Reviews: What Did Critics Think of The Tempest at Free Shakespeare in the Park? | Playbill

The Verdict Reviews: What Did Critics Think of The Tempest at Free Shakespeare in the Park?

Renée Elise Goldsberry stars in the Public Theater's production at the Delacorte Theater.

Reneé Elise Goldsberry in The Tempest Joan Marcus

The reviews are rolling in for the Public Theater's Public Works production of Shakespeare's The Tempest. The production runs at Central Park's Delacorte Theater August 27-September 3, starring Renée Elise Goldsberry as Prospero. Laurie Woolery directs, with choreography by Tiffany Rea-Fisher.

Joining Goldsberry are Tristan André as Sebastian, Sabrina Cedeño as Trinculo, Anthony Chatmon II as Antonio, Jo Lampert as Ariel, Joél Pérez as Stephano, and Theo Stockman as Caliban. Brianna Cabrera, Patrick O'Hare, and Edwin Rivera will be the Spirit Ancestor Lead Singers. The production also features a special group performance by Oyu Oro Cuban Experimental Dance Ensemble.

Read the reviews here:

New York Magazine/Vulture (Sara Holdren)*

New York Theater (Jonathan Mandell)

The New York Times (Jesse Green)*

New York Stage Review (Melissa Rose Bernardo)

*This review requires creating a free account or a paid subscription.

Playbill will continue to update this list as reviews come in.

Goldsberry's children, Benjamin Johnson and Brielle Johnson, are also in the ensemble of the show. Goldsberry told Playbill that she's conceptualizing Prospero as a mother of three, saying, “When you are a Black mother of a Black child, or the mother of any child, and you’re looking at the world they have inherited…and, sometimes, how little possibility you can see ahead for them,” Goldsberry explains. “That’s Prospero’s situation: Having this amazing child and having so little to offer them. And trying to create something at any cost to give this child a future. That is the journey. And that's real, right now in our lives, in this world that we live in."

Tickets for the entire run are free, with distribution happening in-person in Central Park. You can also enter an in-person ticket lottery, a digital lottery via TodayTix, or try an in-person standby line at the Delacorte.

The production will be final show to play the Delacorte prior to a major renovation, expected to keep the theatre dark until 2025.

Woolery's creative team includes scenic designer Alexis Distler, costume designer Wilberth Gonzalez, lighting designer David Weiner, sound designer Jessica Paz, hair, wig, and makeup designer Krystal Balleza, music director Andrea Grody, orchestrator Mike Brun, and music coordinator Kristy Norter. Roxana Khan is production stage manager, and Janelle Caso and Jessie Moore serve as stage managers.

"As we continue to emerge from our pandemic cocoons, I was especially drawn to the famous line from the play: 'the isle is full of noises,’” said Velez in an earlier statement. “Our own island of Manhattan is brimming with so much chaos, as well as so much culture, so much spirit, and I have had the time of my life trying to channel the rhythms, the heartbeats, and the melodies of the city into a score that will really come alive with our massive community ensemble. Reimagining such a classic story for the moment we're in was a delicious, creative feast, using colors ranging from jazz manouche to R&B to classic rock, not to mention finding room in a six-piece band for a French horn! It's truly been a thrill."

Check Out Photos of Public Works' The Tempest

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