New York | 1h 40m | Already closed

The Winter's Tale (Mobile Shakespeare Unit)

From 10 critic and 29 member reviews
Members say: Entertaining, Great acting, Delightful, Absorbing, Great staging

About the show

The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit presents Shakespeare's late romance about the scourge of jealousy and the power of forgiveness. More…

Dire misunderstanding changes the course of destiny when King Leontes becomes convinced that his wife is pregnant with his friend’s child. The maligned wife perishes, the accused friend flees, and the cursed infant is left to die alone on the shore. But from the depths of tragedy, wondrous things can occur. What’s lost is found, false identities lead to true love, and the miracle of forgiveness brings new life to the world in one of Shakespeare’s most treasured romances.

As part of the Public Theater's Mobile unit, this production tours to community centers, prisons, and homeless shelters throughout New York’s boroughs, before ending its run at the Public.

1h 40m | Already closed | Public Theater (East Village)

Theatre's Leiter Side

“Audiences…will have no problem appreciating this thoroughly enjoyable, excellently spoken revival, from which numerous characters…have been excised with little damage…While the play introduces several thoughtful themes, its several illogicalities, exaggerations, and far-fetched developments require a particular lightness of touch…All this is accomplished far more successfully in this production than many more elaborate, star-studded productions.” Full Review


“Evans directs a tight ensemble of nine through the story of paranoia, distrust, and ultimate redemption...Scene transitions are smoothed over with lulling musical interludes...Evans follows up the play's first three acts of dour drama with refreshingly light comedic direction...Bargain basement meets refined Shakespeare, and it's that joyful combination that makes ‘The Winter's Tale’ not only something everyone can see, but something everyone should see.” Full Review


"When it comes to classical theater this holiday season, this 'Winter's Tale' may well be the best theater bargain in New York...Like all Mobile Unit productions, the most remarkable feature here is that it proves how little we need to put on a satisfying Shakespeare production...The outstanding performances of the entire cast make this 'Winter's Tale' something to brag about...Stripped of theatrical embellishments, the message of the play inevitably becomes clearer." Full Review

Front Row Center

“An intelligently abridged interpretation...Evans has skillfully focused her adaptation on the essentials of the narrative to tell this rich story in a short time without sacrificing its complexity...The cast is consistently strong, both as an ensemble and individually...Modernizing a great play can sometimes fall flat but there is no danger of that here. Shakespeare’s work is relevant, and made all the more approachable in this excellent production.” Full Review

Show Showdown

"It's a lovely evening in the theater, if not quite Shakespeare's version of the play; I suspect Shakespeare would enjoy it...The Mobile Unit chooses to focus mostly on the fun...The rest of cast is also impressive, full of energy, acting talent, and beautiful singing voices...'The Winter's Tale' is smoothly directed by Lee Sunday Evans, with great imagination and humor. Catch it if you can--free Shakespeare, well-done, is a beautiful thing." Full Review


“Evans directs a straightforward, modern-dress production of ‘The Winter's Tale’, played by a fine ensemble...Cunningham makes a powerful presence as King Leontes of Sicilia...Comical breaks in the serious drama are supplied by Grant and Grollman, who play a pair of shepherds...Also adding a bit of lightness is having Leontes and Hermione's son, Mamillius, represented by a charming puppet.” Full Review

The Huffington Post

"What’s always remarkable about the Mobil Unit’s result is how lively, how energetic it always is—and how often, how creative and how musical Shakespeare can be made. That’s to say excited commitment overrules any deficiencies in acting refinement or text shrinkage...Perhaps the best praise that can be accorded the Mobile Unit is: Each production—often presented before first-time Shakespeare audiences—wins over new Shakespeare fans." Full Review


“This production, deftly directed by Evans, is a good introduction to theater in general, and Shakespeare in particular...In spite of the language, the action of the play is easy to follow and the performances are solid...The gravity and insanity of the first half of ‘The Winter’s Tale’ can seem out of balance with the levity of the second half. But then the ultimate renewal takes place in the form of a resurrection that makes all that can be made right again.” Full Review

Stage Buddy

“Bare-bones and youthful production...Not Shakespeare’s best by any stretch but the Mobile Unit does a fine job of making it fresh and fun. They incorporate a couple of well-crafted puppets and some really good original music...The point of the Mobile Unit is to reach as much of underserved New York City as possible and make art and culture accessible to all. And with that lofty goal, they have succeeded.” Full Review

The New York Times

"This 'Winter’s Tale' works less well than some previous efforts. That is partly because of the play itself, a peculiar romance that asks you to suspend your disbelief...In Lee Sunday Evans’s bare-bones staging, there doesn’t seem to be enough time — or maybe enough directorial imagination — to register fully the abrupt changes in tone, from tragedy to farce to something more numinous." Full Review

Great staging, Intelligent, Quirky, Riveting, Relevant

See it if you love actor driven storytelling. There's puppetry and great acting! Songs come from the actors. The staging is barebones.

Don't see it if You want to see a full set/light design.

Exquisite, Enchanting, Delightful, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if love the play, you love how multi-cultural casting in a classic play can bring out latent meanings.

Don't see it if cannot suspend your disbelief sufficiently to enter what is for a good deal of the piece a "fairy tale" world.

Also I have long loved this play. I have seen at least a dozen productions.... Read more Read less

Delightful, Entertaining, Accessible, Great acting, Funny

See it if You’re not a big fan of Shakespeare, this is a very accessible production. Simply staged but very clever and fun.

