MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) — It’s a one-of-a-kind theater hosting a one-of-a-kind production. And it’s closing Sunday night for the next 18 months.
The Delacorte Theater in the heart of Central Park, home to free Shakespeare in the Park for more than six decades.
“It looks great as it is,” Linda Foster, a longtime Shakespeare in the Park theatergoer, told PIX11 News. “Whatever it takes, I just hope it stays free.”
She’s 61 years old, and the Delacorte theater is showing her age, so starting this week, the free Shakespeare in the Park theater will be closed for 18 months for a $77 million renovation.
You can see wires hanging, chipped paint and bruises on the wooden exterior. Among the improvements when the Delacorte reopens in 2025 will be making the theater more accessible with wider aisles and additional ramps:
“We have so many people who can’t get around. I welcome these renovations to help them,” Nery Diaz, another theatergoer, told PIX11 News.
Since The Delacorte Theater was built in 1962, there have been 150 Shakespeare productions that more than 5 million people have attended for free.
“It’s free, and these productions never get stale,” Curtis Caplan, a longtime Shakespeare in the Park theatergoer, told PIX11 News.
The Tempest will be its last production before the renovations start. It’s a public works/public theater collaboration, a musical, with a cast of 88 people.
Tickets are given out in a lottery, but there are always diehards willing to wait for a standby ticket, especially on this last night.
There will be one more event at the Delacorte before renovations start.
Sept. 6, there will be a celebration of the theater’s 61-year history, a show called A Brief Intermission, co-created by Lin Manuel Miranda.