The Central Park Five

Composed by Anthony Davis
Libretto by Richard Wesley

The Central Park Five premieres on Portland Opera Onscreen on April 8, and will be accessible on-demand until May 20, 2022.


The Central Park Five premieres on Portland Opera Onscreen on April 8 and will be accessible on-demand until May 20, 2022. Digital access is available for purchase on Portland Opera Onscreen for $50. 21/22 subscribers can unlock digital access for $40. Learn more about Portland Opera Onscreen.


Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2020, The Central Park Five takes us to New York City in the late 80s—when five Black and Latino teenagers were falsely accused of rape and assault, and coerced into confession.  Their high-profile case spiraled out of control, turning the accused, and their families, into victims of prejudice and grave injustice. 


After serving prison sentences for crimes they did not commit, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise were exonerated through DNA evidence. This brilliant new work is about what happens when justice is not served, and the powerful court of public opinion fails us—especially in cases of white female victims, and accused Black and Latino men. Ultimately a story of freedom, The Central Park Five champions our five innocent heroes' refusal to plead guilty on their paths to exoneration. 

Read full synopsis
2 hours and 25 minutes with one intermission
English with captions
This production includes strobe lighting and contains themes and acts of racism, violence, rape, and abuses of power.

Cast & crew

Accessibility at Portland Opera
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About the Composer & Librettist

Learn about Anthony Davis and Richard Wesley.

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Learn the Five Reasons Why

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Five reasons why
Plan Your Opera Adventure

Where to park and what to wear. Explore info about the venue and what to expect. 

What to expect

Production Information

The Central Park Five is sung in English with live English captions. 

In addition to ticketed performances at the Newmark Theatre, digital access is available for this production on Portland Opera Onscreen for $50. 21/22 subscribers can unlock access for $40. Passes are available now for purchase. The Central Park Five will premiere Onscreen on Friday, April 8 and be accessible on-demand until Friday, May 20, 2022. Learn more about Portland Opera Onscreen.

COVID-19 Information

All ticket holders, regardless of age, are required to show proof of full COVID vaccination or a negative test result from a COVID PCR test (taken within 72 hours of performance time) for entry into the theatre. “Fully vaccinated” means that ticket holders have received their final vaccination dose of either the two-dose regimen of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of Johnson & Johnson at least 14 days before your performance date. Audience members aged 18 and over must present a photo ID. Booster shots are highly recommended. 

All patrons, regardless of age, test results, and vaccination status, are required to wear masks inside the theatre at all times (expect when consuming food or beverages). Our of respect for the agreements we've made with our union artists, musicians, and staff members: masks will be required for attendees to all performances of this production, even after state-wide mask mandates expire. If you prefer not to wear a mask, we invite you to view the production digitally. 

Learn more about vaccination resources in Oregon, and our COVID-19 policies here. 


Captions: For patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing, each performance (whether virtual or in person) includes live English captions projected above the stage, or streamed virtually on the screen.

Audio Description: For patrons who are blind or have low-vision, the Sunday matinee performance will include a live audio description of the action and dialogue onstage.

Learn more about accessibility at the Newmark Theatre here. If you require wheelchair accessible and/or companion seating, or have any other hearing or vision needs, please call us to purchase tickets so that we can ensure your visit to the theatre is an excellent one.

Read the Program

Learn more about The Central Park Five in our latest edition of Toi Toi Toi: A Magazine for Portland Opera.

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Community sponsors

Portland Opera appreciates the ongoing support of our generous donors, The Collins Foundation, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Community Foundation, Regional Arts and Culture Council, including support from the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and the Arts Education & Access Fund, special support from The CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund, and The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program.