The age old Shakespearean play, AS YOU LIKE IT, has been turned into a delightful musical and plays now that the Plummer Park Great Hall in West Hollywood. Adapted and directed by Tony Tanner with musical direction by David Kole, the play is produced by Alex Wells and presented by the City of West Hollywood and Classical Theatre Lab.
It is this play that has the famous line, "All the world's a stage," because for the characters, indeed it is, especially for the lead character Rosalind (Jessica Pennington) as she romps through the French forest as a young man. The daughter of the Duke, recently exiled by his brother, Rosalind stays at the court only because she is best friends with Celia (Rachele Gueli), daughter of the usurper.
Shakespeare is fond of similar situations in the same play and so while the senior Duke (Steven Peterson) had fled his home, with his man servant Adam (Henry Selvitelle) due to persecution , so has Orlando (Paul D. Masterson). Falling in love with Rosalind, he vows his forever love even as he flees. When the usurper becomes angry at Rosalind, she and Ceila decide to join the senior Duke in the woods. To protect their selves, Rosalind goes as a young man and Celia goes as a poor lady.
Arriving at the forest, the pair are greeted by melancholy Jacques (John Copeland). The two ladies introduce themselves as Ganymede and Aliena.
Still pining for his Rosalind, Orlando writes love poems and pins them all around the local trees. He meets with Ganymede who promises to cure him of his love for Rosalind. He will take the place of Rosalind causing Orlando to later question his sexual identity.
Meanwhile, the shepherdess Phoebe (Louahan Lowe) is in love with Ganymede but Silvius (Brandon Massey) is in love with her. In a further twist of events, Touchstone (the jester who accompanied the girls into the forest) (Mathew Hennerson) is now in love with another shepherdess, Audrey (Jill Maglinone). The later woos the girl only to find out that he must indeed marry her especially when he is confronted by William (Tad Atkinson) another shepherd.
As Ganymede, Silvius, Phoebe and Orlando argue, Ganymede claims to have the answer to the problem. She promises that Orlando will have his Rosalind and that if Ganymede cannot marry Phoebe, she must marry Silvius.
Not to leave Aliena out, she has fallen in love with Oliver (Noah Gillet) who is rescued from a lion by Orlando. In the final scene, all the pairs are married and the couples learn that the false Duke has decided to take on religious life and the rightful Duke can now return to the court.
The songs are original and fun, flowing easily with the Shakespearian comedy. The family friendly show may be a bit over the head for smaller children, but it’s a great way to introduce the Bard to the younger generation.
The costume is designed by Daniel Mahler and the Stage manager is Tad Atkinson. Assistant producers were Amy Handleman and Fred Ornstein.
The performance is free of charge and runs July 9-31st on Sat and Sundays at 6 pm in the Great Hall at Plummer Park. The play is also being repeated at Kings Road Park, Aug 6th -14th with varying times. For reservations call 323 960 5691 or go to [email protected]