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American Masters: Joe Papp in Five Acts to Air on PBS

The documentary will air ahead of the 60th Anniversary of the Public Theater's free Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater.

Joe Papp speaks with Charles Durning at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.
(© George Joseph)

PBS will air American Masters: Joe Papp in Five Acts on Friday, June 3 at 9pm ET (check your local listings). This is just two weeks before the 60th Anniversary season of Shakespeare in the Park begins performances with Danai Gurira in the tile role of Richard III.

Directed and produced by Tracie Holder and Karen Thorsen, the film tells the story of the founder of the New York Shakespeare Festival, Joseph Papp, and his quest to bring free theater to Central Park and every borough of New York. Featuring rare footage from the 50s and up-close scenes from the performances themselves, Joe Papp in Five Acts allows the artists and staffers of Shakespeare in the Park to tell Papp's story: The film features interviews with James Earl Jones, Kevin Kline, Larry Kramer, Mandy Patinkin, Martin Sheen, Meryl Streep, Christopher Walken, and George C. Wolfe.