Sunday, July 12, 2009

Not Seeing Shakespeare in the Park

Another summer of Shakespeare in Central Park has come and gone unseen by me. Alas, the only way to get in is to begin standing in line as early as 6 a.m. for same day tickets that are not distributed until 1 p.m. I am a bit intimidated by this procedure. I have fantasized about lugging my folding chair and book bag onto the subway, heading up to Central Park at about 8 a.m. (okay, so I'll never be first in line), and then sitting and reading patiently in the shade (with luck!) until the box office is open and I can snare my highly coveted entrance to another star-studded interpretation of the Bard. But I have never actually followed through. This year they did Twelfth Night with Anne Hathaway (Rachel's Getting Married, among many other films) as Viola/Casario, Audra McDonald (the great singer and actress) as Olivia, and Raul Esparza as Orsino (who was so good in Company, the Homecoming and most recently Speed the Plow). It received quite strong reviews overall.

Actually, today is the last day it will be shown, but who can afford to spend most of Sunday standing in line? Last night, we happened to be in Central Park, walking by the Delacorte Theatre, where the plays are done, just before the production began. There was a rush line of people, the first few of whom actually got tickets, and a lot of excitement in the air as things were readied to get the play underway. We wondered - could we situate ourselves close enough to the outdoor theatre to hear or even see the play? We scurried up a bluff above the stage where a handful of others were gathered, but it turned out we could neither see nor hear the piece. We ran back down to a railing about 50 yards away and could actually hear some words being spoken. But as we stood there straining to absorb the poetry, much of which was gobbled up by the light winds and incidental noise all around the park, it dawned on us that this just wouldn't do. We left, not unhappily, for after all we were strolling through one of the most beautiful parks in the world, but still lacking one of those iconic experiences of being a New Yorker.


  1. Hi 3NY,
    You might know about this already, but they do give away some Shakespeare in the Park tickets each day through the online lottery.
    You can join the "Virtual Line" starting at midnight on the day you want tickets and then check the website between 1-6pm to see if you were chosen to receive a pair of tickets, which you can then pick up at the box office. They just started this online option last summer and I'm not sure how many tickets they give out each day. I've never successfully gotten tickets this way. But it's worth a shot and much better than spending a beautiful Sunday in line.
    Keep up the great blog entries. Very entertaining!

  2. Thanks, Carina. What a good thing to know!