To see, or not to see... with kids? That is the question when it comes to Shakespeare. While FREE outdoor mountings of the Bard's iconic plays abound in NYC every summer, some are more family-friendly than others. Yes, the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park productions in Central Park get all the press and feature big stars, but they also involve insane ticket lines and long running times, plus prickly patrons who may give you the stink eye if your child gets fidgety. Happily, lots of other local troupes put on quality, no-cost Shakespeare shows in various NYC parks. These revivals don't require tickets or reservations, are engaging and accessible, and often cut down to under two hours, so your kids have a better chance of making it all the way through (and if they don't, just leave quickly and quietly—no money wasted!).
I started taking my 9-year-old daughter to outdoor Shakespeare when she was 7, and now she's totally hooked. Here are seven FREE Shakespeare shows to enjoy with your kids this summer, plus tips on how to make the most of the experience.