A Musical Adaptation of William Shakespeare’s


Music and Lyrics by Todd Almond
Choreography by Chase Brock
Conceived and Directed by Public Works Director Lear deBessonet


Brownsville Recreation Center, Children’s Aid Society, Domestic Workers United, Dreamyard Project, Fortune Society, Ballet Tech, Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Ensemble, Middle Church Jerriese Johnson Gospel Choir, New York City Taxi Workers Alliance, Raya Brass Band, Lydia Callis and Stephen Duncan


The Public Theater


“One of Joseph Papp’s most heartfelt goals was to create free Shakespeare productions where the diverse population of New York City could see a company of actors that looked like the diverse population of New York City. In the new Public Works musical production of The Tempest, the Delacorte stage not only explodes with the rich visual tapestry of the residents of our five boroughs, the music they sing and dance to takes us on a tour of the city’s symphony of sounds. They sing a catchy collection of rock, pop, Latin, gospel and classical choral, while enthusiastically dancing to Chase Brock’s streetwise choreography and dressed by Paul Carey in eye-popping splashes of color.”



“For now, the big news is this: Ms. deBessonet, her collaborators and her cast of more than 200 New Yorkers have created a stirring, delightful “Tempest,” one that feels more vibrantly alive than many of the turgid, star-studded blockbusters floating around out there. This was a love letter – to Shakespeare, certainly, but really to the city of New York. Mr. Almond made light work of heavy lifting, directing the flow of numerous bodies and cameos and frequently addressing the audience as a fey M.C. He was aided in this by the choreography, which moved from basic blocking and gentle patterns by Chase Brock, for those performers without much stage experience, to more complicated sequences for trained performers. The young lovers Miranda and Ferdinand were their own island of ardent connectedness in a ceaseless swirl of bodies, sounds and colors.”

– The New York Times


“The Public Theater beautifully inaugurated its Public Works initiative over the weekend with a delightful musical romp through Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” that was staged with more than 200 performers for three showings at the outdoor Delacorte Theater in Central Park. So the Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Ensemble pounds on drums during the stormy opening sequence and the Calpulli Mexican Dance Company swirls its ruffles through the banquet scene. Members of the NYC Taxi Workers Alliance make a cameo spin during the show along with appearances by a gospel choir, a brass band and several other arts troupes. Chase Brock nicely incorporates the various organizations’ styles into his diverse choreography, which moves around large numbers of people with ease and a swirling sense of flow.”

– New Jersey Newsroom


“The production once again affirmed that community theatre is not only valuable but essential, an asset to pro companies rather than a pale imitation of them. It was also a reminder of the power of collaboration, of the intermingling of different artistic pursuits and organizations to create a blended whole. At a time when the arts are often seen as frivolous or disposable, there is enormous strength in variety and in numbers, sending a message about the essential and broad-based value of creativity and performance at every level of society and life.”

– The Huffington Post