The Public Theater’s Public Works program creates ambitious works of participatory theater in partnership with community organizations from all five boroughs of New York City. In 2015, Obie Award-winning director Lear DeBessonet and lyricist/composer Todd Almond, the team behind the acclaimed Public Works' productions of The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale, joined forces again to create a breathtaking new musical adaptation, THE ODYSSEY.
Inspired by the historical pageantry movement of the early 1900s—known for blending mass spectacle with community engagement—this final work in deBessonet and Almond’s grand trilogy reimagined the Greek epic with Public Works' signature blend of professional actors, community members and special guests. Man-eating Cyclops, a sorceress that turns sailors to beasts and the deadly sweet song of the Sirens explode onto the stage with spectacular numbers in this joyful, larger-than-life musical about finding your way home—no matter where fate may lead you.
The Public Works community partner organizations for THE ODYSSEY were Children’s Aid Society, DreamYard Project, Fortune Society, Brownsville Recreation Center, and Domestic Workers United.
THE ODYSSEY featured cameo group performances by The Bobby Lewis Ensemble, Old Bones Motorcycle Club, N.Y.C Fire Riders, M.L.C Crew, The D.R.E.A.M. Ring; Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana II; The Marching Cobras; The New York Youth Symphony; and TADA! Youth Theater.
Major support for Public Works is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the New York City Theater Subdistrict Council, and The Tow Foundation. Additional generous support is provided by the New York State Regional Economic Development Council, the New York Community Trust, The SHS Foundation, The David Rockefeller Fund, and Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, LLP.
Pictured: The Company of Public Works' The Winters Tale by Joan Marcus