Shakespeare in the Park 2023 – The Complete Guide

Everything you need to know about this FREE Summer Event in NYC

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In the summer there are not only great free concerts or cinema events in the parks of New York. For theater lovers, the Free Shakespeare in the Park event is a perfect option! Plays by William Shakespeare are shown open air in the middle of Central Park at the Delacorte Theater. You should not miss this event in New York!

The event is very popular with New Yorkers and tourists, so it’s hard to get tickets – even though Shakespeare in the Park is free. Here you can find out all the important information about Shakespeare in the Park and how to get your tickets.

What is Shakespeare in the Park?

The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park is a summer theater event in New York that features plays by William Shakespeare on the open-air stage of the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. These outdoor events have been around for more than 60 years; Joseph Papp created them in 1962.

Shakespeare in the Park is a free event!

The free performances are very popular with New Yorkers during the summer. In the past, celebrities such as Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Philip Seymour Hoffman, George C. Scott and Denzel Washington have participated in the events.

An aerial shot of Delacorte Theater in Central Park
The Delacorte Theater in Central Park

Where do I find Shakespeare in the Park?

Shakespeare in the Park is shown at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The theater is located quite centrally in the park near Turtle Pond. The Museum of Natural History is also nearby.

You can take the B or C subway lines to the 81 Street-Museum of Natural History Station or take the line 6 to the 77 Street station and then walk to the Delacorte Theater.

What is being performed?

This year there will only be one play: Hamlet will be performed on the open-air stage. It will be directed by Kenny Leon and the main role will be played by Ato Blankson-Wood.

When does Shakespeare in the Park take place in 2023?

This year the 61st Shakespeare in the Park season takes place from June 8 to August 6, 2023. The performances usually are Tuesday through Sunday at 8 PM.

Where can I get tickets?

Although this event is free, you will need tickets for the performances.
There is a fixed amount of tickets that will be given out for the event. So the sooner you take care of the tickets, the higher the probability that you will get some.

You have several options to get tickets for Shakespeare in the Park:

1. In Central Park at the Delacorte Theater

On the day of the show, tickets will be distributed starting at 12 p.m. in front of the Delacorte Theater. The motto is: first come, first serve! So you should get there VERY EARLY because tickets are extremely popular!
Before you get in line, you must register for a Public Theater Patron ID.

2. The digital lottery

On each day of a performance, tickets will be given away randomly through the TodayTix app. You can enter the lottery for one or two tickets between midnight and noon each day. If you win, you will be notified by 3 p.m. and then have 30 minutes to confirm your tickets on the app. You can then pick up your tickets at the Delacorte Theater between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Make sure to be on time or your tickets will be reassigned!

3. In-person lottery at the Public Theater

Every show day there is an in-person lottery at the Public Theater in Downtown Manhattan. You can register from 11am and the winners will be drawn at 12pm. If you win, you will receive two vouchers that you can exchange for tickets at the Delacorte Theater between 5:30 and 7:30 pm. Again, be on time or tickets will be passed on!

4. The standby line

Every performance night there is a standby line for tickets that were won in the lottery and not picked up. With a lot of luck you can get your tickets. The number of tickets varies and there is a maximum of two tickets per person! Make sure you get your place in the queue in time. For this option you also have to register for a Public Theater ID in advance.

When is the best time to go?

If you have the opportunity, choose an event in the first week. The demand will be higher after that, when the first reviews are published.

Another possibility for higher ticket chances are days for which bad weather is predicted. The Public Theater doesn’t like to cancel performances, that’s why shows take place even in light drizzle. If it rains harder, performances may be interrupted. Pack a rain jacket or take a rain poncho, as umbrellas are not allowed.
Important to know: You cannot exchange tickets for events on rainy days.


Where is Shakespeare in the Park NYC?

Shakespeare in the Park NYC takes place at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. It’s located between the 79th and 81st Street close to the Belvedere Castle and the Museum of Natural History. Take the subway line C or B to 81 Street – Museum of Natural History Station. After a 5 minute walk you arrive at the Delacorte Theater.

Where can I see Shakespeare plays in NYC?

If you want to see Shakespeare play in NYC then summer is the perfect season for you! Every year the Delacorte Theater in Central Park shows Shakespeare in the Park. This event is free for everyone and hence very popular for New Yorkers and tourists. Arrive early for a good seat!

Where is Shakespeare in Central Park?

The William Shakespeare Statue is located between E 66th and E 67th Street in Central Park. You find the monument at the southern end of the Mall which is also known as “Literary Walk” because there are several statues of famous writers. It’s also close to the Central Park Carousel.

When did Shakespeare in the Park start in NYC?

Back in the year 1954 Joseph Papp founded the Shakespeare Theater to reach a bigger audience. The first mobile presentations of Shakespeare plays were shown in 1957. In 1962 the Delacorte Theater opened which made Shakespeare in the Park more popular. The opening performance back then was The Merchant of Venice.

Profilbild Steffen Kneist
About the author

I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 20 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!

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