What Did Critics Think of the Public Theater’s Joe Papp Bio-Play Illyria? | Playbill

The Verdict What Did Critics Think of the Public Theater’s Joe Papp Bio-Play Illyria? Richard Nelson’s world-premiere details the early career of the theatre's founder Joseph Papp and the birth of Shakespeare in the Park.
John Magaro and Fran Kranz in Illyria Joan Marcus

Illyria, the new play by Tony Award winner Richard Nelson that traces the early career of Public Theater founder Joseph Papp, officially opened Off-Broadway October 30.

Set during the 1950s, John Magaro (The Front Page) stars as Papp, the theatre’s celebrated founder, as he fought to keep the free Shakespeare in the Park productions alive.

Read reviews below:

amNY (Matt Windman)

Exuent Magazine (Lauren Noveck)

The Hollywood Reporter (Frank Scheck)

New York Times (Ben Brantley)

Nelson also directs the play that was recently extended through December 10. Nelson returns to The Public following his acclaimed election trilogies The Gabriels and The Apple Family Plays.

The cast also features House of Cards’ Kristen Connolly as Peggy Papp, as well as Will Brill as Bernie Gersten, Rosie Benton as Colleen Dewhurst, Blake DeLong as David Amram, Emma Duncan as Gladys Vaughan, Naian González Norvind as Mary Bennett, Fran Kranz as Merle Debuskey, John Sanders as Stuart Vaughan, and Max Woertendyke as John Robertson.

Illyria features scenic design by Susan Hilferty and Jason Ardizzone-West, costume design by Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Jennifer Tipton, and sound design by Scott Lehrer.

For tickets and more information, visit PublicTheater.org.

See Richard Nelson’s Illyria Opening Night Off-Broadway

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