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Public Theater to Revive Two Gentlemen of Verona Musical at Delacorte

The Public Theater has scratched its planned summer production of A Midsummer Night's Dream and will instead revive the Galt MacDermot-John Guare-Mel Shapiro musical version of William Shakespeare's classic comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, August 16-September 11. Kathleen Marshall, who won a Tony Award last year for her choreography of Wonderful Town, will direct and choreograph the show.

Two Gentlemen was intially created for the Public's Mobile Theater in 1971. The show was presented in the Delacorte in the summer of 1971 and transferred to Broadway's St. James Theater on November 13 of that year; it was nominated for nine Tony Awards, winning for Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical. The original cast featured Jonelle Allen, Clifton Davis, and Raul Julia -- all of whom received Tony nominations -- as well as Jerry Stiller and Jeff Goldbum.

"In the summer of 1971, in a country torn apart by an unpopular war, racial unrest, and violent social conflict, John Guare, Galt MacDermot, and Mel Shapiro created an extraordinary, inclusive musical about love," stated Oskar Eustis, the Public's new artistic director. "The show was a watershed moment for The Public, combining as it did all the great pillars of our mission: Shakespeare, music, diversity, populism, and immediacy. Revisiting this wonderful show is a terrific way to celebrate our 50th anniversary."

The Public's outgoing artistic director, George C. Wolfe, had been scheduled to direct A Midsummer Night's Dream. As previously reported by TheaterMania, he will return to the Public in the summer of 2006 to direct a new adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage by Tony Kushner, and starring Meryl Streep. Said Eustis, "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 the summer of 2006." Wolfe will be honored for his leadership of The Public at the theater's annual summer gala on Tuesday, July 12.