By Lore Croghan
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? And what a window.
Shakespeare's new Downtown Brooklyn home now shines for all the world to see. The construction fence that forever hid the Bard's own Theatre for a New Audience has been taken down as workers prep the BAM Cultural District's new playhouse for its Oct. 19 debut.
That's when the theater – which was itinerant for three decades with performances in rented Manhattan venues – will start previews of “A Midsummer Night's Dream.”
Inside, workers are readying the lobby. Outside, they're installing seating and planting trees in the Ashland Place Arts Plaza that will become a neighborhood gathering place outside the first classical theater to be built in New York City since the Vivian Beaumont in 1965.
In recent days, they hung the playhouse's proper name over the front entrance: Polonsky Shakespeare Center, in honor of a generous $10 million gift from the Polonsky Foundation.
The construction is part of a neighborhood-wide campaign to build new cultural venues and housing.
A word to fans of TV hit “Homeland”: CIA big David Estes (AKA heart-throb actor David Harewood) will come back to life after being killed off in the series – to play Oberon. Kathryn Hunter, whom “Harry Potter” movie fans know as Mrs. Arabella Figg, will be the fairy king's mischievous servant Puck.
Tina Benko, who wowed Off-Broadway audiences as former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the one-woman play “Jackie,” takes the role of fairy queen Titania. Bottom will be played by Max Casella; the “Boardwalk Empire” and “Sopranos” actor was in the original Broadway cast of “The Lion King,” whose visionary director Julie Taymor is directing “A Midsummer Night's Dream.”