A Look Inside Rehearsal of Merry Wives at the Public Theater

Rehearsals are underway for Jocelyn Bioh’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Public Theater. Helmed by Associate Artistic Director and Resident Director Saheem Ali, the production is scheduled to begin performances July 6 at the Delacorte, marking the return of Shakespeare in the Park following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Set in South Harlem amidst a community of West African immigrants, Merry Wives is billed as “a celebration of Black joy, laughter, and vitality.”

The all-Black production stars Abena as Anne Page, Shola Adewusi as Mama Quickly, Gbenga Akinnagbe as Mister Nduka Ford, Pascale Armand as Madam Ekua Page, MaYaa Boateng as Fenton/Simple, Phillip James Brannon as Pastor Evans, Jacob Ming-Trent as Falstaff, Joshua Echebiri as Slender/Pistol, Julian Rozzell Jr. as Shallow, Kyle Scatliffe as Mister Kwame Page, David Ryan Smith as Doctor Caius, and Susan Kelechi Watson as Madam Nkechi Ford alongside ensemble members Brandon E. Burton, Branden Lindsay, Ebony Marshall-Oliver, Jarvis D. Matthews, and Jennifer Mogbock.

Merry Wives will feature scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Dede Ayite, lighting design by Jiyoun Chang, sound design by Kai Harada and Palmer Hefferan, hair, wigs, and makeup design by Cookie Jordan, original music by Michael Thurber, original drum compositions by Farai Malianga, fight direction by Rocío Mendez, choreography by Darrell Grand Moultrie, and sound system design by Jessica Paz. Narda E. Alcorn will serve as production stage manager.

The weekly digital lottery for tickets to the free, outdoor production began June 29. For tickets and more information, visit PublicTheater.org.