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The Final Performances of Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, Presenting Twelfth Night

Image of two male actors pretending to fight with a large audience at Shakespeare in a Parking Lot

For two decades now the Drilling Company theater group has been putting on one of NYC's great summer traditions, the brilliantly conceived Shakespeare In the Parking Lot. Staged in a fully functioning municipal lot on the Lower East Side (yes, cars come and go during the show, though fewer than you might think), these performances not only offer Shakespeare lovers a novel and welcome counterpoint to the celebrity-studded, "uptown fancy" Central Park shows, but they are usually pretty terrific in and of themselves. 

Close up of a female actress wearing a bathing suit and a towel in character, while the audience in the background watches intently

The Sad News

This is the last year EVER for Shakespeare In the Parking Lot. The redevelopment/urban renewal project that the city's been trying to get started for years–it's currently known as Essex Crossing, and incorporates nine large sites along and around Delancey Street–will finally begin next spring. So even if the Drilling Company could once again come up with the DOT's newly-imposed fees, there won't actually be a parking lot on this spot anymore. So this is it! You have this weekend, Thursday through Saturday, July 17 to 19, and next weekend. Then Shakespeare In the Parking Lot, in its current iteration, is dunzo.

The Good News

This summer's Shakespeare In the Parking Lot production is of Twelfth Night, my personal favorite of the Bard's comedies (also: As You Like It), and appropriately kind of bittersweet for this final go-round. And although I haven't been to Twelfth Night yet (this weekend though!), the four or five plays I've seen over the years here have all been delightful, creatively staged, well-acted, guerrilla-ish-theater fun. Note: there are a limited number of chairs available for each performance, so unless you can handle sitting on asphalt for two and a half hours, either arrive early (half an hour usually does it), or bring your own. 

At the Twelfth Night Shakespeare performance one actor is in a blue box with bars on the window while another wears a purple dress.

More Information: The Final Shakespeare in the Parking Lot

For its final Shakespeare In the Parking Lot season, The Drilling Company will be Twelfth Night for two more weekends only. Performances are on Thursday through Saturday at 8:00, July 17 to 19, and then again on July 24 to 26. The parking lot is on the corner of Ludlow and Broome Streets. All shows are free, seating is first-come, first-served.

Back for 2015, Shakespeare In the Parking Lot has relocated, but continues to bring theatre to a colloquial street venue.  

All photos courtesy Lee Wexler/Images for Innovation and Drilling Company.

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