By Zach Johnson
This summer, Hercules will once again go the distance—but this time, our hero will go from Mount Olympus to New York City! Today, The Public Theater announced it is bringing Hercules to the stage, continuing its 57-year tradition of offering free performances in Central Park. Part of Shakespeare in the Park, Public Works’ new adaptation will close out the 2019 season.
The stage show, presented by special arrangement with Disney Theatrical Productions, under the direction of Thomas Schumacher, will feature songs from the beloved animated classic, as well as new musical numbers by Disney Legend Alan Menken and David Zippel; it will also include a new book by Kristoffer Diaz and original choreography by Chase Brock. Directed by Public Works Founder Lear deBessonet, the Hercules musical will run August 31 through September 8.
“We are thrilled to welcome Lear deBessonet back at the helm of our Public Works initiative for the first time since 2015,” said Oskar Eustis, artistic director, The Public Theater. “Alan Menken is one of the great musical geniuses of our time; it is an honor to welcome him, David Zippel, and Kristoffer Diaz to the Delacorte. Our Public Works community promises to connect this brilliantly conceived story back to the earth from which it sprang: the people. What a grand and unlikely experience this will be!”
“Many generations of our Public Works families have embraced Disney musicals as a shared American canon,” said deBessonet. “Hercules’ roots in Greek mythology, infused with soulful gospel music, make it a natural extension of Public Works’ radical exploration of humanity through Shakespeare and the classics. We’re excited to see how this Public Works production will uncover the deeper meaning of what it means to be a hero and how true strength is derived, not from the greatness of one person, but the transformative power of community.”
Based on Disney’s Oscar®-nominated 1997 film, directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, the stage production has also recruited scenic designer Dane Laffrey; costume designer Andrea Hood; lighting designer Tyler Micoleau; sound designers Kai Harada and Jessica Paz; wigs, hair, and makeup designer Cookie Jordan; and music arranger and supervisor Michael Kosarin.
If a trip to New York City is on your agenda this summer, visit PublicTheater.org for more details and ticketing information.