Happy Few Theatre Company to Present AS YOU LIKE IT, 4/10-27
The New York-based Happy Few Theatre Company has announced their inaugural production, a seven-person adaptation of As You Like It, using Shakespeare's original text. The Company aims to present actor-driven productions of plays from the classical to the contemporary. Performances of "As You Like It" run from April 10 to April 27, 2014, at Theaterlab's new space on west 36th Street.
Set in a contemporary world, this production takes a fun, fresh look at Shakespeare's timeless comedy about love, transformation and the roles we play. Rosalind, the daughter of an exiled Duke, falls in love with Orlando, who is downtrodden by his elder brother. The two separately flee the watchful world of the court, seeking refuge in the Forest of Arden. But when Rosalind, now dressed as a man to protect herself and her cousin Celia, bumps into Orlando, their courtship becomes a game that subverts traditional romance. The production uses video and live original music, both to explore what is changeless and what is contemporary in how we tell stories, and to provide a thoroughly entertaining evening for audiences of all kinds.
The cast, all of whom play multiple roles, brings extensive experience in both classical and new works to this production. An ensemble from diverse training programs, the actors hold degrees from Yale, Juilliard, Brown/Trinity, the Academy of Classical Acting, Kent State, the Univesity of Arizona and Boston University. Ellen Adair, whose credits include Fiasco's Cymbeline at the Barrow St. Theatre, the Mint Theatre, the Pearl Theatre, and the Showtime series "Nurse Jackie" and "Brotherhood," will play Adam and Rosalind. Playing opposite her as Orlando is Patrick Mulryan, also of Fiasco's Cymbeline, as well as their Into the Woods at the McCarter, and the new opera Bum Phillips at LaMama. Anna O'Donoghue, who has appeared on Broadway in Rock and Roll and Off-Broadway at Second Stage and Joe's Pub, will play Celia, Audrey, and others. The roles of Oliver and Jaques will be played by Eric Gilde, whose New York credits include the Cherry Lane Studio, Ensemble Studio Theatre and the Brick. Three-time nominee and two-time winner of an Innovative Theatre Award, Nat Cassidy will play Touchstone and Silvius; Nat's Off-Broadway credits include 59E59, SoHo Playhouse and Cherry Lane's LPTW. Christopher Seiler, who has performed in approximately forty productions at the American Shakespeare Center, playing roles diverse as Shylock, Polonius and Santaland Diaries' Crumpet, will play Duke Senior, Duke Frederick, and Corin. Rounding out the cast as LeBeau, Amiens and Phebe, Alexander Sovronsky has appeared on Broadway in the 2007 Cyrano de Bergerac, and Off-Broadway with the Public's Shakespeare in Central Park, Theatre for a New Audience, Red Bull Theatre, and Atlantic Theatre Company.
Alexander Sovronsky, equally accomplished as a composer, will also write the music that will be performed live by the ensemble of actors in the production. The talented design team also includes Mia Bienovich as Costume Designer, Bart Cortright as Video Designer, Sean Gorski as Technical Director, Ben Kahre as Fight Choreographer, and Tyler M. Perry as Lighting Designer. The ensemble will be led by Ellen Adair and Eric Gilde as directors.
"There are a lot of reasons that As You Like It is a great play for us to start with," says Ellen Adair, Artistic Director of the new company. "What the characters discover in the Forest of Arden is the fun of language and the fun of transformation, which is really the stuff of theatre, and the things that are our greatest priorities as a company. We're also interested in the ways in which the young generation in this play, essentially powerless, figures out how to take action to change their fates. We wanted it to be a multi-disciplinary evening, and there's more music in As You Like It than in any of Shakespeare's other plays! We're really interested in making the most of the potential of live performance, what it means for actors and audiences alike to be experiencing a play in a room together."
Tickets for the performances, which run Thursday-Sunday evenings April 10-27, can be purchased online at OvationTix. The price of admission is $18, with $15 tickets available for students. Theaterlab's space, on the 3rd floor of 357 W. 36th St., is located between 8th and 9th Avenues.