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AS YOU LIKE IT

AS YOU LIKE IT

A Musical Adaptation of William Shakespeare's Play

Adapted by Shaina Taub and Laurie Woolery
Music and Lyrics by Shaina Taub
Choreography by Sonya Tayeh
Directed by Laurie Woolery

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 “free-spirited, thoroughly delightful” (The New York Times) adaption of Twelfth Night, and choreography by Emmy nominee Sonya Tayeh (Hundred Days, Kung Fu).

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MEASURE FOR MEASURE

MEASURE FOR MEASURE

World Premiere
Created by Elevator Repair Service
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by John Collins

In a co-production with Elevator Repair Service and originally commissioned by The Public Theater

Elevator Repair Service, the Obie-winning company behind Gatz  “the most remarkable achievement in theater of this decade” (The New York Times)  returns to The Public to celebrate their 25th season with a dynamic new production of Shakespeare’s MEASURE FOR MEASURE.   

With athletic theatricality and Marx-Brothers-inspired slapstick, the ERS ensemble brings exciting new life to this story of impossible moral choices in 17th-century Vienna. Radical experiments with speed set the play’s combination of the comically absurd and the tragically serious in stark relief, and deliver a remarkable new show that marries the company’s unique performance style with the Bard’s exquisitely lyrical language. ERS Founder and Artistic Director John Collins directs. 

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MEASURE FOR MEASURE
TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS

TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS

Encore Engagement
Based on the Book by Cheryl Strayed
Adapted for the Stage by Nia Vardalos
Co-Conceived by Marshall Heyman, Thomas Kail, and Nia Vardalos
Directed by Thomas Kail
Featuring Nia Vardalos as “Sugar”

Following its critically-acclaimed and sold-out run last season, the uplifting and richly funny TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS returns to the Public’s larger Newman Theater with Academy Award-nominee Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) reprising the role of Sugar.  Based on the best-selling book by author Cheryl Strayed (Wild), the play TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS was praised by The New York Times as “an ideal catharsis” and “handkerchief-soaking meditation on pain, loss, hope & forgiveness.”

Thousands of people wrote letters asking for advice from an anonymous online columnist named Sugar, who drew from her own life experiences to answer in a candid, often brutally honest exchange. It was later revealed that Sugar was Cheryl Strayed. Vardalos adapts the book, weaving together the real letters to explore the monstrous beauty, unfathomable dark and glimmering light which are at the heart of being human. 

Tony Award winner Thomas Kail (Dry Powder, Hamilton) directs.

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OEDIPUS EL REY

OEDIPUS EL REY

New York Premiere
Written by Luis Alfaro
Directed by Chay Yew
In Collaboration with The Sol Project

Set in South Central LA, OEDIPUS EL REY is an electrifying new take on the Greek tragedy, written by acclaimed playwright Luis Alfaro (Electricidad, Straight as a Line).

Oedipus is reimagined as a troubled Latino whose dreams of controlling his own destiny soar above the barbed wire of the prison where he’s spent his life.  But in a place where everyone is trapped—by desperation or fate, history or violence—no one man can change his story alone.  Love, family and belief collide in this chilling, incredibly powerful new play that asks: what’s fate, and what’s just the system?

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OEDIPUS EL REY
OFFICE HOUR

OFFICE HOUR

New York Premiere
Written by Julia Cho
Directed by Neel Keller 

Playwright Julia Cho (Durango, The Language Archive) returns to the Public with a taut new drama about a teacher and student desperate to change the narrative of who they are and how their story ends.

Gina was warned that one of her students would be a problem. Eighteen years old and strikingly odd, Dennis writes violently obscene work clearly intended to unsettle those around him. Determined to know whether he’s a real threat, Gina compels Dennis to attend her office hours.

But as the clock ticks down, Gina realizes that “good” versus “bad” is nothing more than a convenient illusion, and that the isolated young student in her office has learned one thing above all else: that for the powerless, the ability to terrify others is powerful indeed.

Neel Keller (The Nether, Forever) directs this inventive, penetrating new drama about a single day that could end in tragedy or hope -- and the endless possibilities in between. 

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ILLYRIA

ILLYRIA

World Premiere
Written and Directed by Richard Nelson

The New York Times has called Tony Award-winning playwright and director Richard Nelson’s plays “a triumph of civic theater.” This season, the writer-director of the acclaimed Apple Family plays and last season’s The Gabriels returns to 425 Lafayette to reveal a forgotten chapter of the Public Theater’s own history.

