The list of names is endless. 

Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, James Earl Jones, Raul Julia, Oscar Isaac, Danielle Brooks, Kevin Kline and many others. They have all performed at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park for The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park, which has been a New York tradition since 1962. 

What You Need To Know

  • The Delacorte Theater in Central Park is undergoing renovations this summer, so there will be no Shakespeare in the Park productions there from The Public Theater

  • However, The Public Theater is running free mobile Shakespeare performances and film showings this summer during the construction

  • The Delacorte is expected to be ready for summer 2025

“It’s not just free Shakespeare, but the greatest productions of Shakespeare you can see anywhere in the world. The greatest actors in America have performed on this stage, for free,” Oskar Eustis, the longtime artistic director at The Public Theater, said.

This summer, the Delacorte is undergoing a revitalization, preparing it for more decades of free Shakespeare for New Yorkers.

NY1 got a look at the progress at the Delacorte from Eustis.

The design from Ennead Architects includes bigger seats, more accessibility for audiences and staff, and even air conditioning for the dressing rooms.

The project aims to make performances more comfortable for those putting on the show, and those watching it.

“We’re going to make sure that the architecture models the democracy that we blow so much hot air about. It’s going to be great,” Eustis said. 

Meanwhile, to keep the free Shakespeare going during construction, The Public Theater’s free mobile unit is traveling the five boroughs with a bilingual musical adaptation of "The Comedy of Errors."

Also, the acclaimed production of "Much Ado About Nothing" will screen at parks around town, and audiences nationwide can stream past performances of Much Ado and Hamlet and others for free.

However, Eustis said he can’t wait to be back at the Delacorte next summer for the reopening.

“It’s the most beautiful theater in the world in the most beautiful city in the world, and it’s right in the center of New York City, and there’s no better place to see theater than the Delacorte,” Eustis said. 

He said the revamped Delacorte will be the kind of palace that the people of New York deserve.