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Public Theater fetes park benchmark

50th anniversary of free Shakespeare

The Public Theater’s June 18 gala celebrating 50 years at the Delacorte Theater — home of its annual free Shakespeare in the Park program — was chilly enough that some of the cast for the one-night-only reading of “Romeo and Juliet” emerged for the second act wearing scarves and jackets.

Al Pacino was honored as part of the gala proceedings. He didn’t get a trophy, though; he got a sword: the one he used when he played Marc Antony in “Julius Caesar” at the Public in 1988.

His acceptance speech touched on his South Bronx roots to the “crapshoot” luck involved in his success. He cut himself off with: “I feel the need to keep going because I have this Robin Williams complex. But I’m gonna go now.”

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