Shakespeare in the Park, 81 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

King Lear Poster

King Lear

Closed August 17, 2014

The almost blithe beginning of this King Lear, the first version to be staged at this theater since 1973, teasingly matches the holiday mood that theatergoers bring to Shakespeare in the Park.

Ben Brantley, The New York Times

Why See King Lear?

John Lithgow is your mad King Lear

King Lear visits the heart of Manhattan as the Public Theatre puts on a star-studded production of Shakespeare's classic tragedy in Central Park. John Lithgow stars as the mad king, alongside Annette Bening as Goneril. This year, Shakespeare in the Park celebrates its 52nd season of bringing great free theatre to this iconic venue. The production will be directed by Tony winner Daniel Sullivan.

This exciting production is part of the Public Theatre's annual Shakespeare in the Park event, a collection of free performances of some of the Bard's most well known plays performed at Central Park's Delacorte Theatre. Over five million people have enjoyed these performances since they first started almost 60 years ago, now a New York City summer institution as much as ice cones and sunbathing are.

What is King Lear about?

King Lear follows the demise of the King of England as his life unravels after disowning his favorite, and most loyal, daughter Cordelia. In order to divide his kingdom amongst his three daughters, the ageing king asks each of them to declare how much they love him, his plan being to divide his fortunes according to the praises he receives. His plan, however, falls apart from the start as Cordelia refuses to comply. Enraged, he immediately banishes her and divides his Kingdom amongst the remaining two daughters - not knowing that this action will result in him losing everything he holds dear - and his mind.

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Additional Information


Previews from: 22 July 2014

Opening night: 5 August 2014


Suitable for audiences of all ages

Run time

Not announced

Cast and Creative


John Lithgow as King Lear
Annette Bening as Goneril
Jessica Collins as Cordelia
Jessica Hecht as Regan
Jeremy Bobb as Oswald
Steven Boyer as the Fool
Glenn Fleshler as Cornwall
Slate Holmgren as the King of France
Christopher Innvar as Albany
Chukwudi Iwuji as Edgar
Clarke Peters as Gloucester
Dale Place as Old Man and Curan
Jay O. Sanders as Kent
Eric Sheffer Stevens as Edmund
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
Andrew Burnap
Christopher Ghaffari
Ryan-James Hatanaka
Matt Helm
Dave Klasko
Phillip Shinn


Directed by Daniel Sullivan
Scenic design by John Lee Beatty
Costume design by Susan Hilferty
Lighting design by Jeff Croiter
Sound design by ACME Sound Partners
Original music by Dan Moses Schreier


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