The Public Theater celebrated its annual gala on September 20, concluding the tour of its Shakespeare in the Park production of Happy wives. The Queens, Jane Krakowski, Neil Patrick Harris and others were part of the celebration of the famous Off-Broadway theater company.
The annual Public Theater gala honored the late Joe Papp, founder of The Public and former artistic director who reportedly celebrated his 100th birthday in June. The evening also honored Vivian Jett Brown, a member of the public works community, with the first annual community leadership award.
Step into the annual Public Theater Gala with your queens, Jane Krakowski and more
Shakespeare’s production in the park Happy wives officially opened at the Delacorte Theater on August 9. Adapted by Jocelyn Bioh, the show reinvents Shakespeare’s work The Merry Wives of Windsor as a celebration of the joy, laughter and vitality of black people in South Harlem amid a community of West African immigrants. Led by Associate Artistic Director and Resident Director Saheem Ali, the production marked the return of Shakespeare in the Park after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The all-black production starred Abena as Anne Page, Gbenga Akinnagbe as Mister Nduka Ford, Pascale Armand as Madame Ekua Page, MaYaa Boateng as Fenton / Simple, Phillip James Brannon as Pastor Evans, Joshua Echebiri as Slendor / Pistol, Angela Grovey as Mama Quickly, Jacob Ming-Trent as Falstaff, Jennifer Mogbock as Madame Nkecki Ford, Julian Rozzell Jr. as Shallow, Kyle Scatliffe as Mister Kwame Page, David Ryan Smith as Dr. Caius with ensemble members Brandon E. Burton, Branden Lindsay, Zonya Love, Jarvis D. Matthews, and Sarin Monae West.
Happy wives featuring stage design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Dede Ayite, lighting design by Jiyoun Chang, sound design by Kai Harada and Palmer Hefferan, hair, wig and makeup design by Cookie Jordan, the original music by Michael Thurber, original drum compositions by Farai Malianga, combat direction by Rocío Mendez, choreography by Darrell Grand Moultrie and sound system design by Jessica Paz. Narda E. Alcorn served as production manager.
It was previously announced that the production was filmed for PBS ‘ Great performance series.