The best things in life come to those who wait.
Shakespeare in the Park‘s production of Sondheim’s Into the Woods was well worth the five-hour wait for the tickets. Every year The Public Theater offers two different productions of free plays to the public. This summer they presented As You Like It and Into the Woods. Tickets are available through different means. Most of the seats are free (or very inexpensive). Although there is an online lottery system available for the free tickets, waiting in person is quite a New York experience.
My friend and I got in line at about 8:30 yesterday morning. We prepared ourselves for a long wait, but there were several hundred people (not an exaggeration) who had been in line a lot longer. As I was walking to the end of the line, I passed several people who had spent the night waiting in line. They were still fast asleep in sleeping bags on air mattresses. I even saw that some local businesses were willing to deliver food and drinks to people in line. Smart!
We passed the time chatting and catching up, playing cards, and then she took a nap, while I did a little work. The staff at Shakespeare in the Park did a good job of managing the line. At several times during the wait, the staff drove up in little golf carts to pick up trash from the people waiting in line. They also came over to give announcements and to enforce the rules. We got into line just in the nick of time because sometime during the mid-morning, they announced that the section of the line that we were in were guaranteed tickets to see the show. The section just after us (there were only three people behind us) were told that they were in the stand-by section.
At 1 o’clock the line started moving and at 1:30, we got our tickets! We were so excited. I felt like Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when he found the golden ticket.
Delacourt Theater is an outdoor amphitheater in Central Park and it was a great setting for Into the Woods. It was such a magical production. Amy Adams was a treat, but the real star of the show was Donna Murphy. Her voice was amazing and much of the drama and energy came from her character, Evil Witch. I liked some of the changes that they made to production, namely the narrator being a little boy and having the play begin and end with him and his relationship with his father. I thought this tied themes of the story-within-a-story to the set up. Some other things, like the ratty wigs, I simply didn’t get (and I wasn’t the only one). I had seen this show when I was young and I remembered enjoying it greatly. As an adult, I loved it even more. I had completely missed all of the sexual innuendos as a kid and I have a greater appreciation of the cleverness of the lyrics.
I was enchanted with Into the Woods. I was definitely happy and grateful that my friend had suggested that we go out and try to get tickets. Getting tickets to Shakespeare in the Park was always one of those things that I had meant to do, but never got around doing. While waiting in line for the tickets is a great time commitment, it was well worth the time and I would happily do this again next summer. I definitely recommend that anyone who loves theater sees a Shakespeare in the Park production.