The Best of NYC’s Summer Free Outdoor Theater

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New York City is the global epicenter of a lot of things, theater and the performing arts are somewhere near the top of that list. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” hogged the headlines for so long it’s easy to forget how much great theater there is on offer. Now we’re in the summer, theater in NYC hits the parks, even the parking lots, to bring a little free culture to the city. Here are six free outdoor theater performances we recommend you to check out:

Henry VI, Part 3
[shakespeareintheparkinglot]
[shakespeareintheparkinglot]
  • Where: Parking lot behind the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center, 114 Norfolk Street, Lower East Side
  • When:  Until Saturday, August 12
  • More info

We can gain insight into our current polarized politics from Shakespeare’s plays on the Wars of the Roses. Shakespeare in the Parking Lot by The Drilling Company will present “Henry VI Part 3.” The play, which is seldom done, lays bare the passions of the Medieval English war between York and Lancaster. In doing so, it illuminates the animosity between today’s Republicans and Democrats on one hand and the tenacity of irreconcilable conflicts, including current civil and sectarian wars, on the other.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
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[publictheater]
  • Where: Delacorte Theater, Central Park
  • When:  Until Sunday, August 13
  • More info

Delacorte Theater turns into the most enchanted forest in all of the theater in Shakespeare’s, a Midsummer Night’s Dream. When the merry sprite Puck meddles with a magical love potion, young lovers lost in the woods mysteriously find themselves infatuated with the wrong person in this hilarious, fairytale fantasia that proves the course of true love never did run smooth.

Henry IV, Part 1
[hiptohip]
[hiptohip]

Prince Hal is caught between two worlds: in the tavern, he carouses with a wild bunch, led by the scoundrel Falstaff, but at court, the King presses him to shoulder his responsibilities as heir to the throne. Meanwhile, the rebellious Hotspur threatens to destroy the kingdom. Shakespeare’s action-packed coming-of-age story asks “What makes a good leader?”

Macbeth
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[newyorkclassical]
  • Where: Battery Park, Castle Clinton, FiDi & Brooklyn Bridge Park, 334 Furman St
  • When: Until Sunday, August 27
  • More info

Ambition goes unchecked by moral restraint and destruction befalls all but a lucky few. This classic story of the perils of ultimate power is fueled by the supernatural forces that haunt the castles and forests of early Scotland.

Henry V
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[hudsonwarehouse]
  • Where: Riverside Park, Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, Upper West Side
  • When: Until Sunday, August 20
  • More info

Shakespeare’s epic, complex and moving history of a young King’s triumph against all odds is brought roaring back to life this summer, in a rousing new production from NYC’s The Hudson Warehouse, the Resident Theater Company of Goddard Riverside’s Bernie Wohl Arts Center.

Rhinoceros
[rhinocollective]
[rhinocollective]
  • Where: Astoria Park
  • When: Until Saturday, August 19
  • More info

This vibrant performance of Rhinoceros is a colorful tribute to Ionesco’s cautionary tale of fascism, originally set in 20th century France, audiences are invited to reflect on the provocative social parallels emerging today in 21st century America.

Featured image source [hudsonwarehouse]

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