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Brian Bedford, Lynn Collins, Jennifer Ikeda, Richard Thomas and James Waterston Join Cast of AS YOU LIKE IT

The Public Theater announces that Brian Bedford, Lynn Collins, Jennifer Ikeda, Richard Thomas, and James Waterston have joined the cast of As You Like It for Shakespeare in the Park. As You Like It is the first production scheduled in The Public's year-long 50th Anniversary Celebration, with performances beginning Tuesday, June 25th and continuing through Sunday, July 17th.

Enter the Forest of Arden, where melancholy spreads joy and poetry hangs from the trees. Rosalind, the brilliantly smart and cultured princess, and her strong-willed cousin, Celia, will try anything – including cross-dressing – to find both independence and love. For the first time in over a decade, Shakespeare in the Park will present this gem of philosophy and desire, gender confusion and romantic fantasy.

Mark Lamos (Director). During his seventeen-year tenure as artistic director of the Tony Award-winning Hartford Stage, Lamos directed 15 productions of Shakespeare. Additional credits include The Rivals, Big Bill and Measure for Measure (Lortel Award) at Lincoln Center Theater. Broadway: Our Country's Good (Tony nomination), Fascinating Rhythm, The Deep Blue Sea (Roundabout). Off-Broadway: Albee's Tiny Alice (Lortel Award); Baitz's The End of the Day; Blessing's Thief River; and Love's Fire. Regional: Kennedy Center (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof); McCarter (School for Scandal, Cymbeline); Old Globe (Pentecost, Compleat Female Stage Beauty); The Shakespeare Theatre (Midsummer Night's Dream); Guthrie (Antony and Cleopatra); La Jolla; ACT; Williamstown; Canada's Stratford Festival (Merchant of Venice); and Moscow's Pushkin Theater.

Brian Bedford (Jacques). On leaving the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he played Hamlet at the age of 21. This was followed by performances in London's West End and Stratford-on-Avon working with, among others, Sir John Gielgud and Peter Brook. Gielgud's production of Peter Shaffer's first play, Five Finger Exercise, brought him to Broadway where he starred in more than 20 productions, receiving five Tony nominations for Best Actor and winning the award for Molière's School for Wives. He has directed and acted for 20 seasons at the Stratford Festival of Canada. Film and TV credits include "Frasier," "More Tales of the City," "Scarlett," Nixon, and Grand Prix.

Lynn Collins (Rosalind) appeared as Ophelia in Andrei Serban's production of Hamlet at The Public in 1999. She is also well-known for her role in the film version of The Merchant of Venice, where she played Portia opposite Al Pacino. Additional theater credits include: Travesties (Williamstown Theater Festival), The Women (Roundabout), Romeo and Juliet (Ahmanson Theatre), and Necessary Targets (NY Stage and Film). Among her film credits are Searching for Sara, The Merchant of Venice, 50 First Dates, 13 Going on 30, Down With Love, and Never Get Outta the Boat.

Jennifer Ikeda (Celia). The Public: The Two Noble Kinsmen, As You Like It. Additional credits include The Square (Ma-Yi, Dir. Lisa Peterson). Regional: The Tempest (NJSF); Romeo and Juliet (The Shakespeare Theatre); Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis); Antigone (dir. Derek Anson Jones, Chautauqua Conservatory Theatre); The Memorandum, The Mahabharata and The Tutor (Julliard). Television: "Guiding Light." Training: B.F.A. Julliard.

Richard Thomas (Touchstone) recently appeared in Democracy on Broadway. His Broadway career began in 1958 in Sunrise at Campobello. Other New York appearances include Fifth of July, The Seagull, The Front Page, Tiny Alice and Terrence McNally's The Stendhal Syndrome. He has performed leading classical roles for directors such as Peter Sellars, Robert Wilson, Michael Kahn and Peter Hall; appeared in many films; and starred in more than 40 movies for television. His series include "It's a Miracle," "Just Cause" and "The Waltons," for which he won the Emmy in 1972.


James Waterston (Orlando). New York theater credits include: The Jew of Malta (Classic Stage Co.), Arden of Faversham (Classic Stage Co.), Another Time (American Jewish Theatre). Regional: Julius Caesar (Old Globe Theatre), Proof (South Coast Repertory), Twelfth Night (Old Globe Theatre), Long Day's Journey Into Night (Syracuse Stage), Gross Indecency (Huntington Theater), among others. Film: Wedding Daze, Live From Baghdad, Without Warning, Shrinking Violet, The Debutantes. TV: "Six Feet Under," "ER," and "Law & Order."

For 50 years The Public Theater has been committed to making theater that reflects the life of our city – diverse, brilliant, raw, and alive. Beginning June 1st, The Public's 50th Anniversary Celebration will feature events uptown and downtown, including two productions of Shakespeare in Central Park at the Delacorte, six cutting edge productions in the downtown season, interactive exhibitions and provocative discussions in celebration of the theater's rich history.

Founded by Joseph Papp as the Shakespeare Workshop and now one of the nation's preeminent cultural institutions, The Public is an American theater in which all the country's voices, rhythms, and cultures converge. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Mara Manus, The Public's mandate to create a theater for all New Yorkers continues to this day on stage and through its extensive outreach and education programs. Over 250,000 people annually attend Public Theater-related events at its six downtown stages including Joe's Pub, and at Shakespeare in Central Park and Joe's Pub in the Park.

Major support for the 2005 season of Shakespeare in Central Park is provided by Target and JPMorgan Chase. Additional generous funding is provided by Viacom Outdoor, The New York Times, Continental Airlines, New York Public Radio- WNYC, The George Delacorte Fund at The New York Community Trust – Fund for Performances at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, and The Starr Foundation.

Shakespeare in Central Park is presented with the cooperation of the City of New York, Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor; the City Council, Gifford Miller, Speaker; the Department of Cultural Affairs, Kate Levin, Commissioner; and the Department of Parks and Recreation, Adrian Benepe, Commissioner.

Leadership support for The Public Theater's 50th anniversary season is provided by Time Warner and The New York Community Trust - LuEsther T. Mertz Advised Fund. Additional generous support is provided by Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman, The Laura Pels Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Susan Stein Shiva Foundation, Altria Group, Inc., The George Delacorte Fund at The New York Community Trust - Fund for Performances at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, Ken Lerer and Katherine Sailer, Carole Shorenstein Hays, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warren Spector and Margaret Whitton, and Mr. and Mrs. George W. Haywood. Public support is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency. We are also deeply grateful to The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for its leadership commitment to The Public Theater's Endowment Fund in support of new work.

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