New York's Public Theater Marks 50 Years New York is celebrating 50 years of the Public Theater. What Joe Papp started in a church basement on the Lower East Side became one of the most important theater companies in the world.
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New York's Public Theater Marks 50 Years

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New York's Public Theater Marks 50 Years

New York's Public Theater Marks 50 Years

New York's Public Theater Marks 50 Years

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This summer, New York City and the theater community are celebrating 50 years of the Public Theater. What began in a church basement on the Lower East Side became one of the most important theater companies in the world.

The theater was started by a young stage manager, Joseph Papp. Today, it may be best known for presenting free Shakespeare in Central Park every summer. But you may not remember that the Public is responsible for creating for such award-winning productions as That Championship Season, Sticks and Bones, Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk and A Chorus Line.

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is presenting an exhibition commemorating the theater, A Community of Artists: 50 Years of the Public Theater. Jeff Lunden has an appreciation.

Kevin Kline as 'Hamlet'

Watch a scene from the 1990 Public Theater production.

Joseph Papp, founder of the Public Theater, in 1961. George E. Joseph hide caption

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George E. Joseph