It is 1958, and New York City is in the midst of a major building boom; a four-lane highway is planned for the heart of Washington Square; Carnegie Hall is designated for demolition; entire neighborhoods on the West Side are leveled to make room for a new ‘palace of art’. And a young Joe Papp and his colleagues face betrayals, self-inflicted wounds and anger from the city’s powerful elite as they continue their free Shakespeare productions in Central Park.

From the creator of the most celebrated family plays of the last decade, comes a drama about a different kind of family – one held together by the simple and incredibly complicated belief that the theater, and the city, belong to all of us.

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ILLYRIA
THE WINTER'S TALE

THE WINTER'S TALE

Mobile Unit: Fall
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Lee Sunday Evans

Following a three-week tour in the five boroughs

This fall, The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit which strengthens community engagement with the arts by bringing free, world-class productions of Shakespeare to communities all across New York City, journeys through tragedy into comedy with an enchanting new production of THE WINTER'S TALE, directed by Lee Sunday Evans (Caught, Porto).

Dire misunderstanding changes the course of destiny when King Leontes becomes convinced that his wife is pregnant with his friend’s child. The maligned wife perishes, the accused friend flees, and the cursed infant is left to die alone on the shore. But from the depths of tragedy, wondrous things can occur. What’s lost is found, false identities lead to true love, and the miracle of forgiveness brings new life to the world in one of Shakespeare’s most treasured romances. 

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KINGS

KINGS

World Premiere
Written by Sarah Burgess
Directed by Thomas Kail

Playwright Sarah Burgess (Dry Powder) and Tony-winning director Thomas Kail (Hamilton, Tiny Beautiful Things, Dry Powder) team up again for Kings, a hilariously blistering new play about money, politics and the state of the American republic.

Kate is a whip-smart lobbyist who doesn’t waste her time on anyone who can’t get elected, stay elected and help her clients get what they want. Kate thinks Representative Sydney Millsap is a political neophyte whose staunch ideals are going to cost her a burgeoning political career.

But Representative Millsap and her high-minded principles turn out to be more resilient than Washington was expecting, and for the first time Kate is faced with a choice that might change everything for her: back the system, or back what she believes in?

KINGS is a scathingly funny new play about the people at the heart of our democracy.

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KINGS
THE LOW ROAD

THE LOW ROAD

New York Premiere
Written by Bruce Norris
Directed by Michael Greif

From Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Bruce Norris (Clybourne Park, The Pain and the Itch) comes an epic play, featuring sixteen actors in fifty roles, examining the basic beliefs upon which we’ve built our economy and our country.

Set in the 18th century, this wild new work imagines America’s first laissez-faire capitalist, a young man inspired by a chance encounter with Adam Smith to put his faith in the free market. But his path to riches becomes inextricably entangled with that of an educated slave, a man who knows from experience that one person's profit is another’s loss, in this parable about the true cost of inequality.

Four-time Tony nominee and three-time Obie winner Michael Greif (Dear Evan Hansen, Next to Normal, Dogeaters) directs this richly imaginative, riotously funny new play about the imaginary lines between exploitation and opportunity.

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BLACK LIGHT

BLACK LIGHT

Created by Daniel Alexander Jones
Original songs by Daniel Alexander Jones, Bobby Halvorson, and Dylan Meek

Daniel Alexander Jones returns to Joe’s Pub as Jomama Jones, his critically-acclaimed alter-ego, in BLACK LIGHT.  Commissioned as part of Joe’s Pub’s NEW YORK VOICES program, BLACK LIGHT is a musical revival for a turbulent time.  Jomama leads an intimate journey – through the darkness of personal and political upheaval, and the shards of shattered illusions – illuminated by spontaneous humor and what The New Yorker calls her “very particular radiance.” Set to pop, soul, rock and disco, this immersive performance piece removes the barrier between artist and audience through inquiry, story and song.

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BLACK LIGHT
MISS YOU LIKE HELL

MISS YOU LIKE HELL

New York Premiere

Book & Lyrics by Quiara Alegria Hudes
Music & Lyrics by Erin McKeown
Choreography by Danny Mefford
Directed by Lear deBessonet

Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes (Water by the Spoonful, In the Heights) and acclaimed, genre-breaking singer/songwriter Erin McKeown bring their highly anticipated new musical to The Public this season.

Two-time Tony nominee Daphne Rubin-Vega (Anna in the TropicsDaphne's Dive) is Beatriz, flawed mom to 16 year-old Olivia, and an undocumented immigrant on the verge of deportation.  After living estranged from each other for years, a mother and daughter embark on a road trip that crosses state lines. Together they meet Americans of different backgrounds, shared dreams, and complicated truths in this powerful new show with vast heart and fierce humor.

