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Pacino, Nichols, Linney, Streep, Walken: Scene in N.Y.

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg.

Al Pacino with his award. The sword is an original prop from the 1988 production of Julius Ceasar in which Pacino played Marc Antony. Pacino also played Shylock in the Shakespeare in the Park production of "Merchant of Venice," which moved to Broadway.

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg.

Al Pacino with his award. The sword is an original prop from the 1988 production of Julius Ceasar in which Pacino played Marc Antony. Pacino also played Shylock in the Shakespeare in the Park production of "Merchant of Venice," which moved to Broadway. Close

Al Pacino with his award. The sword is an original prop from the 1988 production of Julius Ceasar in which Pacino... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Al Pacino and Katherine Oliver, commissioner of the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment. Close

Al Pacino and Katherine Oliver, commissioner of the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Chelsea Clinton, NBC News correspondent, and playwright Tony Kushner. Close

Chelsea Clinton, NBC News correspondent, and playwright Tony Kushner.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Writer Anne Stringfield, scientist Paul Roossin, man of many talents Steve Martin and Barry Edelstein, director of the Shakespeare Initiative at the Public Theater. Close

Writer Anne Stringfield, scientist Paul Roossin, man of many talents Steve Martin and Barry Edelstein, director of... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Julie Falk and Erik Falk, a partner at KKR & Co. LP. Close

Julie Falk and Erik Falk, a partner at KKR & Co. LP.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Patrick Willingham, executive director of the Public Theater, in a Hugo Boss seersucker jacket, Jeff Barker, Bank of America New York City market president, and Wendy Barker. The Barkers recently celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary. Close

Patrick Willingham, executive director of the Public Theater, in a Hugo Boss seersucker jacket, Jeff Barker, Bank of... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Julianna Margulies, Laura Linney and Marc Schauer. Close

Julianna Margulies, Laura Linney and Marc Schauer.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Louise Grunwald and Mike Nichols, who said he keeps his Shakespeare in the bedroom because it's "hot." Close

Louise Grunwald and Mike Nichols, who said he keeps his Shakespeare in the bedroom because it's "hot."

Photographer: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Taking their bow after reading "Romeo and Juliet": Jesse L. Martin, Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. Close

Taking their bow after reading "Romeo and Juliet": Jesse L. Martin, Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Alexandra Shiva, co-chairwoman of the gala, said her first production of of Shakespaere in the Park was "Pirates of Penzance" with Kevin Kline. Her connection to the Public Theater includes meeting her husband, the playwright Jonathan Marc Sherman, at a gala for the organization. She wore a Narciso Rodriguez dress and Calvin Klein clutch. Close

Alexandra Shiva, co-chairwoman of the gala, said her first production of of Shakespaere in the Park was "Pirates of... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Anne Black of Goldman Sachs Gives and playwright Jonathan Marc Sherman. Close

Anne Black of Goldman Sachs Gives and playwright Jonathan Marc Sherman.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Actress Gloria Reuben observed a softball game going on across the way as she found her seat at the gala. "It's a night when it feels there's so much anticipation, like when you're going to a rock concert. It's a great outdoor creative experience." Close

Actress Gloria Reuben observed a softball game going on across the way as she found her seat at the gala. "It's a... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Actors Rebecca Faulkenberry and John Cullum. Close

Actors Rebecca Faulkenberry and John Cullum.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

The after party kept Central Park humming past midnight. Close

The after party kept Central Park humming past midnight.

Al Pacino said he keeps Shakespeare “all over the place” in his home.

Mike Nichols said he keeps his in the bedroom, “because Shakespeare is hot.”

Pacino was honoree, Nichols one of 1,100 guests who gathered in Central Park last night for a gala supper celebrating the 50th anniversary of Shakespeare in the Park’s home, the Delacorte Theater.

Others included KKR & Co. LP (KKR) partner Erik Falk, Centerbridge Partners LP managing principal Mark Gallogly and Jeff Barker, Bank of America New York City market president. Bank of America is a sponsor of Shakespeare in the Park.

The program, run by the Public Theater, has given more than 2,500 free performances at the Delacorte Theater to over five million people since its inception.

The current production there is “As You Like It,” for which Steve Martin wrote the music. Martin, standing next to scientist Paul Roossin, noted that he read a synopsis of the play to write the music. “I’ve seen it 100 times,” he added.

Over a meal of roast chicken, a bouquet of hydrangeas and lilies sprucing up their table, Laura Linney and Julianna Margulies talked of the bard.

“I was Lady Capulet in high school,” said Linney.

“The Shakespeare I have at home is a set my father gave to me for my 13th birthday,” Margulies said. “It’s leather bound and it never leaves my study.”

Peter Blair Henry, the dean of New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, has a budding Shakespearean in the family. His 12-year-old son, Langston, participates in the “No Fear Shakespeare” program at Grace Church School.

Streep, Kline

After dinner guests headed into the Delacorte for a reading of “Romeo and Juliet” in front of a grove of trees.

“Psst...Romeo,” Meryl Streep said to Kevin Kline, both transformed into sweet teenagers.

Christine Baranski was a live-wire conspirator as Juliet’s nurse. Jerry Stiller earned guffaws as a Capulet messenger. (Where was that party he was talking about? “There,” Stiller said pointing in the direction of the audience.)

Christopher Walken as Mercutio was his edgy and enunciating self.

“Flesh, flesh, how art thou fishified,” he teased Romeo for being softened by love.

And there were kisses.

“Let lips do what hands do; they pray,” Romeo said.

“Give me my sin again,” Juliet demanded.

Chelsea Clinton

It was a cool night, and with intermission at 10, a long night that required fortification.

Chelsea Clinton, who had earlier dined with Tony Kushner, ate a green apple she purchased at the concession for $1. Bob Balaban had Twizzlers.

Warren Spector, the chairman of the Public Theater and a director at the InSolve Global Credit Fund LP, anticipated hot chocolate as the cast took their final bows.

The after party offered sandwiches and cake pops under a pinkish sky and strings of lights. The music included Whitney Houston and the Bee Gees.

Actor John Cullum, who’d played Capulet in the reading, arrived with Rebecca Faulkenberry, who plays Mary Jane Watson in “Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark.”

Cullum recalled graduating from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, never having played Shakespeare. He came to New York and auditioned for “Hamlet” using a $1 version of the play he had bought at the Strand.

These days he has about 25 small volumes of Shakespeare on his shelf as well as about five different sets of the complete works.

Guests departed with a copy of “Romeo and Juliet” in their goody bags.

The event raised $2.1 million, guided by event co- chairwomen Alexandra Shiva, a documentary filmmaker, and theater producer Arielle Tepper Madover, who said her husband’s company Ouchies is making an “Annie”-themed adhesive bandage in honor of her bringing the musical to Broadway this autumn.

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the writer on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at agordon01@bloomberg.net or on Twitter at @amandagordon.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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