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Central Park

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Romeo and Juliet

History

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found postedwithin the park.

This bronze piece in front of the Delacorte Theater depicts the doomed lovers of celebrated playwright and poet William Shakespeare’s (1564–1616) tragic play Romeo and Juliet. One of two companion pieces sculpted by Milton Hebald (1917–2015) and unveiled in 1977, the piece is a gift of publisher and philanthropist George T. Delacorte (1894–1991). He donated the Delacorte Theater, which is best known for its free Shakespeare productions that play each summer. Hebald’s other piece at the site, The Tempest (1966), commemorates the Shakespeare play of the same name.

Delacorte’s many gifts to the City include the Alice-in-Wonderland statue (1959) and the Delacorte Clock (1965) in Central Park, as well as fountains in Bowling Green Park (1977) and Columbus Circle (1965). As founder of Dell Books, Delacorte published comic books of popular animated characters such as Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, and Walt Disney’s Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Pluto. As his fortune grew, Delacorte began to give gifts to Central Park. It is said that the image of the Mad Hatter in the Alice-in-Wonderland sculpture is a portrait of the donor himself.

The Delacorte Theater, which opened in 1962, is the permanent home of Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival. The theater’s opening performance was The Merchant of Venice, directed by Papp and featuring George C. Scott, James Earl Jones, and William Devane. Sculptor Hebald also created the bust of opera star Richard Tucker (1979) across from Lincoln Center. In 1985 the Central Park Conservancy conserved the sculpture, which is maintained by the Conservancy through an endowment established by Mr. Delacorte’s heirs.

 

Romeo and Juliet Details

  • Location: Near entrance of Delacorte Theater
  • Sculptor: Milton Hebald
  • Description: Over life-size group of two figures on pedestal
  • Materials: Bronze and granite
  • Cast: 1978
  • Foundry: Spartaco Dionesi Foundry, Rome
  • Donor: George T. Delacorte

Please note, the NAME field includes a primary designation as well as alternate namingsoften in common or popular usage. The DEDICATED field refers to the most recent dedication, most often, butnot necessarily the original dedication date. If the monument did not have a formal dedication, the yearlisted reflects the date of installation.

For more information, please contact Art & Antiquities at (212) 360-8143

Directions to Central Park

Know Before You Go

There are currently 3 service interruptions affecting access within this park.

ParkCentral Park

Beginning June 27, 2018, Central Park will become entirely car-free. The Central Park transverse roads at 97th, 86th, 79th and 65th Streets will remain open to motor vehicles.

Nature CentersBelvedere Castle Visitor Center

Beginning Monday, February 26, Belvedere Castle will be closed for restoration. The castle will reopen to the public in 2019. To reach our Urban Park Rangers at Central Park, please call (212) 360-1444.

ParkCentral Park

Beginning Monday, February 26, Belvedere Castle will be closed for restoration. The surrounding plaza and terrace remain open, but will also close in the coming weeks. The Belvedere will reopen to the public in 2019. For more information on the restoration of Belvedere Castle, please visit Central Park Conservancy's website.

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