Theater News

Ato Blankson-Wood to Star in Hamlet for 2023 Free Shakespeare in the Park

The Public Theater is presenting one free summer production, with an extended run of nine weeks.

Ato Blankson-Wood will play the title role in Hamlet in this year's Shakespeare in the Park.
Ato Blankson-Wood will play the title role in Hamlet in this year's Shakespeare in the Park.
(© Tricia Baron)

The Public Theater has announced its 2023 season for its free Shakespeare in the Park, which will feature just one production this summer, moving away from the practice of past seasons in which two full productions were mounted.

Ato Blankson-Wood will play the title role in Shakespeare's Hamlet, which will begin previews at the Delacorte Theater on June 8 ahead of an official opening night on June 28. Directed by Kenny Leon (who helmed the 2019 Shakespeare in the Park production of Much Ado About Nothing), Hamlet will have an extended run of nine weeks, far longer than the typical Shakespeare in the Park production. Performances are scheduled through August 6.

Widely considered Shakespeare's greatest tragedy (and by some critics, the very heart of the "Western Canon"), Hamlet is about the melancholic Prince of Denmark. His father the King has recently died, with the throne passing to Hamlet's uncle, Claudius, who has also hastily married Hamlet's mother, Gertrude. When the ghost of the King appears to Hamlet, ordering him to avenge his death, this cerebral Wittenberg student hems and haws about the best way to do it.

Blankson-Wood appeared as Orlando in last season's production of As You Like It, which featured music by Shaina Taub and a giant chorus.

Hamlet will feature scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Jessica Jahn, lighting design by Allen Lee Hughes, sound design by Justin Ellington, video design by Jeff Sugg, oroginal music by Jason Michael Webb, and hair, wig, and makeup design by Earon Chew Nealey. Karyn Meek serves as production stage manager.

Complete casting, creative team, and a detailed performance schedule will be announced at a later date.