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Post date: June 10 2010

Attorney General Cuomo Announces Craigslist Will Remove Advertisements Selling Free Shakespeare In The Park Tickets

NEW YORK, NY (June 10, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Craigslist will no longer allow advertisements selling Shakespeare in the Park tickets that are free to the public. Craigslist will voluntarily work with the Public Theater to help ensure that all New Yorkers have access to the limited number of tickets.

“I commend Craigslist for helping protect this cultural jewel for all New Yorkers,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “The not-for-profit Public Theater provides Shakespeare for all regardless of ability to pay. Selling tickets that are meant to be free deprives New Yorkers of enjoying the benefits that this taxpayer-supported institution provides.”

Until today, some unscrupulous operators were offering free Shakespeare in the Park tickets for sale on Craigslist for $100 or more per pair. Because tickets are limited, students, residents and tourists found it harder to get free tickets, undermining the mission of the Public Theater. After the Attorney General’s Office notified Craigslist of the problem, Craigslist voluntarily agreed to take down existing ads and work with the Public Theater to remove any future ads selling tickets that are meant to be free.

Shakespeare in the Park has been a beloved New York summertime tradition at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park for over fifty years. Produced by the Public Theater, a New York not-for-profit corporation, this free event is supposed to provide “Shakespeare for all,” regardless of ability to pay.

Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Andrew D. Hamingson said: “We thank and applaud the Attorney General for helping to keep free Shakespeare free for all New Yorkers. We are so grateful to Craigslist for realizing the importance of this New York tradition, and for voluntarily offering to work with The Public Theater over the course of the summer to make sure that Joe Papp's vision of free Shakespeare in the Park remains that way."

The Attorney General’s Charities Bureau oversees not-for-profit institutions including the Public Theater.

Clint Powell, a spokesman for Craigslist, said: “Craigslist was happy to work with the New York Attorney General to help ensure that Shakespeare in the Park is freely available to all New Yorkers.”

Information on how to obtain free tickets to Shakespeare in the Park is available on the Public Theater's webpage for this event:

The matter was handled by Linda A. Lacewell, Special Counsel to the Attorney General, and Jason R. Lilien, Charities Bureau Chief.