The Tempest, a musical, in Central Park

September 3, 2013 3:06:40 PM PDT
Lear Debessonet is directing a musical version of The Tempest.

The production is being put on by the Public Theater's Public Works Division and just like Shakespeare in the Park. This will be presented at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.

"The inspiration for this production goes back to 1916. There was a community-based production of The Tempest in New York City. It brought together fifteen hundred New Yorkers," Debessonet said.

For this version the cast will tap out at a still substantial 206, and only five of the actors are professionals. All the others belong to community-based organizations throughout the city that partner with the Public Theater partners.

Atiya Taylor, for example, plays Miranda and comes from the Dreamyard Arts Program in the Bronx.

"I've always heard about Shakespeare in the Park, the Delacorte Theater. Just knowing that I am going to be in this show, that I'm going to get an opportunity to star in a show is just mind blowing," Taylor said

Her love interest, Ferdinand, is played by Xavier Pacheco.

"They told me they'd like to have me play Ferdinand. I'd love to be your Ferdinand," he said.

Both he and Atiya want to be a professional actors.

"That's pretty much what New York is full of - people who want to be artists or who have been artists. I feel like that's what we have in this two hundred and something cast. I feel like I'm representing New York in that," Pacheco said.

Representing the city in a production that's entirely for the city.

"I'm hoping for the audience to come away with a vision of what a unified city can look like and a celebration of all New Yorkers," Debessonet said.

The Tempest opens at Delacorte Theater on September 6 and closes September 8.

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