"There's nothing like Shakespeare in the Park to remind you to be grateful for New York," says Sarah, one of the festival's biggest fans and a WestHouse staff member. "This city is the home to world-class theater year round, but Shakespeare in the Park brings the work of exemplary actors, directors and theater makers right to our backyard."
For eight weeks each summer, The Public Theater hosts the city's most beloved free theater festivals at the historic Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Central to their mission, The Public continues this tradition in spirit of providing ambitious and professional performances to the community free of charge.
"Theater has long been the cornerstone to New York's culture, and events like Shakespeare in the Park are integral to keeping this culture alive," says Sarah. "Some of the most memorable performances I've seen were at Shakespeare in the Park, like 2016's all female cast of The Taming of the Shrew. No matter what they put on, you always know it's going to be an incredible show."
This summer, you can catch a performance of Twelfth Night, running from July 17th through August 19th. Of course, seats are always in high demand. Tickets are released at noon on the day of each performance, so if you're planning to be in New York during a performance night, you can try your luck with waiting in line. Sarah recommends getting there at least four hour early. Yes, four hours. "Tickets are highly sought after, so getting to the Delacorte before 8am is your best bet. Though getting a place in line doesn't always guarantee you a seat - but if you're in line and your spot is ahead of the boulder, then you should be all set." And if waiting in line isn't your thing, you can always try the online lottery, the in-person lottery at the Public or the standby tickets that are sold-off each night.
If you're lucky enough to get a ticket, Sarah recommends getting there 30 minutes before curtain to settle-in and get to know your neighbors. Curtain is at 8pm, so bring your favorite picnic dinner along (like the stracciatella pizza from Motorino on Columbus) and make the most of your soon-to-be magical evening in the park.