This year, NYC’s Shakespeare in the Park will feature not one, but TWO Shakespeare plays. This means a few things: Twice as many all-star cast members, including but not limited to the beautiful Lily Rabe, and Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Double the number of nights you have a chance to catch Willy Shakespeare’s timeless tales performed at the Delacorte. And two times the number of chances you have to win FREE Shakespeare in the Park tickets. So, without further adieu, let me introduce the shows.

Shakespeare in the Park 2015

The Tempest

Free at the Delacorte from May 27th- July 5th
Starring: Jordan Barrow, Louis Cancelmi, Francesca Carpanini, Nicholas Christopher, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Chloe Fox, Rosharra Francis, Thomas Gibbons, Frank Harts, Sunny Hitt, Brandon Kalm, Olga Karmansky, Tamika Sonja Lawrence, Rico Lebron, Danny Mastrogiorgio, Tim Nicolai, Matthew Oaks, Charles Parnell, Chris Perfetti, Rodney Richardson, Laura Shoop, Cotter Smith, Sam Waterston, and Bernard White
Directed by: Michael Greif
In this timeless classic, Shakespeare makes a case for young love, forgiveness, fate, and the power of story-telling. Prospero, formerly the Duke of Milan, embraces the sway of Fortune once he sees that his brother Antonio–and conspirator Alonso–are attempting to cross the volatile sea. With the powers endowed to him, Prospero shipwrecks his brother, spiraling into action his plot for revenge. Miranda, Prospero’s daughter, lays eyes upon one of the shipwrecked men, and instantly develops a crush. With the guiding hand of Prospero, The Tempest unfolds, and all is to be revealed. This Shakespeare in the Park performance may not be ideal for children, as there is some profanity, and some heavy plot twists. But for those who love Shakespeare, you know The Tempest is a prized, and miraculous work. Don’t miss out on seeing it be brought to life at the Delacorte this summer.


Free at the Delacorte from July 23rd- August 23rd
Starring: Teagle F. Bougere, Kate Burton, Raúl Esparza, David Furr, Hamish Linklater, Jacob Ming-Trent, Patrick Page, Lily Rabe, Steven Skybell
Directed by: Daniel Sullivan
What happens when your dad banishes your true love, forcing you into marriage with an unworthy counterpart? This play includes villains, swordfights, cross dressing girls, and cross dressing boys: your typical Shakespearean performance. Cymbeline, King of Britain, married into the wrong family for both himself and his beautiful daughter Princess Imogen. But instead of abiding her father’s promise to wed the detestable Cloten, she promises herself to Posthumus Leonatus, her one true love. Through family and foe, the lovers must find a way back together, without unveiling their secret identities. Cymbeline, out of the two Shakespeare in the Park plays, is more “family friendly”, as the plot line is easier to understand. So bring the little ones! They’ll absolutely love it.

*Both shows, typically, run for 2.5 hours long*

How to Win Free Shakespeare in the Park Tickets

There are five ways to win free Shakespeare in the Park Tickets. This is slightly different from last year, though much of the Public Theater policy remains the same. Here are the five ways in which you can win free tickets to see The Tempest, or Cymbeline, this summer.

Rushing, or Free Ticket Distribution in the Park


Free Shakespeare in the Park tickets will be distributed every afternoon before the performance at 12PM in the Free Lines at Delacorte Theater. This is done in the standard rushing style, aka, first come first serve. According to the Shakespeare in the Park website, the line for free tickets can start even before the park opens (so before 6AM). The website also suggests getting to the line no later than 10AM, but we would suggest being there much earlier than that. We would say arriving to the line at 7AM is your best bet at getting tickets.

[Here’s a Tip: If you can afford it, there are professional line sitters who you can pay to do the heavy lifting for you. So if you’re one of those who can’t get out of bed before the sun comes up, then hiring some help may be the solution for you.]

There will be three separate lines for free Shakespeare in the Park tickets: General, Senior, and Accessible. These different lines are meant to help those with special needs/accommodations receive proper tickets for the show. Otherwise, seat locations are distributed randomly, and are not dependent on your place in line. Each person who stands in line (ages 5+) will receive two ticket vouchers until each one has been distributed. Then, once vouchers are distributed, those lucky few have to show up at the theater between 5PM and 7PM to exchange their voucher for a ticket. Entrance will not be granted with the voucher alone.

