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Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003

Illyria Poster


Closed December 10, 2017


New York Magazine

Why See Illyria?

A love song to art and theatre in New York!

The Tony Award-winning playwright and director Richard Nelson returns to the Public Theater in late 2017 with his newest world premiere drama that places the human cost of the controversial gentrification of New York City in 1958, squarely at its center. The author of the blisteringly popular Apple Family plays and the Tony-winning musicals James Joyce's The Dead and the Broadway version of Chess, his ode to the downtown NYC spirit mixes class drama with civic pride.

What is it about?

The year is 1958 and New York City is a virtual building site; every bit of spare land is being built on - and even the older buildings are targeted for regeneration too. With a four-lane highway planned for Washington Square and Carnegie Hall earmarked for demolition, there is underlying tension as entire neighborhoods on the West Side are razed to the ground to build a brand-new 'palace of art'. At the center of the drama is a young Joe Papp and his colleagues; they all face cold betrayals, self-inflicted wounds and resentment from the city's moneyed elite as they steadfastedly continue to stage their free Shakespeare In The Park productions. Money versus art, the elite versus the local population; never had regeneration been so contentious until now.

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Additional Information


Opening night: 22 October 2017


Suitable for ages 12+

Run time


Cast and Creative


Rosie Benton as Colleen Dewhurst
Will Brill as Bernie Gersten 
Kristen Connolly as Peggy Papp
Blake DeLong as David Amram 
Emma Duncan as Gladys Vaughan 
Naian Gonzalez Norvind as Mary Bennett
Fran Kranz as Merle Debuskey 
John Magaro as Joseph Papp
John Sanders as Stuart Vaughan 
Max Woerttendyke as John Robertson


Written and Directed by Richard Nelson
Scenic Design by Susan Hilferty and Jason Ardizzone-West
Costume Design by Susan Hilferty 
Lighting Design by Jennifer Tiptonm
Sound Design by Scott Lehrer

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