Don't see it if You’re a Shakespeare purist. This is done with very little formality. They keep the language but the action is all modern.

Entertaining, Great singing, Quirky, Delightful, Fascinating

See it if you like updated and short versions of Shakespeare. You like unconventional modern day approaches to older plays.

Don't see it if you only like pure Shakespeare. You cannot accept somewhat different acting abilities.

Also The musical commentary that they used to change scenes was wonderful. ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Intelligent, Funny, Entertaining, Unique

See it if You like Shakespeare, modern twist, fast moving characters, multiple roles by one actor, fast paced, puppetry, intimate rooms

Don't see it if Hate Shakespeare, Old English, don’t like listening, impatient, original versions of plays and stories, don’t like small playhouses

Fun, Fast, Free

See it if Public mobile unit always does a great job of making WS accessible.

Don't see it if Some notably good performances. Some not so much.

Delightful, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if you can hop on this rare chance to see "A Winter's Play" and delight in seeing young people "own it."

Don't see it if you can't appreciate a bare-bones travelling production of one of Shakespeare's lesser plays

Delightful, Great acting, Great staging, Profound, Resonant

See it if you enjoy Shakespeare lite. The piece is deconstructed and reconstructed in a form that doesn't deviate from the tradition but enhances it

Don't see it if you are a strict Shakespearean

Entertaining, Great acting, Quirky, Funny, Delightful

See it if you don’t have to take your Shakespeare adaptations too seriously.

Don't see it if you’re a Shakespeare purist.

Shakespeare stripped down -- high impact

See it if Another Mobile Unit winner. Talented cast and clever staging on a small space. Some nifty quick changes. Amazing bear!

Don't see it if Purists may be put off because the character of the vagabond Autolycus (and all business connected to him) has been removed. Didn't miss it

Absorbing, Great acting, Refreshing

See it if you like streamlined Shakespeare, to see actors in their element, and hey, it's free!

Don't see it if you need lots of costumes or scenery to pull you into a play

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Relevant

See it if you love the essence of Shakespeare up close and personal. Almost bare stage. Shakespeare's characters and words are front and center.

Don't see it if you need costumes and long unabridged versions of the Bard. You have no imagination. Your first language isn't English.

Absorbing, Clever, Enchanting, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if A truly unique and creative Winter’s Tale.Bravo to an incredible addition to NYC’s cultural offerings!

Don't see it if Do not see if you dislike Shakespeare.

Delightful, Great staging

See it if you aren't familiar with Shakespeare, there are still things to appreciate. The production is accessible and moves by quickly.

Don't see it if you'd prefer to see a production more closely resembling a traditionally staged Shakespeare play.

Absorbing, Entertaining, It's shakespeare!, Well-played

See it if you love The Public Theater's Mobile Unit style of accessible Shakespeare; fine acting & some creative quirks

Don't see it if you like your Shakespeare straight-up (or not at all)

Also Justin Cunningham as King Leontes & Stacey Yen as the Queen Hermione a... Read more Read less

Delightful, Enchanting, Hilarious

See it if You enjoy a quick Shakespeare play put on in sparse surroundings by highly energetic performers

Don't see it if You'd like a complete story with dynamic characters with believable arcs

Charming, Strong acting, Modest prodn values, Well trimmed, Well staged

See it if you like clear, concise WS. Plot is easy to follow, tonal shift works better than usual. Surprisingly touching. Diverse cast! Fun! Free !

Don't see it if you hate having any WS cut. Or you need high prodn values. But you'd miss something special: a holiday gift from The Public to the public.

Also I'm a big fan of the mobile unit productions. The actors delivered WS'... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You want to see obscure and difficult Shakespeare presented simply, clearly and directly.

Don't see it if You want to see an elaborate production with fancy sets and lighting. Just the basics here.

Clever, Entertaining, Fluffy, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you want to be entertained by a creative lightweight production

Don't see it if you prefer a more classic approach

Great staging, Refreshing, Entertaining, Innovative, Great acting

See it if An intimate/immersive production, minimal props, modern costumes, great acting(esp. Christopher Ryan Grant), clever use of music/puppet

Don't see it if You prefer a full, traditional production.

Disappointing, Fluffy, Disinteresting

See it if U get the tix for free This theater company has done awesome productions, this one needs revision.

Don't see it if . The direction turns the great possibilities into boring dialogue delivery.The music & energetic moments helps to wake you up.

Entertaining, Great writing, Thought-provoking

See it if You love Shakespeare.

Don't see it if You struggle with Shakespearean English.

Also Small intimate theatre - almost theatre in the round, with a very simp... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Slow, Great acting

See it if You love the Mobile Shakespeare Unit and everything they do. Or you love The Winter's Tale.

Don't see it if You are used to the dynamic action of the MSU and will be disappointed at this version's super long winded monologues that feel stilted.

Funny, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if You want a fun free night in the theater. Bring someone who doesn't normally see plays, it's short and accessible.

Don't see it if You're a Shakespeare connoisseur who's seen a bunch of great productions of the Winter's Tale.

Clever, Great acting, Refreshing

See it if You're a fan of Shakespeare and talented actors

Don't see it if You can't get into Shakespeare

Also This was a charming, refreshing take on The Winter's Tale. It was well... Read more Read less