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Named one of the New York Times's best shows of 2017, this contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare's As You Like It is an immersive dream-like tale of faithful friends, feuding families, and lovers in disguise. Forced from their homes, Orlando, Duke Senior, his daughter, Rosalind, and niece Celia escape to the Forest of Arden, a fantastical place of transformation, where all are welcomed and embraced. Lost amidst the trees, the refugees find community and acceptance under the stars. Fall under love’s spell with this magical story.
Written by William Shakespeare
Adapted by Shaina Taub and Laurie Woolery
Music and Lyrics by Shaina Taub
Directed by Laura Marie Duncan
Music Direction by José Delgado and Isaac Leaverton
Choreography by Misha Shields (B.F.A. '06, musical theater)
Welcome to the opening production of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee Theater Division’s 2022–2023 season! Our classrooms and stages are slowly returning to their pre-COVID capacity, and our community is once again coming together to bring a contemporary twist to Shakespeare’s age-old tale As You Like It. But even if the company wasn’t in the theater, it still wasn’t empty.
You may have seen the image of a solitary light alone in the middle of a bare stage, which is a common symbol of the theater. Called a ghost light, traditionally a bare bulb on a pole, this tool ensures that the theater never truly goes dark. Modern technology has made slightly less romanticized adjustments in using energy-efficient LED overhead or wall lighting, but they serve the same purpose. Why is this? While there are certainly practical concerns, namely those around safety or OSHA requirements, many theater practitioners, myself included, are superstitious, and have come to believe there is a greater reason for this practice.
I have been told by colleagues and collaborators various versions of the light’s purpose over the years, stories that they learned from other practitioners before them. One is that the light keeps the ghosts from taking up residence in the theater. Another is that it prevents the ghosts in residence from causing any mischief, as they only like the dark. My personal favorite, however, is the idea that with a constant light onstage, the theater never truly closes. The circle of performance is never broken. While the ghosts in residence may continue to be there, the stage will remain the platform of the community of the living, even if there is not an actual performance currently happening. Like many theatrical superstitions, this version originates in the creation of a community, and a particular space for that community to convene.
This musical adaptation of As You Like It, written in 2017 by Shaina Taub and originally produced with more than 200 actors and community members by New York’s Public Theater, is a celebration of the sacred space of the theater—a place where all are accepted, and where something is created that is more than the sum of its parts.
This production showcases our community and its own uniqueness. With this performance, we invite you into the forest of Arden to discover how you might also be part of the light that keeps the performances going, even long after today’s curtain comes down.
Enjoy the show!
—Patsy Collins Bandes, Chair of Theater, Boston Conservatory at Berklee
I grew up with a philosopher for a father. And not in that way that we all fancy ourselves philosophers—I mean he was, truly, a philosophy professor and great thinker…and passionate about sharing all things philosophical with me as far back as I can remember. Decades ago, he decided to experiment with teaching small children at a Montessori School, ages 2 to 5, and for their first lesson he imparted to them the philosophy of process.
To help them understand the concept, he shared a simple mantra: one, it’s fun; two, boo hoo; and three, wheeee! I remember when this preschool lesson was shared with me (probably over a dinner table), and I was struck by its simplicity and humor…but most of all, it hit me in that moment how unbelievably valuable this little philosophy could be. Almost immediately I started to see its wisdom in everything I did, and I became acutely aware of how important it was to embrace the boo hoo if I ever wanted to get to the wheeee. I learned in an instant that process was a universal struggle, and also the secret to joy. I am not exaggerating when I say that it changed me forever.
When I embarked on the As You Like It journey (one, it's fun), this philosophy was top of mind for me. I knew that as we crawled our way out of the pandemic’s icy grip (one of the most profoundly felt boo hoos of our lifetime) we needed the wheeee of doing live theater more than ever. With that in mind, we decided to embrace the parallels between Rosalind’s process to find love and the very process of theater-making itself. As theater artists, we are most alive in the rehearsal room, when the discoveries (as well as failures) lead to the eventual bliss of unveiling the result. The wheeee, if you will, is only achievable with much boo hooing—much like the jagged path to true love, which seems only to be made possible by enduring an endless string of boo hoos.
As theater artists, we acknowledge that the process, whether in the raw space or in the overall gestalt of our history, gets to exhilaration only by wrestling our way through the muddled mess—to a better play, or a better world.
