In the 50 years since its inception, the Delacorte Theatre has hosted some of the greatest actors of the age as part of The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park series. To honor the anniversary, many of these luminaries came together on the Delacorte stage recently, to be photographed by Annie Leibovitz for the July 2012 issue of Vanity Fair. From James Earl Jones, who played in the theater’s inaugural production of The Merchant of Venice, to current season stars Lily Rabe and Donna Murphy and repeat players like Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline.
Murphy, who made her Shakespeare in the Park debut in 1985’s The Mystery of Edwin Drood and returns this season in Into the Woods, chatted with Broadway.com about the experience. “It’s always magical, the whole event of it,” she said of doing Shakespeare in the Park. “Just doing the photo shoot was so moving and emotional and exciting and humbling,” she went on, “To be gathered with James Earl Jones and Kevin Kline, Meryl Streep and Mandy Patinkin, Audra McDonald, Lily Rabe—it’s this incredible collection of people, and what was funny is that we were all telling some version of the same story, which was about the magic of that [Shakespeare in the Park] experience. It is very liberating; everything is just magnified and has this special sprinkle of fairy dust on it.”
The 2012 season of Shakespeare in the Park includes Shakespeare’s As You Like It starring Lily Rabe, and Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, starring Donna Murphy, Amy Adams, Denis O’Hare and more.