OBIE-winning director Lear deBessonet (Resident Director/ Founder of Public Works) and choreographer Danny Mefford (Dear Evan HansenFun Home) stage this transcendent new musical with music that will find your soul, and stay with you forever.

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MLIMA'S TALE

MLIMA'S TALE

World Premiere
Written by Lynn Nottage
Directed by Jo Bonney

This season, two time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage returns to the Public with a new drama as moving and incisive as her Broadway debut play Sweat, heralded by The New York Times as a “vital contribution to contemporary drama.”

Taking us on a journey from the heart of Africa and around the world, MLIMA'S TALE is the story of Mlima, a magnificent elephant trapped in the clandestine international ivory market. Following a trail of greed and desire as old as trade itself, Mlima leads us through memory and fear, history and tradition, and want and need.

Obie Award winner Jo Bonney (Father Comes Home from the Wars) directs this poignant new play that reveals the surprising and complicated deals that connect us all. 

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MLIMA'S TALE
HENRY V

HENRY V

Mobile Unit: Spring
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Robert O’Hara

OBIE Award winning director Robert O’Hara (Bootycandy, The Brother/Sister Plays (Part 2)) brings a warring King and his band of brothers to communities all across New York with Mobile Unit’s spring production of HENRY V.

Insulted by the regent of France, England’s King Henry V decides to wage war and claim the throne across the Channel.  But Henry’s charm only distracts his soldiers for so long before the dire stakes of their task calls into question the King’s true motives and direction. Resonating from across the centuries—wherever there may be a kingdom for a stage, and princes to act--Shakespeare’s drama about invasion, ego and leadership, delves into history’s thorniest questions: What makes a man worthy of wearing the crown, and what does he owe the people he leads?

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FIRE IN DREAMLAND

FIRE IN DREAMLAND

New York Premiere
Written by Rinne Groff
Directed by Marissa Wolf 

Originally commissioned by The Public Theater & Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Rinne Groff (The Ruby Sunrise, Saved) returns to the Public with a dynamic and poignantly funny new play directed by Marissa Wolf, Director of New Works at Kansas City Repertory.

On Coney Island, in the aftermath of 2012’s Superstorm Sandy, a disillusioned do-gooder named Kate meets Jaap Hooft, a charismatic European film-maker who sees in the devastation wrought by the storm an opportunity to make a work of art about another disaster that struck Coney Island some hundred years before: the 1911 fire that started in the amusement park known as Dreamland, burning it to ashes from which it never arose. As Kate throws herself into the vortex of Jaap’s visionary schemes, she finds beauty, pain and betrayal, and eventually herself.

Breaking the boundaries of time and narrative, FIRE IN DREAMLAND is a vibrant new play that explores the astonishing things we do when faced with devastation. 

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FIRE IN DREAMLAND
Public Forum

Public Forum

Now in its Eighth Season

Public Forum, now in its eighth season, is also the home of The Public’s audience engagement activities, which include Artist Talkbacks, Audience Conversations, Speaker Series panels, and the online resource Digiturgy.

In Artist Talkbacks, members of the cast and creative team will take questions from the audience about the show and their process following selected performances during the season. Speaker Series presents 20-to-30-minute panel discussions after the performance with experts discussing a topic from the show and Audience Conversations feature a member of The Public’s artistic staff leading the audience in a conversation with each other about the show and its themes and ideas. 

The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation provides lead support for The Public’s access and engagement programming. The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust provides leadership support for The Public Theater’s year-round activities.

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UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL

UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL

14th Annual Festival

Over the past 14 years, Under the Radar Festival (UTR) has presented over 208 companies from 42 countries. It has grown into a landmark of the New York City theater season and is a vital part of The Public's mission, providing a high-visibility platform to support artists from diverse backgrounds who are redefining the act of making theater.

Widely recognized as a premier launching pad for new and cutting-edge performance from the U.S. and abroad, UTR has presented works by such respected artists as 600 HIGHWAYMEN, Elevator Repair Service, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, Belarus Free Theatre, Guillermo Calderón, and Young Jean Lee. These artists provide a snapshot of contemporary theater: richly distinct in terms of perspectives, aesthetics, and social practice, and pointing to the future of the art form.

The Under the Radar Festival is made possible with the generous support of the Ford Foundation.

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UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL
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