Bard at the Park adds ‘Verona’ for ‘Dream’

Production will run Aug. 16-Sept. 11 at Delacorte

Rethinking its Shakespeare in the Park lineup for this summer, the Public Theater has announced that Kathleen Marshall will direct and choreograph a revival of John Guare and Galt MacDermot’s musical version of “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” replacing the previously announced George C. Wolfe staging of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The production will run Aug. 16-Sept. 11 at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, where the musical adaptation debuted in 1971 before transferring to Broadway and winning Tony awards for musical, book of a musical and original score. Guare and Mel Shapiro adapted the classic comedy, with lyrics by Guare and score by “Hair” composer MacDermot.

Casting has not been announced for Marshall’s revival of the musical; the original cast featured Jeff Goldblum, Raul Julia and Jerry Stiller. Marshall won a Tony in 2004 for her choreography of the revival of “Wonderful Town,” which she also directed.

” ‘Two Gents’ was a watershed moment for the Public, combining as it did all the great pillars of our mission: Shakespeare, music, diversity, populism and immediacy,” said Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis, who takes over from departing chief Wolfe this year.

While Wolfe was to stage “Midsummer” as his farewell this season to the Public, the director remains on tap to mount next summer’s production of Bertolt Brecht’s “Mother Courage and Her Children” at the Delacorte. Meryl Streep will star in the Tony Kushner adaptation.

“Once George and I had agreed to his directing ‘Mother Courage’ next summer, thus ensuring George’s continued bond with the Public Theater, we mutually decided that it would be best to allow him to take a break before his return in 2006,” said Eustis.

As previously announced, the Public will stage two Shakespeare in the Park productions this summer to mark its 50th anniversary. First up is “As You Like It,” directed by Mark Lamos and starring Brian Bedford, Lynn Collins, Jennifer Ikeda, Richard Thomas and James Waterston. Perfs run June 25-July 17.

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