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The Public Theater
Loz ptDSC00087.jpg
Address 425 Lafayette Street
New York City
United States
Designation New York City Landmark
Type Off-Broadway
Capacity LuEsther: 160
Martinson: 199
Shiva: 99
Newman: 299
Anspacher: 275
Opened 1967
Architect Alexander Saeltzer

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. Led by JoAnne Akalaitis from 1991 until 1993 and by George C. Wolfe from 1993 until 2004, it is currently led by Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham. The venue opened in 1967, mounting the world-premiere production of the musical Hair as its first show.

The Public is headquartered at 425 Lafayette Street in the former Astor Library in Lower Manhattan. The building holds five theater spaces and Joe's Pub, a cabaret-style venue used for new work, musical performances, spoken-word artists and soloists. The Public also operates the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, where it presents Shakespeare in the Park, one of New York City's most beloved summer traditions. New York natives and visitors alike have been enjoying free Shakespeare in Central Park since performances began in 1954.

The Public is dedicated to embracing the complexities of contemporary society and nurturing both artists and audiences, as it continues Joseph Papp's legacy of creating a place of inclusion and a forum for ideas. Notable productions in recent years include: The Merchant of Venice, featuring Al Pacino as Shylock (2010); Here Lies Love (2013), by David Byrne; Fun Home, adapted from Alison Bechdel's illustrated memoir of the same name (2013); Eclipsed, by Danai Gurira and featuring Lupita Nyong'o (2015); and Hamilton (2015), by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

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