Craving More Free Theater

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park. Is there a greater gift to New York and to theater-lovers in our great city than the free productions every summer in Central Park's Delacorte Theater? If only more theater companies, both for-profit and non-profit, embraced the mission of offering free performances to the masses and spreading appreciation of the theatrical arts.

This season includes William Shakespeare's As You Like It, which The New York Times and others have already praised as one of the finest interpretations of the Bard's beloved comedy. It stars Lily Rabe as Rosalind, Andre Bauer as both the villainous Duke Frederick and the saintly Duke Senior, and with music by Steve Martin! The play runs through June 30 so this is your last week to see it.

Next up will be the musical Into the Woods, which runs from July 23 through August 25, 2012. The awesome Amy Adams plays the Baker's Wife in the tale that answers the question what happens after "happily ever after?"

What a great season! My only wish is that there were more performances and more chances to see these great outdoor productions.  Tickets are free, but you need to get them the same day as the show, no advance reservations. Luckily, the Public Theater offers a couple of options for getting the tix -- you can either do it in person or sign up for an online lottery (again, the day of the show you want to see). So it's a gamble, and if you don't win the free tickets I hope you have other backup plans for the night, (and pray it doesn't rain), but you still can't beat seeing such amazing theater for free in such an excellent outdoor venue.