AS YOU LIKE IT to Open 2/14 at Theatre Memphis
As You Like It, a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare, opens at Theatre Memphis in the Next Stage February 14 and continues through March 2, 2014. One of Shakespeare's most delightful heroines, Rosalind, flees her family's royal court to travel with her best friend and cousin to an enchanted forest. Along the way, she schemes and plots using disguises to find true love. It is a beloved, festive and free-spirited comedic delight that has endeared audiences over the ages.
Anita "Jo" Lenhart, Associate Professor of Performance with the University of Memphis Department of Theater and Dance, directs the production and has put together a well-seasoned cast. Miranda Fisher plays Rosalind and Xanthe Mumm portrays her cousin, Celia. The cast includes Greg Boller, Kevin Cochran, Stephen Huff, Roman Kyle, Davis Fancher, Gabe Beutel-Gunn, Jacob Winfield, Bennett Wood, Jennifer Chervenick, David, Hammons, Jillian Barron, Chris Cotton, Frank Whitfield and Zach Williams.
Lenhart brings a playful and original concept to As You Like It that she feels supports the themes in Shakespeare's original work. Combining a stylized set design by resident Theatre Memphis Scenic Designer Jack Yates with "period" costumes assembled by Theatre Memphis Costume Designer Paul McCrae, this production evokes a feel of the Dakota Territories of the American Frontier in 1887. The impressionistic environment serves as a palette for specific and clear costume choices to emphasize the masculine/feminine disguises that are basic to the story. Lenhart states, "If Shakespeare ever wrote a 'musical,' this is it! The talented musicians in our cast and I have created all new settings for Shakespeare's songs, drawing upon the folk and old time feel of 19th century American music. This, and the earthy dialects of the pastoral characters, is sure to delight those Memphis audience members new to the piece and bring a fresh lens to the story for those who already love this classic comedy."
"It is important to produce and perform Shakespeare in this day and age," says Theatre Memphis Executive Producer Debbie Litch. "Building on the history of such iconic theatre is how we keep the subject fresh ... new interpretations of classic literature. We are fortunate to have someone like Jo to have such a vision and bring it to our patrons."