To be free or not to be free?
There is no question — tickets to the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park are supposed to be gratis, but that’s not stopping scalpers from selling them for upwards of $400.
“Give me $25. It’s a good deal,” said one man boldly selling tickets outside the Delacorte Theater to “Cymbeline,” which runs through Aug. 23. “Hey, look, the meaning of life is to enjoy it.”
The prices can be 15 times that, observers said, when the production is one of the Bard’s better-known plays performed by Hollywood stars such as Meryl Streep.
Illicit sellers also congregate on Craigslist, despite a 2010 agreement to remove ads selling free Shakespeare in the Park tickets.
Lines for the tickets begin to form when the park opens at 6 a.m., with some devoted theater-goers even camping outside overnight.
Scalpers defend their operation, saying they wait in line for hours, providing a service for those without the time or inclination to wait for tickets themselves.
When a Delacorte employee was asked by The Post about the scalping, he said, “They are free. If anyone offers to sell them to you, call the [police].”
The NYPD did not return messages seeking comment on the enforcement of anti-scalping laws.
This article originally appeared in the New York Post on August 16, 2015.