Shakespeare In The Park's Return Planned For Summer 2021

A beloved New York City tradition that was halted during the pandemic is planning a comeback this summer. On Tuesday, the Public Theater unveiled the plan for the return of Shakespeare in the Park; CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reports.

Video Transcript

DANA TYLER: We begin tonight with a big announcement in the road to reopening. A favorite, a favorite New York City tradition halted during the pandemic is planning a comeback this summer. Today, the Public Theater unveiled the plan for the return of Shakespeare in the Park. CBS 2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas is live in a snow-covered Central Park with more. Aundrea.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: Well, good evening, Dana. You know, the city is just not the same without the arts. And as you can see, the Delacorte Theater behind me, it is all quiet right now. Just imagine, in a few months, this whole place is going to be buzzing with excitement. Now organizers are still going through a lot of the details, but they say this is an indication that better days are ahead.

- In the disposing of new--

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: Shakespeare in the Park, a decades-old summer tradition, is returning to the Delacorte Theater from July 5 to August 29, filling a painful void caused by the pandemic.

BILL DE BLASIO: This is hope. This is New York City coming back to life.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: Saheem Ali will be directing "Merry Wives," an adaptation of "Merry Wives of Windsor," complete with a New York City twist.

SAHEEM ALI: We're excited to fill this theater with laughter, with radical Black joy, and to celebrate the rich diversity that New York City has to offer.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: But as with everything these days, it's not just business as usual. Organizers are waiting for new health guidelines to know how many people can fill the audience. And for safety reasons, those long lines for free tickets, a hallmark of the experience, may have to temporarily disappear.

OSKAR EUSTIS: The idea of the line fundamentally is the equitable distribution of tickets. We'll find a way to equitably distribute the tickets, even if we can't have a physical line.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: Finding a way is the grit that sustained the arts community during a devastating year. And finally, it's time for their comeback. Now if the theater were to open today, it could only accommodate about 500 people. Organizers are hoping that number increases by July. They say no matter what happens, when those performers hit the stage, it will be a true celebration. And we certainly can't wait. Reporting live from Central Park, Aundrea Cline-Thomas, CBS 2 News.

DANA TYLER: Aundrea, thank you.