Our parting words of advice for rushing free Shakespeare in the Park tickets? Don’t show up empty handed. Four (or more) hours is a long time to wait. Any native New Yorker will tell you to prepare for ravenous hunger, fatigue, and rain. So bring plenty of snacks, your trusty umbrella, and a cheap lawn chair to save yourself from everything that makes rushing such a tedious process. Think you’re up for it? We hope so. Because if free Shakespeare in the Park tickets isn’t worth it, we don’t know what is.

Outer Borough Distribution

The Public Theater has issued a number of dates where ticket seekers can “rush” in the outer boroughs. So, same rules apply for this ticket distribution as it does for the rushing rules in Central Park. First come first serve, two vouchers per ticket, and the vouchers must be redeemed between 5PM-7PM at the Delacorte Theater. The only difference is that in these distribution centers, the line will only be open from 12PM to 2PM, but as always, we suggest getting there much earlier. Here is a list of the following free Shakespeare in the Park outer borough locations and distribution dates [ATTN: Dates to obtain free tickets for The Tempest have already passed]:

Free tickets to CYMBELINE:

Wednesday, July 29 – Staten Island
Snug Harbor Cultural Center
1000 Richmond Terrace

Thursday, July 30 – Bronx
1085 Washington Avenue

Friday, July 31 – Brooklyn
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
145 Brooklyn Avenue

Saturday, August 1 – Queens
Queens Museum
New York City Building, Flushing Meadows – Corona Park

Downtown Distribution Lottery at Astor Place

This year, The Public Theater is offering a second in-person lottery distribution downtown at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street at Astor Place. This lottery works slightly different, and isn’t dependent on your place in line. Instead, the lottery will open for sign-up at 11:30, with tickets being randomly chosen at noon. You must be physically present in order to receive tickets. If selected, the same rules apply as they do for the other lottery distributions.

Free Virtual Ticket Lottery

The second, although less guaranteed way of obtaining free Shakespeare in the Park tickets is through the Virtual Ticket Lottery. This method is much easier, and just requires a quick  Registration to Virtual Ticketing  in order to enter the lottery. Alike to rushing, each person who enters the lottery is eligible for two free Shakespeare in the Park tickets. You will only be able to enter the lottery the day of the performance starting at midnight up until noon (there will be separate lotteries for Senior and Handicap Accessible tickets, much like the separate free lines for rushing). Then, once the lottery is closed, an e-mail will be sent to you if you were chosen to receive tickets.

Once you are selected, it is very important that you pick up your tickets between the designated hours of 5PM and 7PM. If you haven’t picked up your tickets by 7PM, they will be released again to be distributed in the Stand-by line.


The Stand-By Line

This line, for all extensive purposes, is your last shot at receiving free Shakespeare in the Park tickets. If all else fails, the stand-by line will start being monitored by Public Theater staff at 6PM. Free standby tickets will be distributed if and when they become available, 1 per person.

Check out the Full Calendar for Shakespeare in the Park to determine which date will work best for you. The next performance of The Tempest is tomorrow, June 19th, at 8PM. We at TickPick wish you all the luck we can give in hopes that you will turn up with free tickets to Shakespeare in the Park.

Things to Know Once You have Free Tickets to Shakespeare in the Park

The Tempest1. You may bring food and drink into the Delacorte Theater, but they ask that you don’t bring in any glass containers. Feel free to arrive early and have a picnic before the show! There is also an outdoor cafe called Public Fare that offers a menu that is both adult (beer and wine available) and kid friendly.

2. The Delacorte Theater will open approximately 30 minutes before the show (all performances will start at 8PM). To ensure that you are settled into your seats in due time without causing a disruption, arrive early. And be sure that if you are picking up tickets from the Box Office through the Virtual Lottery, that you do so between 5PM-7PM.

3. The Public Theater is very much a “rain or shine” company. If there is a chance of rain, the show will go on, even through a light drizzle. Although, umbrellas during performances are NOT allowed, so if you pick a bad weather day to attend the show (which would greatly increase your chances of obtaining free Shakespeare in the Park tickets), make sure you have a poncho at the ready. If weather gets really bad, they will take a break for the storm to pass, and then continue through it. Tickets for weather cancellations are non-refundable.

4. You are lucky. Every year, tens of thousands of people line up to receive free Shakespeare in the Park tickets, but only a few are chosen. The Delacorte theater is one of the most popular outdoor performance spots in the city. Many great actors have crossed that sacred stage. And to think, you’re about to see one of the hottest NYC summer events for free.

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