Public Theater



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The Public Theater is a New York City arts organization founded as The Shakespeare Workshop in 1954 by Joseph Papp, with the intention of showcasing the works of up-and-coming playwrights and performers. It is headquartered at 425 Lafayette Street in the former Astor Library in the East Village section of Lower Manhattan. The venue opened in 1967, mounting the world-premiere production of the musical Hair as its first show. It currently is led by Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Andrew D. Hamingson.
The Public Theater is known for presenting "challenging work." This has a variety of meanings, including artistic heterodoxy. It also reflects the Public Theater's role as a voice for the American social and political Left. Many of its productions are considered avant-garde and not likely to find a home in theaters catering to a mainstream audience.
In addition to five theater spaces, the site includes Joe's Pub, a cabaret-style setting used for new work, musical performances, spoken-word artists and soloists. The Public also operates the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, where it presents its free Shakespeare in the Park performances during the summer months. These Public Theater productions feature popular actors and tickets are disbursed quickly. The Public Theater also invests in theater education, training classical actors through the annual summer acting intensive known as the Shakespeare Lab. It also hosts the Under the Radar Festival, directed by Mark Russell.
The Public Theater Musical Theatre Initiative Director is Ted Sperling, named in 2008. This Public Theater program is intended to expand and develop new works for the American musical theatre.