The first play in the Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, is a new production of Othello directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson.
The show is at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park most days from May 29 – June 24, 2018. It’s Free
Othello is Shakespeare’s classic drama about a noble Moorish Venetian general whose marriage to a White woman is sabotaged and ultimately destroyed by the evil villain Iago.
It is believed to have been written in 1603. The story is based on Un Capitano Moro (A Moorish Captain) by Cinthio in 1565.
The story is operatic in the scope of its tragedy. It is popular partly because of the centrality of race relations in the story.
Today Othello gains relevance from the Trump Republican administration’s apparent hatred of Muslims.
The 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the primary law of our country suggests that we behave otherwise.
Amendment 1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
~ U.S. Constitution 1st Amendment
That bears reading over and over again.
Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson
He’s an interesting choice. First because he is a great director. You can see more of his work in Paradise Blue now playing at the Signature Theatre. and extended twice to June 17, 2018.
Secondly because of Santiago-Hudson’s Puerto Rican – African-American heritage. Who better to direct a play about race than someone who lives it?
One of the stories about the young Ruben Santiago is that when he came to New York from Pennsylvania, he couldn’t get work at the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater because he doesn’t speak Spanish. When he tried to get work at the Negro Ensemble Company, he was told that “we don’t have Puerto Ricans.” So he added his mother’s name and became Ruben Santiago-Hudson. He eventually got work.
We don’t know if that is a true story, but it is exactly the kind of thing many of us face in our own lives.
Othello’s Historical Context
Venice was the Italian city-state that controlled the Asia trade, especially the trade in silk which Romans loved. For centuries, Venice was where foreign influences entered Europe. It was and still is a progressive city because of those broad influences.
The Moors were a mix of Black and Arab Muslims from North Africa who controlled Sicily and parts of southern Italy from 827 to 1300. They also conquered Spain in the eighth century. “Moreno,” which in Spanish describes people with dark complexions, derives from this.
What Othello Means Today
Basically a Black / Muslim man marries a White woman. Both are tragically harassed and manipulated until both are dead.
Iago, Othello’s assistant who conjures a mess as revenge for being passed over for promotion, is pure evil. Can you think of a nobody who was always an outsider in his town and wished vengeance on society for it?
The Public chooses its Shakespeare plays in commentary on current events. The producers are speaking to us. What they are saying is up to you, but the Public makes you think.
Characters in Othello
Moorish Venetian general who marries Desdemona.
Daughter of Brabantio and wife of Othello.
Othello’s trusted, but traitorous officer. Iago is one of the archetypical bad guys. He wishes ill on everyone and is very manipulative.
A Venetian playboy who desires Desdemona
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson
- Peter Jay Fernandez (Duke of Venice)
- Motell Foster (Roderigo)
- Andrew Hovelson (Lodovico)
- Chukwudi Iwuji (Othello)
- Heather Lind (Desdemona)
- Tim Nicolai (ensemble)
- Flor De Liz Perez (Bianca)
- Miguel Perez (Brabantio)
- Thomas Schall (Montano)
- Caroline Siewert (ensemble)
- Corey Stoll (Iago)
- Babak Tafti (Cassio)
- Peter Van Wagner (Gratiano)
- Alison Wright (Emilia)
- Kevin Rico Angulo
- Christopher Cassarino
- David Kenner
- Lily Santiago
- Allen Tedder
The Production Team:
- Scenic Design by Rachel Hauck
- Costume Design by Toni-Leslie James
- Lighting Design by Jane Cox
- Sound Design by Jessica Paz
- Fight Direction by Thomas Schall
- Movement Direction by Adesola Osakalumi
- Music Composition by Derek Wieland
There are several ways to get tickets.
Donate to the Public Theater
Donate $500 or more to the Public Theater, and you get one ticket.
If you want to take your chances, every person (5+) can get up to two tickets while supplies last through the digital lottery or waiting in line at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, the Public Theater in Manhattan’s East Village, or through Borough Distribution.
Standby Before the Show
This is hit or miss, but if you line up well before, you may be able to get unclaimed tickets 30 minutes before the show.
A limited number of tickets are distributed through TodayTix.
To enter the lottery, you have to download and use the TodayTix app on Apple or Android devices and computers.
Before Waiting in Line Register for a Public Theater Patron ID
Central Park at 12 noon (line starts at 6 am)
The traditional way is to line up early in Central Park for the 12 noon free ticket distribution. Central Park doesn’t officially open until 6 am. People camp out by the park entrance at Central Park West and 81st Street.
Public Theater in the East Village at 12 noon. (Sign-up at 11 am)
The Public Theater reaches out to the NYC boroughs and distributes 2 ticket vouchers per person from 12 noon until they run out or 2 pm.
86-07 Broadway, Elmhurst, NY 11373
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
145 Brooklyn Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11213
Hunts Point Library
877 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10459
Clinton Hill Library
380 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301
89-11 Merrick Blvd, Jamaica, 11432
Kings Highway Library
2115 Ocean Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11229
1085 Washington Ave, Bronx, NY 10456
St. George Library
5 Central Ave, Staten Island, NY 10301
New York Hall of Science
47-01 111th St, Corona, NY 11368
Visiting the Delacorte Theater
The Delacorte Theater is at the Turtle Pond next to the Great Lawn in Central Park. The closest park entrance is at Central Park West at 81st St.
Central Park opens at 6 am and closes at 1 am.
- (C) or (B) to 81st St – Museum of Natural History
- (1) (2) to 79th St
M10 to Central Park West at 79th St
M79 to 81st St / Central Park West
For more information, visit publictheater.org