Cleveland's Classic Company Stages AS YOU LIKE IT, Now thru 4/19
Great Lakes Theater (GLT), Cleveland's Classic Company, crowns its 2013-14 season with William Shakespeare's comedy, As You Like It. The production will be performed in the company's intimate and audience-friendly home at the Hanna Theatre, PlayhouseSquare, today, April 4-19, 2014. Edward Morgan directs the production.
Generous production support for As You Like It was provided by Lynn & Tim Pistell and The Great Lakes Theater Business Alliance. Special Student Matinee Series support for As You Like It was provided by PNC. GLT is supported in great part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. Season support is also provided by The Cleveland Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council. Media sponsors for GLT's 52nd season are The FORM Group, Ideastream (WCLV 104.9 FM and WCPN 90.3 FM), The Northeast Ohio Media Group and WKSU 89.7 FM.
Great Lakes Theater is one of 40 professional theater companies selected nationwide to participate in Shakespeare for a New Generation, bringing the finest productions of Shakespeare (As You Like It) to middle- and high-school students in communities across the United States. This is the 10th year of Shakespeare for a New Generation, the largest tour of Shakespeare in American history.
"For the finale of our 2013-14 season in the re-imagined Hanna Theatre, we are thrilled to bring Shakespeare's beautiful, boy-meets-girl as girl-playing-boy, romantic comedy, As You Like It, to the Parker Hannifin Stage," said GLT's producing artistic director, Charles Fee. "I am especially happy to welcome director Edward Morgan to Great Lakes Theater. Ed comes to Cleveland with an extensive background in Shakespeare and the classics as well as contemporary work and musical theater, having served for nearly a decade as Associate Artistic Director of Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, and working across the country from Santa Cruz Shakespeare Festival to Virginia Stage Company. His experience as a musician as well as a writer of musicals informs his work on As You Like It - one of Shakespeare's most musical of comedies!"
Edward Morgan makes his directorial debut with Great Lakes Theater's As You Like It. His other credits include work with the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Virginia Stage Company, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Hindu MetroPlus Theatre Festival (India), Teatro 1887 (Costa Rica), The Kennedy Center, The Studio Theatre, Round House Theatre, Clarence Brown Theatre and Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, where he was Associate Artistic Director for six years. Mr. Morgan has also taught and directed at numerous universities in the United States and abroad. This past year, he directed The Taming of the Shrew for Shakespeare Santa Cruz, David Mamet's Race for Next Act Theatre in Milwaukee and joined the rehearsal process for the premiere of Twenty Seven, his adaptation of a Faulkner novella at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Mr. Morgan and his work have been honored with Washington's Helen Hayes Awards and nominations by the Drama League of New York.
As You Like It is Shakespeare's most enchanting romantic comedy. Comic twists and turns abound in the fertile Forest of Arden, where a disguised Rosalind seeks refuge after being wrongfully banished by her uncle. Her unfortunate exile is transformed into a charming adventure when she encounters some of Shakespeare's most beloved characters - colorful fools, witty rustics, and the handsome, lovesick Orlando. A clandestine, gender-bending courtship ensues, changing the lost into unexpected lovers, in this timeless and transcendent romantic comedy.
"Beneath its sparkling surface, As You Like It is not merely froth," said director Morgan of Shakespeare's comedy. "It juxtaposes civilized corruption with the life-giving force of the natural world. It gazes on mortality and the virtue of redemption. It mocks how urban and rural people view each other. It does gymnastics with gender roles and sashays with sexual ambivalence. And finally, it celebrates the threshold of a new era of individuality. With themes so strikingly modern, it's astonishing to remember that this play premiered 415 years ago."
Great Lakes Theater's award-winning home at the Hanna Theatre features a visionary "Great Room" inspired design that integrates the artist and audience experience into a single unified environment. Hanna patrons select from a variety of seating opportunities including traditional theater seats, club chairs, lounge/bar seats, banquette couches and private box seating. Arranged in an intimate 550-seat thrust configuration where the audience surrounds the stage, no seat is further than 12 rows from the performance.