The Public Theater has revealed casting for its upcoming Public Works musical of Shakespeare's The Tempest, part of the Free Shakespeare in the Park season. The work, featuring songs by Benjamin Velez, will play Central Park's Delacorte Theater August 27-September 3 with Laurie Woolery directing and Tiffany Rea-Fisher choreographing.
Tony winner Renée Elise Goldsberry will lead the cast as Prospero, co-starring alongside Tristan André as Sebastian, Sabrina Cedeño as Trinculo, Anthony Chatmon II as Antonio, Jo Lampert as Ariel, Joél Pérez as Stephano, and Theo Stockman as Caliban. Brianna Cabrera, Patrick O'Hare, and Edwin Rivera will be the Spirit Ancestor Lead Singers. The production will also feature a special group performance by Oyu Oro Cuban Experimental Dance Ensemble.
Woolery's creative team includes scenic designer Alexis Distler, costume designer Wilberth Gonzalez, lighting designer David Weiner, sound designer Jessica Paz, hair, wig, and makeup designer Krystal Balleza, music director Andrea Grody, orchestrator Mike Brun, and music coordinator Kristy Norter. Roxana Khan will be production stage manager, and Janelle Caso and Jessie Moore will serve as stage managers.
"As we continue to emerge from our pandemic cocoons, I was especially drawn to the famous line from the play: 'the isle is full of noises,’” says Velez. “Our own island of Manhattan is brimming with so much chaos, as well as so much culture, so much spirit, and I have had the time of my life trying to channel the rhythms, the heartbeats, and the melodies of the city into a score that will really come alive with our massive community ensemble. Reimagining such a classic story for the moment we're in was a delicious, creative feast, using colors ranging from jazz manouche to R&B to classic rock, not to mention finding room in a six-piece band for a French horn! It's truly been a thrill."
The Tempest will be Free Shakespeare in the Park's season-closing offering, and the last to run at the Delacorte until 2025 following upcoming renovations. Part of The Public's annual Public Works initiative, performances will include ensemble performances featuring partner organizations from all five boroughs of NYC.