A Musical Adaptation of William Shakespeare’s


Music and Lyrics by Todd Almond
Choreographed 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, Capoeira Luanda, New York Theatre Ballet, Megha Kalia’s NYC Bhangra Dance Company, Rosie’s Theater Kids, Sesame Street, Bond Street Theater’s Shinbone Alley Stilt Band, Staten Island Lions and Urban Park Rangers NYC Parks


The Public Theater


“The phrase “community theatre” rarely inspires such vibrant dramatics and joyful pageantry as when The Public Theater’s Public Works program takes the Delacorte stage. Once again led by the creative team of director/conceiver Lear deBessonet, composer/lyricist Todd Almond and choreographer Chase Brock, the mission was accomplished by a company of over 200 performers, only a handful of who were members of Actors’ Equity. The community of non-professional actors of all ages who sang and danced in crowd scenes was what gave the evening its rapturously thumping heart.”



“In this musical version conceived and directed by Lear deBessonet, the yawning diversity of the city’s artistic climate is on unmistakable display. In addition to a 20-person acting company, there’s also an ensemble of close to a hundred, which doesn’t count the additional dozens from the cameo groups comprising Rosie’s Theater Kids, the New York Theatre Ballet (under the choreography, as is everyone else, of Chase Brock), Capoeira Luanda, the Bond Street Theatre’s Shinbone Alley Stilt Band, the four-man Staten Island Lions Chinese dancers, Megha Kalia’s NYC Bhangra Dance Company, a trio of urban park rangers from the Parks system, and, in the most delightful spot, a group from Sesame Street highlighting Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and theatre favorite Stephanie D’Abruzzo (as a chocolate chip cookie) doing a Shakespeare-inspired song and dance by Molly Boylan and Bill Sherman. There’s no way to avoid deriving some sort of thrill from watching scores of dancers clad in Technicoler-drenched-anything-goes costumes (by Paul Carey) representing the teeming throngs of free-thinking Bohemia, as but one example of many, and each of the individual troupes is undeniably talented and a valuable component of the performing arts scene in New York City.”



“With the move to Bohemia, we are treated to a sheepshearing hoedown, with a stage full of performers in multiethnic attire performing countrified choreography (by Chase Brock) to Mr. Almond’s percolating music. The generous dance sequences mix professional troupes alongside amateurs, with results that are exuberant and entertaining, even if occasionally messy.”

– The New York Times


“The upshot of this socially-radical, polyphonic adaptation is a phenomenal Winter’s Tale that probably dissatisfies purists and gatekeepers of the arts. But its accessibility isn’t limited to the untutored – this is Shakespeare that everyone except a killjoy would love. At its core, deBessonet’s method of staging Shakespeare transforms the play from an aesthetic artifact into a civic celebration, like stone into flesh. To enjoy this show, to be in this show, you only need to be a citizen.”

– The Fifth Wall


“Seeing a show like the Public Works production of The Winter’s Tale at the Delacorte stage makes you wonder why Shakespeare is not in musical form more often. I cannot praise this show highly enough. This is why theatre is magic, and if you should be so lucky as to have time on your hands tonight – get over to the Delacorte. This is spectacular theatre.”

– Front Row Center