Theater review: Shakespeare in the Park’s ‘As You Like It’

Shepherdess Phoebe (Susannah Flood) berates her suitor; visit www.publictheater.org for info about “As You Like It.”

Celebrating 50 years in Central Park, The Public Theater is shaking things up at the Delacorte. Unlike in recent years, where two Shakespearean works played in repertory, this year the company is pairing a solo run of “As You Like It” with Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” later in the summer. But this production is more than strong enough to hold its own, with a stellar cast led by director Daniel Sullivan and a truly breathtaking set by John Lee Beatty that magically transforms from towering fortress to enchanted forest.

Lily Rabe showcases the cat-and-mouse gamesmanship undertaken by the love-struck heroine, Rosalind. Her sidekick Celia (Renee Elise Goldsberry) is an overworked wingwoman who just barely keeps her tongue. Oliver Platt avoids the trap of acting too outlandish, and his Touchstone is a knowing fool. David Furr’s Orlando is best when set against the firebrand Rosalind, but he’s surprisingly tender when he strives to repay a lifetime’s servitude to his ailing, elderly aid. Two of the best performances come from smaller parts, the penetratingly cynical Jaques (Stephen Spinella) and the scornful Phoebe (Susannah Flood), a first-edition mean girl. Throughout, a roving bluegrass band underscores the plot’s exultations and setbacks with mood-perfect music by Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin).

At our performance, there was a noticeable amount of children in attendance who raptly and ably followed the twists and turns of the plot. Shakespeare, when it’s done well, should always be this accessible and simple — but make no mistake, the mastery behind the scenes here is palpable, it’s just tucked in cleanly at the seams so that all that’s left is exactly “As You Like It.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Muslim leaders welcome NYPD surveillance changes with degree…

Leaders and advocates praise the NYPD's move to shut down a unit tied to its Muslim surveillance program but say there's more left to do.

Local

PHOTOS: More than $12 million in heroin, crystal…

Authorities seized more than 44 pounds of heroin and 17 pounds of crystal meth from two stash houses this week during a Manhattan drug bust.

Local

How to donate during the blood drive at…

The Metro-North Railroad and New York Blood Center are hosting a blood drive at Grand Central Terminal Thursday.

Local

Bloomberg launches $50 million anti-gun violence effort

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to spend $50 million on a grassroots anti-gun violence network to challenge the National Rifle Association.

Going Out

Tasty chicken and waffles in NYC

Try some soul food goodness around the city.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

Books

Becoming friends with New York City's oldest known…

"The Life and Times of Richard Musto" tells the story, through a poem, of the oldest known homeless man in New York City.

NHL

Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.

MLB

Masahiro Tanaka dominates Cubs over eight shutout innings

Masahiro Tanaka certainly had no-hit caliber stuff Wednesday as he allowed just two bunt singles.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind

NFL

Jets make Chris Johnson signing official

The Jets got their big-play threat as running back Chris Johnson signed a multi-year contract with the team on Wednesday.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.

Wellbeing

Cognitive skills begin to drop at age 24

But the news isn't all that bad.

Career

How to get a job at a startup:…

We talked to Tarek Pertew, one of the co-founders behind Uncubed, about how to get your dream job at a startup.

Parenting

The 'smartest' summer camps across the country

See a list of summer camps across the country that emphasis learning, while still being fun.