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Public Theater Releases Statement Regarding Julius Caesar Controversy

The Shakespeare in the Park production features strong suggestions of current politics.

Tina Benko, Gregg Henry, Teagle F. Bougere, and Elizabeth Marvel in a scene from Julius Caesar.
(© Joan Marcus)

The Public Theater's free Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar, which is now in performances at Central Park's Delacorte Theater, features strong suggestions of current politics, with the actor playing Caesar donning a costume and affectations both reminiscent of President Trump. Amid criticism of the production, two of the Public's sponsors, Delta Air Lines and Bank of America, have withdrawn their support from the show.

Today, the Public released a statement in response to the controversy and the ensuing withdrawals:

"We stand completely behind our production of Julius Caesar. We recognize that our interpretation of the play has provoked heated discussion; audiences, sponsors, and supporters have expressed varying viewpoints and opinions. Such discussion is exactly the goal of our civically engaged theater; this discourse is the basis of a healthy democracy. Our production of Julius Caesar in no way advocates violence towards anyone. Shakespeare's play, and our production, make the opposite point: Those who attempt to defend democracy by undemocratic means pay a terrible price and destroy the very thing they are fighting to save. For over 400 years, Shakespeare's play has told this story, and we are proud to be telling it again in Central Park."

Under the direction of artistic director Oskar Eustis, the production features Tina Benko (Calpurnia), Teagle F. Bougere (Casca), Yusef Bulos (Cinna the poet), Eisa Davis (Decius Brutus), Robert Gilbert (Octavius), Gregg Henry (Caesar), Edward James Hyland (Lepidus, Popilius), Nikki M. James (Portia), Christopher Livingston (Titinis, Cinna), Elizabeth Marvel (Antony), Chris Myers (Flavius, Messala, Ligarius), Marjan Neshat (Metullus Cimber), Corey Stoll (Marcus Brutus), John Douglas Thompson (Caius Cassius), and Natalie Woolams-Torres (Marullus).

The creative team includes David Rockwell (scenic design), Paul Tazewell (costume design), Kenneth Posner (lighting design), Jessica Paz (sound design), and Leah J. Loukas (hair, wig, and makeup design). Original music and soundscapes are by Bray Poor.

For tickets and more information, click here.


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