Shakespeare In the Parking Lot – Richard III


Sheri Graubert plays Margaret in Richard III. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.
Sheri Graubert plays Margaret in Richard III. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Free admission (all visitors, all hours)

Where? Municipal Parking Lot at the corner of Ludlow and Broome Streets, Manhattan. (Subways: F to Delancey Street, walk one block south.)

To commemorate the bones of Richard III being found in an English parking lot, The Drilling Company will present Shakespeare’s tragedy of the crook-back king August 1 to 17 in the Municipal Parking Lot at the corner of Ludlow and Broome Streets. Richard III is the concluding production of the 2013 season of Shakespeare in the Parking Lot. Hamilton Clancy, artistic director, will direct and Alessandro Colla will be featured as the king.

The production is dedicated to the memory of the late Richard A. Harden (d. 2011), a director of The Drilling Company who loved theater that posed political questions. He had been intent on directing “Richard III” in the Parking Lot. When the skeleton of the actual Richard III was unearthed in Leicester in February, “It made it obvious that all the signs were pointing to doing it this year,” says Hamilton Clancy. The challenge, then, was “how ‘Richard III’ would be politically meaningful to us now.”

The company was inspired to interpret the play as a reflection of the political tides of conflict that are sweeping through our government centers now. “The current climate is as acrimonious as the War of the Roses,” maintains Clancy. The impulse was to interpret the play as a sort of modern political fable. That view, and the resultant yearning for political reunification, was also front-and-center when the company chose to do “Cymbeline” this season (July 11 to 27), a play that portrays a divided world that is magically healed. For more info, visit:

Recently, there has been a re-examination of Richard III’s legacy, with academics pointing out exaggerations and false claims made about him since the Tudor era. Has this modified the Drilling Company’s interpretation? Hamilton Clancy explains, “We are not contesting the play’s nature as a melodrama of glitter and violence, but we are focusing on how Richard’s character helped force the political power shift of his time and how his political opportunism furthered his own personal destiny. That has incredible resonance today as we view our modern political figures.” Richard was, above all, a political animal. One of his first acts–the keystone of his “contract”–was to outlaw unpopular taxes, yet his largesse bankrupted the realm and he needed special taxes the next year. He eliminated political opponents ruthlessly. Cloaking all his actions in the guise of morality, he staged his prayers and surrounded himself publicly with clergymen. He stifled dissent through censorship and had one satiric poet killed. Does any of this sound familiar?

Richard will be played by Alessandro Colla, who played Hamlet in the Parking Lot in 2011 and who played the Woyzeck character in the Drilling Company’s production of “Reservoir” by Eric Henry Sanders in 2010. Coincidentally, Colla is the height that Richard III’s bones suggest he was.

The cast also includes Sheri Graubert as Margaret, Kristin Johannsen as the Duchess of York, Veronica Cruz as Elizabeth, Arash Mokhtar as Buckingham, Aaron Scott as Clarence, Leila Okafor as Anne, Bill Green as Edward, Paul Guskin as Hastings, Valerie Redd as Stanley, Shane Mitchell as Rivers, Jenna Bosco as Catesby, Rachel Weekley as Prince Edward, Michael Bernstein as Grey, Lauren Young as Catesby, Ayo Oneke Cummings a Murderer, Vince Reese as Tyrrell and Joe Clancy as The Boy. Set design is by Jen Varbalow.

As a prequel, the company hopes to perform an essay from the New Yorker (rights pending) by Ian Frasier in which Richard III is arguing for a parking spot.

Director Hamilton Clancy staged “Merry Wives of Windsor” and “Coriolanus” in the parking lot last summer, “Julius Caesar” in 2010 and “Hamlet” in 2011. He staged The Drilling Company’s much-acclaimed production of “Reservoir,” a modern adaptation of “Woyzeck” by Eric Henry Sanders, in the 2010-2011 season at in The Drilling Company’s intimate theater at 236 West 78th Street. He played Tor this Spring in The Drilling Company’s crackpot comedy, “The Norwegians” by C. Denby Swanson, which be re-mounted by The Drilling Company as an Off-Broadway production October 2 to 27 in its intimate black box theater at 236 West 78th Street.

In over 20 years, there have been over 50 productions of Shakespeare’s plays for over 40,000 patrons in the Municipal Parking Lot at Ludlow and Broome Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

The plays are presented in a working parking lot, so you can drive there but you should expect to pay the Muni-meter.

Why a parking lot? The Drilling Company’s founding artistic director Hamilton Clancy writes, “It is a tremendously accessible gathering place in the heart of the city. Like most companies that do Shakespeare we are following the spirit of Joseph Papp. But putting our own spin on it by placing it in a parking lot, making an urban wrinkle.”

Shows are offered while the lot is in use. The action sometimes happens around a parked car which drives away during a performance. At such times, the players stop and the audience moves its chairs, pausing the performance the same way a show would stop for rain uptown in Central Park. It’s all part of the fun.

Seats are available on a first come first serve basis, with audience members often arriving as early as 7 pm to secure a place. You are encouraged and welcome to bring your own chair. Once seats are gone, blankets are spread out. “We’ve never turned anyone away and there’s never a wait for tickets!” brags Clancy.


Municipal Parking Lot

Corner of Ludlow and Broome Streets

New York, NY 10013

About this organization

Drilling CompaNY Theatre

Inspired by great jazz artists of the 1950s, The Drilling CompaNY discovers, develops and produces new works by emerging American playwrights that represent a diverse community of ideas and cultures.


Thu08:00 pm
Fri08:00 pm
Sat08:00 pm

Where? Municipal Parking Lot at the corner of Ludlow and Broome Streets. (Subways: F to Delancey Street, walk one block south.)