On Monday, June 18, the Public Theater held its annual gala celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater with a one-night-only reading of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet starring Kevin Kline and Meryl Streep as the pair of star-crossed lovers. The evening also honored Tony Award winner Al Pacino for his body of work with the Public, which dates back to the early 1970s and has continued through to his portrayal of Shylock in the Shakespeare in the Park production of The Merchant of Venice.
Guests at the gala included Alan Alda, Bobby Cannavale, Chelsea Clinton, Matt Doyle, Ethan Hawke, David Henry Hwang, Tony Kushner, Laura Linney, Julianna Margulies, Steve Martin, Mike Nichols, Cynthia Nixon, Lily Rabe, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Diane Sawyer, Julia Stiles, Kathleen Turner, and Julie White.
In addition to Streep and Kline, the reading also featured F. Murray Abraham (Friar Laurence), Christine Baranski (Nurse), John Cullum (Capulet), Raúl Esparza (Sampson, Apothecary, Watchman 1), David Harbour (Abraham, Capulet Servant, Paris' Page), Bill Irwin (Montague), Jesse L. Martin (Gregory, Friar John, Watchman 2), Sandra Oh (Lady Montague), Phylicia Rashad (Lady Capulet), Jerry Stiller (Peter), Michael Stuhlbarg (Paris), Christopher Walken (Mercutio), Sharon Washington (Stage Directions), Sam Waterston (Benvolio), and Jeffrey Wright (Tybalt), along with an on-stage band playing the music of Jeanine Tesori.
The current Shakespeare in the Park offering is As You Like It, which opens on Thursday. Later this summer the park offering will be the musical Into the Woods.