Oscar winners Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline will play Shakespeare's famous star-crossed lovers in a one-night-only reading of Romeo and Juliet, as part of a gala celebrating the 50th anniversary of Shakespeare in the Park. Public Theater vet Daniel Sullivan will direct the reading, to be held on June 18 at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.
In addition to the gala's starry reading, Tony Award winner Al Pacino will be honored for his body of work with The Public Theater, which extends back to the early 1970s through his acclaimed performance as Shylock in the 2010 Shakespeare in the Park production of The Merchant of Venice.
Streep and Kline are both Shakespeare in the Park veterans, who co-starred in the 2007 production of Mother Courage and Her Children and The Seagull in 2001. Streep has also appeared in Henry V, Measure for Measure, The Taming of the Shrew. Kline has performed in Shakespeare in the Park a total of nine times since 1970, with roles in Troilus and Cressida, The Tempest, Two Gentleman of Verona, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Richard III and more.
The Delacorte Theater in Central Park officially opened on June 18, 1962 with a production of The Merchant of Venice. Directed by Public Theater founder Joe Papp and Gladys Vaughn, the production featured then-unknown actors George C. Scott and James Earl Jones. Over the past 50 years more than five million people have enjoyed more than 100 free productions of Shakespeare and other classical works and musicals at the Delacorte.