Shakespeare in the Park Featuring Alumnus Saheem Ali ’07 to Play on Radio

BY Robbie Armstrong, June 19, 2020

UPDATE 6/19/2020: Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Shakespeare in the Park will screen on the radio this year. The Public Theater has joined forces with WNYC to turn Richard II into a four-part radio play. The show will air July 13 to 16 and will also be available as a podcast.


Directing alumnus Saheem Ali ’07 directs the upcoming production of Richard II as a part of the annual Shakespeare in the Park series with The Public Theater. Free Shakespeare in the Park has been a pinnacle of New York City artistic endeavors for more than 60 years. The annual productions celebrate the vision of the Public Theater’s founder Joseph Papp, to create theatre that is of, by, and for all people. 


In Shakespeare’s Richard II, the last of the divinely anointed monarchs ascends to the throne. When King Richard banishes his cousin Henry Bolingbroke and deprives him of his inheritance, he unwittingly creates an enemy who will ultimately force him from the throne. As one of the Bard’s only dramas entirely in verse, this epic and intimate play presents the end of the Medieval Age and the rise of the house of Lancaster through a riveting tale of lost sovereignty, political intrigue, and psychological complexity. 


Ali returns to Shakespeare in the Park after previously associate directing The Tempest in 2015. Ali’s work has appeared on Broadway, at New York’s Signature Theatre, Wooly Mammoth Theatre Company, MCC, Manhattan Theatre Club, Lincoln Center Theatre, Atlantic Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and more. Ali served as an assistant director for the Tony Award winning Broadway revival of The Normal Heart. Recently Ali directed the critically acclaimed production The Rolling Stone at Lincoln Center’s Newhouse Theatre. 


Richard II is scheduled to present at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Free tickets will be available via the traditional in-person line at the Delacorte Theater, plus a daily in-person lottery in the lobby of The Public Theater, a daily online lottery, and in-person distribution locations throughout the five boroughs. The production is currently scheduled to begin performances on May 19, playing until June 21. The Public has not announced any cancellations or schedule changes due the COVID-19 precautions at this time. Please check back.