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Shakespeare in the Park, and the Parking Lot

By Jon Sobel j.sobel@classicalite.com on Jun 17, 2014 06:33 PM EDT

Looking for an outdoor Shakespeare fix? Don't feel like waiting in line all day just to fail at scoring a ticket to the Public Theatre's free Shakespeare in the Park? New Yorkers have plenty of other options this summer.

Boomerang Theatre Company. Sure, the Public Theatre's Delacorte productions have big-name actors like Brian Stokes Mitchell, John Lithgow and Annette Bening. But Central Park is also the backdrop to the Boomerang Theatre Company's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 PM starting this weekend through July 20 (except July 4 weekend) at 69th St. and Central Park West. Free, no reservations required, and no waiting all day in line.

Bryant Park Shakespeare. Boomerang will also present Love's Labor's Lost as part of Bryant Park Shakespeare in Bryant Park at 42nd St. and Sixth Avenue right behind the New York Public Library (how appropriate), August 14-30.

New York Classical Theatre. NYCT presents a roaming outdoor As You Like It this summer, first at "the area around the pool near the 103rd street entrance at Central Park West," then Prospect Park in Brooklyn, and finally back in Manhattan, but as far downtown as you can get: Battery Park.

Smith Street Stage. Brooklynites can also catch Smith Street Stage's Much Ado About Nothing starting July 23 in Carroll Park.

Shakespeare in the Parking Lot. If all that park acreage is too grassy for you and you'd prefer something a little more downtown and dirty, The Drilling Company's Shakespeare in the Parking Lot celebrates its 20th season of "Bard-under-the-stars and among-the-cars" with Twelfth Night. The setting: the Municipal Parking Lot at the corner of Ludlow and Broome Streets, July 10-26. Jealous as always, Othello insists on following, July 31-August 16.

Hudson Warehouse. Uptown, Hudson Warehouse's 11th season presents Shakespeare's King John and The Winter's Tale plus Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest at the north patio of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in Riverside Park.

Harlem Summer Shakespeare. Way uptown, Pulse Ensemble Theatre's Harlem Summer Shakespeare stages its shows in a real amphitheater in Riverbank State Park along the Hudson River. In association with Harlem Week, Pulse is presenting Romeo and Juliet July 24-August 17.

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Way, way uptown along the very same river, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival's 24th season is already underway with three productions at Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison, NY, eight miles north of the Bear Mountain Bridge. So take a hike, then come down from the mountain and catch an evening performance of Othello, The Two Gentlemen of Verona or David Ives's adaptation of Pierre Corneille's The Liar.

Outdoor Shakespeare springs up all over, from the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon to Wisconsin, and this isn't a definitive list, not even of the options in and near New York City. So listen for a Prologue near you, saunter over, lay down your fardels (but bring your bug spray and SPF), say an orison for good weather and enjoy open-air Shakespeare. It's all around you.

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TagsShakespeare, Public Theater, Shakespeare in the Park, Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, Harlem Summer Shakespeare, Hudson Warehouse, Smith Street Stage, New York Classical Theatre, Boomerang Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company

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