Category Archives: Theater in Central Park

“Do You Know How That Feels? To Be Part Of A Community?”


Turning Chaos Into Theater, With a Cast of 200

Tempest in the City:

A new Public Theater production

of Shakespeare’s

“The Tempest”

debuts on Sept. 6

and features more than 200 actors,

only 6 professional.

New York Times

N. Y. / Region Section


“’The Tempest,’

which will be at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park on Sept. 6-8,

is the first production of Public Works,

an effort by the Public Theater to open its stages to New Yorkers

who may feel excluded from the theater world.

Tickets are free, first come first served.

The cast includes more than 200 people from five community organizations

and seven independent performing groups —


a gospel choir,

(My sister’s choir:

Middle Church Jerriese Johnson Gospel Choir, 

based in New York’s East Village)

 Mexican folk dancers,

Japanese taiko drummers,

a gypsy brass band

and a bubble-blower.

On this day,

the second rehearsal,

the room looked more like an exercise in fear.

Dancers on this day,

more than 90 of them,

are former offenders,

nannies, teenagers, children and senior citizens

from five organizations in all five boroughs.

The production,

which will also include six professional actors,

is an experiment in community,

said Oskar Eustis,

the Public Theater’s artistic director.

Public Works began two years ago,

out of a series of conversations

between Mr. Eustis

and the director Lear deBessonet.

‘She has a missionary zeal,’

The production has some unique concerns.

Some cast members had unstable housing or health problems.

Nannies’ employers needed them to work during rehearsal times;

cellphone numbers changed

and phones went dead.

“When I wake up in the morning, my list begins,

‘Does everyone have a ride to rehearsal?’ 

One of the dancers said

he couldn’t wait to get to rehearsal.

‘From where I came from to now,

it’s totally different,

like darkness to light,’

he said.

‘You have people from all walks of life,

but we’re all as one family.

I’m not looked at

because I come from the Fortune Society

(which provides support for former prisoners)

and have a criminal record,



stay away from him.

I’m looked at as a regular human being.

I look forward to coming here, man.

I look more forward to this than anything.

And that’s what I love about it.

Do you know how that feels?

Do you know how that feels,

to be a part of something that is a community?'”


It feels like God’s love!

To read John Leland’s entire news article and to see the video, go to: