By MARK KENNEDY
NEW YORK — Jesse Tyler Ferguson is heading from modern to classic — the “Modern Family” star is going to star this summer in William Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” in Central Park.
The Public Theater announced Tuesday that Ferguson will play Dromio opposite Hamish Linklater’s Antipholus for five weeks at the Delacorte Theatre starting May 28. Daniel Sullivan will direct.
Ferguson is no stranger to playing Shakespeare in the park, having starred in “A Winter’s Tale” there in 2010 and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in 2007. He and Linklater will play two sets of identical brothers, all equally clueless that their twins are in town and causing confusion.
Linklater, who played opposite both Julia Louis Dreyfus on “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and Alan Rickman on Broadway in Theresa Rebeck’s “Seminar,” was also in that production of “A Winter’s Tale.” He also appeared in “The Merchant of Venice” in the park in 2010 with Al Pacino and is currently in the series “The Newsroom.” He said he can’t wait to return to the Delacorte Theatre.
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“I love it there. I want to act in a big outdoor space where people pay by lining up — they pay with their time instead of their money,” Linklater said recently during an interview to discuss his play “The Vandal,” a moody meditation on death currently playing at The Flea Theater. “It’s just the best audience. It’s the closest you’re ever going to get to whatever Shakespeare must have had.”
The second show in the Public Theater’s free Shakespeare in the Park series will be a new musical adaptation of “Love’s Labour’s Lost, directed and adapted by Alex Timbers with songs by Michael Friedman, a founding associate artist of The Civilians. That begins July 23 and run through Aug. 18.
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No casting was revealed. The show will mark the first musical adaptation of a Shakespeare play at the Delacorte since “Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Musical” premiered there in 1971.
Timbers and Friedman recently collaborated on the Broadway musical “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.” Timbers’ other credits include co-directing “Peter and the Starcatcher” and helming “The Pee-wee Herman Show.”
The Delacorte opened in Central Park in 1962 with “The Merchant of Venice” starring George C. Scott. Since then, there have been more than 150 productions, usually two each summer, featuring stars such as James Earl Jones, Kevin Kline, Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Anne Hathaway. More than 5 million people have attended over the five decades.
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