I hope you enjoy our celebration of Shakespeare, music, theater, process, and love! Wheeee!
—Laura Marie Duncan, As You Like It Director
The Futurity of Love: As You Like It
Shaina Taub and Laura Woolery’s lyrical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s pastoral 1599 comedy As You Like It not only reenvisions Shakespeare’s work as a new American musical theater piece but also as a queer reimagining on the futurity and possibilities of love and its power to transform us.
Primarily set in the forest of Arden, after Duke Senior is banished by his brother Duke Frederick, Taub and Woolery craft a place where queer love thrives, flourishes, and expresses itself without fear—in direct contrast to our more familiar U.S. landscape where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people continue to face discrimination in their daily lives. In fact, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, said, “I am deeply alarmed by a widespread, profoundly negative riptide created by deliberate actions to roll back the human rights of LGBT people at [the] state level.”
In contrast, and one might argue in opposition to our contemporary history of queer oppression, Taub and Woolery conceptualize a radical redreaming of a future that we have yet to meet, where queer bodies live openly, enjoying equal rights, personal autonomy, and freedom of expression. Scholar Robin D.G. Kelley, in his foundational book Freedom Dreams: The Radical Black Imagination, reminds us that “without new visions, we don’t know what to build, only what to knock down. We not only end up confused, rudderless, and cynical, but we forget that making a revolution is not a series of clever maneuvers and tactics, but a process that can and must transform us,” and the process in this whimsical work is love.
This beautiful queer adaptation gives us new visions and possibilities around the future of crafting a world where we are all free to experience the transformational power of love in all its shapes and forms. Jaques, Shakespeare’s resident philosopher, opens the show with the question, “How do you make the magic real?”—the magic here being a space where love is indeed allowed to transform us, not just as individuals but also as a society. How do we craft a future where we are free from the tyranny of heteronormativity? Maybe, as Shakespeare, Taub, and Wollery hint, in order to make the world a better place we must first be able to imagine it.
May the future of love always be as you like it.
—Angela Farr Schiller, As You Like It Dramaturg
Scenes and Musical Numbers
SCENE 1: Prologue
“All the World’s a Stage”
SCENE 2: De Boys Estate
“Hear Ye, Hear Ye”
“The Man I’m Supposed to Be”
SCENE 3: Rosalind’s Dressing Chamber
“Rosalind Be Merry”
SCENE 4: Wrestling Ring
“The Wrestling Match”
“After the Match”
SCENE 5: Rosalind’s Dressing Chamber
“All Hail Duke Frederick”
SCENE 6: De Boys Estate
SCENE 7: Transition to Arden
“In Arden Playoff”
SCENE 8: Arden, The Feast
“Under the Greenwood Tree”
SCENE 9: Back in Court
“All Hail 2”
SCENE 10: Arden
“Will U Be My Bride”
“Imagine I’m Your Lover”
SCENE 11: Elsewhere in Arden
SCENE 12: Elsewhere in Arden
“You Phoebe Me”
SCENE 13: Hootenanny in Arden
SCENE 14: Elsewhere in Arden
“When I’m Your Wife”
SCENE 15: Meanwhile, Back in the Court
“All Hail 3”
SCENE 16: Arden
“The Lion and the Snake”
SCENE 17: Elsewhere in Arden
“Will U Be My Groom”
SCENE 18: In Arden, Night Before Wedding
“Getting Married Tomorrow”
“Rosalind, Be Merry (Reprise)”
SCENE 19: The Weddings
“For Real (Reprise)”/“You Phoebe Me (Reprise)”
“All Hail 4”/”Under the Greenwood Tree (Reprise)”/”Still I Will Love”
SCENE 20: Epilogue
“All the World’s a Stage (Reprise)"
JAQUES – Liesie Kelly
ROSALIND – Kindred Moore
ORLANDO – Charlie Zuckerman
OLIVER – Gavin Rasmussen
CELIA– Sophie Varones
