Central Park celebrates 'Venice'

The Public Theater’s Monday evening gala in Central Park continued its tradition of defying party-spoiling thunderstorms. “That’s the reason they keep me here,” quipped the theater’s exec director, Andy Hamingson. “I control the weather.”

Hamingson’s mysterious powers held up through the evening’s perf of the Al Pacino-starring “Merchant of Venice” at the Delacorte, a play New York Cultural Affairs commish Kate D. Levin said “couldn’t be more timely.”

“Credit-default swaps have always sucked,” she added, earning chuckles from the starry aud, which included Kevin Spacey, Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts and Sam Waterston.

Honored at the shindig were major donor Bank of America and former Public exec Bernard Gersten, who is now with Lincoln Center Theater.

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