infamous usurper King, full of bloody confrontations, political intrigue, and familial toxicity.”
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Joining O'Hara on the creative team will be scenic designer Myung Hee Cho, costume designer Dede Ayite, lighting designer Alex Jainchill, hair and wig designer Mia Neal, fight directors Teniece Divya Johnson and Jeremy Sample, and movement director Byron Easley. Johnson will also serve as intimacy director, Bryan Bauer will serve as production stage manager, and Heather Englander will serve as stage manager. Sound design and composition will be by Elisheba Ittoop.
Richard III was last seen on The Delacorte stage in 1990 with Denzel Washington as Richard. Gurira, a 2009 Tony nominee for Eclipsed, appeared in Measure for Measure at Shakespeare in the Park in 2011. She is well-known as Michonne in the AMC series Walking Dead and Okoye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films.
For more information, visit PublicTheater.org.