Of all the many New York City traditions– the Sunday Times, rollerblading and crack, to name a few– none are so affirming as Shakespeare in the Park! Since 1956, Joe Papp has brought Shakespeare to the people, making sure that everyone has access to the immortal Bard, whether they want it or not. From the Turtle Pond to the Delacorte, we’ve been able to see the likes of Collen Dewhurst in a corset and Paul Sorvino in tights. Yum!
Until the ol’ Zombie Apocalypse. The city fathers believed that free tickets would attract fans of Shakespeare, which would in turn attract fans of brains, and cancelled the venerable institution. But the outcry was so tremendous (or maybe it was just the death screams of attacked protestors,) the city has reversed its position, and Shakespeare in the Park is back!
Hey, I’m not saying it was all perfect. Gerard Butler isn’t exactly a classically trained actor. Still, he knows how to wield a sword. Helen Mirren as Lady Macbeth is a revelation, as is her ability to tear an undead ghoul’s head off with her crown. And Michael Rooker– well, Michael Rooker!The bottom line is, this is a performance that will go down in legend. It was supposed to be a six week run, and it turns out the show couldn’t run fast enough. But those 37 minutes before the actors were overrun by zombies will rank as some of the greatest minutes in live theater.
I do want to put to rest the rumors that I will be playing Hamlet next year. Even if they manage to clear the Delacorte, establish a zombie-free perimeter, create zombie deterrents that are not radioactive and give me a teleprompter for the longer speeches, I’m happy to continue as nothing more than your humble DJ, bringing you the best in jazz to keep you cultured in these dire times.
Besides, have you seen what theater pays? I mean, I’m sorry, I’d just be losing money.