TOUCHSTONE– Kenny Lee
DUKE SENIOR– Nathanael Wilkerson
DUKE FREDERICK – Alex Poletti
SILVIA– Ana Viveros
PHOEBE – Annabella Hunt
ANDY – David Rosenthal
HESPERIA / MARTEXT – Karina Gallagher
ADAM / PUPPETEER – Ronan Green
HUNTER / ROYAL ATTENDANT – Bryson Battle
LADY IN WAITING / DE BOYS DANCER – Brogan Nelson
ROYAL MINION / ANNOUNCER – Brevan Collins
CAVEMAN / DE BOYS DANCER / ROYAL ATTENDANT – Alan Cid
WILLIAM/ ROYAL MINION / REFEREE – Isaac Tardy
ROYAL MINION / TEEN ORLANDO / PUPPETEER / DE BOYS DANCER – Keegan Sells
MISS AMIENS / BRONCO’S AGENT– Rachel Da Silva
PAPA CORIN / FRANKIE FLOW / DE BOYS DANCER – Dashawn McClinton
ROYAL MINION – Miranda Slingluff
BRONCO – Isabela Garcia
MAMA CORIN/ TEEN ROSALIND/ PUPPETEER – Bridget Delaney
YOUNG JAQUES – Maija Bandes*
YOUNG ROSALIND – Saya Chhabria-Accardi*
YOUNG ORLANDO – Ari Bandes*
*denotes guest artist
JAQUES – Brogan Nelson
ROSALIND – Karina Gallagher
ORLANDO – Brevan Collins
CELIA – Rachel Da Silva
OLIVER – Brevan Collins
TOUCHSTONE – Keegan Sells
DUCK SENIOR – Bryson Battle
SILVIA – Miranda Slingluff
PHOEBE – Brogan Nelson
ANDY – Alan Cid
Music directed by José Delgado
José Delgado/Isaac Leaverton
Director – Laura Marie Duncan
Assistant Director – Abriel Coleman
Scenic Designer – Cristina Todesco^
Costume Designer – Gail Astrid Buckley^
Sound Designer – Anna Drummond
Lighting Designer – Jeff Adelberg^
Music Director – José Delgado
Assistant Music Director – Isaac Leaverton
Choreographer – Misha Shields+ (B.F.A. '06, musical theater)
Assistant Choreographer – Anna Beyer
Fight Choreographer – Mark Rosenthal
Dramaturg – Angela Farr Schiller
Puppetry – Amanda Friou
Performance Services Director – Liz Keller-Tripp
Producer – Hanna Oravec
Stage Manager – Katie Arnold
Assistant Stage Manager – Emily Hanson
Speech and Text Coach – Lee Nishri-Howitt
Intimacy Consultant – Angie Jepson
Technical Director – Greg Rishoi
Temporary Technical Director – Taylor Kaufman
Technical Directing Consultant – Audrey Kimball
Costume Shop Manager – Alison Pugh
Assistant Costume Shop Manager – Leah Foley
Draper/Stitcher – Caroline Seeley, Sam Martin
Wardrobe Manager – Blue Barber
Wardrobe Assistant – Kiara Escalera
Audio Supervisor – Steve Younkins
Audio Engineer (A1) – Daniel Massey
Audio Assistant (A2) – Evelyn Dummeer
Audio Assistant Consultant – Kayla Blackburn
Lighting Supervisor – Matthew Martino
Production Electrician – Gabe Goldman
Props Manager – Larry Dembski
Stage Supervisor – Steve Seaman
STUDENT PRODUCTION STAFF:
Student Assistant Stage Managers – Alex Robinson, Carson Hollingsworth
Production Assistants – Evelyn Dumeer, Meghan Hoey, Julia Kelley, Olivia Monarch, Brogan Nelson, Lori Newsom, Kalika Reece, Aidan Rufer, Cooper Sheehy, Trisha Soo
Run Crew – Malea Hauck, Paola Marcias, Abby McDonough, Matthew Neal, Juliette Ojeda, Dolores Salamurovic, Nate Scullion, Abbie Smith, Calico Velasco, Brooke Webster, Kennedy Williams, Abi Zellner
Costume Assistants – Maya Boyce, Penn Burrall, Jacob Fincannon, Olivia Martinez, Emily O'Connor
Performance Service Department Assistant – Anthony Paredes
^Artist is a member of United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829 of the IATSE is the union representing Scenic, Costume, Lighting, Sound and Projection Designers in Live Performance
+Artist is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, a national theatrical labor union
Boston Conservatory thanks audience members for viewing this program information online. This paperless program saved 5,250 sheets of paper, 556 gallons of water, and 467 pounds of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions.
This performance has been selected as part of Boston Conservatory at Berklee's fall 2022 Center Stage collection. Learn more about Center Stage and view all Center Stage performances.