Friday, September 26, 2014

As You Like It Comes to the Shakespeare Theatre Company

From our friends at the Shakespeare Theatre Company...

The Shakespeare Theatre Company Presents Shakespeare's As You Like It, Directed by Michael Attenborough

The Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC), recipient of the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award, opens its 2014-15 mainstage season with William Shakespeare’s romantic comedy As You Like It, directed by Michael Attenborough in his American regional directing debut. As You Like It will play at the Lansburgh Theatre (450 7th Street, NW) from October 28 - December 7, 2014.

“Michael Attenborough has had a long and illustrious career in English theatre, and I am pleased to finally bring him to D.C.,” says STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn. “This production was born a few years ago when I approached Michael and asked him what show he would like to direct for us. His answer was immediate and twofold. First, Michael told me he wanted to direct As You Like It, which he calls one of Shakespeare’s most ‘intimate’ plays. Second, he wanted to direct it in the Lansburgh Theatre, whose intimate confines he felt were more suited to the aesthetic of the play. I am confident that his production will be one worth waiting for.”

When Rosalind escapes to the Forest of Arden - disguised as a boy and with her cousin and the court fool in tow—she seeks only refuge from her uncle’s wrath. But the woods prove home to even stronger emotions that Rosalind must unravel. All the world’s a stage in As You Like It, one of Shakespeare’s most playful of comedies, where poetry, disguise and mistaken identity intertwine with ardent desire, fervent wooing and the mysteries of love.

“The center of the play, the heartbeat of this play, sits inside the character who, in my view, is probably Shakespeare’s most extraordinary achievement in writing about women: Rosalind,” says Michael Attenborough. “I think Rosalind is the female Hamlet; she is as complex, interesting, deep and contradictory as Hamlet is. She’s smarter than everyone in this play - she’s even smarter than Jaques, and he’s as smart as they come. I’ve got an actress playing Rosalind who I’ve done four plays with, Zoë Waites - she was my Juliet at the Royal Shakespeare Company. She’ll be a wonderful Rosalind.”

Zoë Waites makes her Shakespeare Theatre Company debut in the role of Rosalind. She is joined by a cast that includes several familiar faces, including STC Affiliated Artists Derek Smith as Jaques and Gregory Wooddell as Oliver, as well as Andrew Veenstra (The Heir Apparent, The Two Gentlemen of Verona) as Orlando.

STC Partnerships in the Community:
The Shakespeare Theatre Company, in partnership with the U.S. Botanic Garden, presents “Escape to the Forest of Arden,” an interactive walking journey inspired by As You Like It. An examination of nature through the lens of William Shakespeare’s writing - as performed by some of D.C.’s finest actors - this unique podcast takes participants on a journey through the U.S. Botanic Garden, using the Bard’s poetry as the compass for an immersive detour from the busyness of city life. Hear Romeo call to his love from between greenhouse branches, journey through a fern-filled primeval forest with the fairies of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, remember Ophelia’s watery reflection amidst the flowers she adored, and challenge your imagination without leaving the boundaries of the National Mall. The podcast can be downloaded in its entirety at

As You Like It is sponsored by the HRH Foundation

To purchase tickets or to learn more, patrons can call the box office at 202.547.1122 or visit

Making her STC debut as Rosalind is Zoë Waites. She most recently appeared as Goneril in King Lear opposite Jonathan Pryce at London's Almeida Theatre, directed by Michael Attenborough, and as Maggie Hobson in Hobson's Choice at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre. Regarded as one of the finest of Britain's young classical actors, she has played numerous leading roles for the Royal Shakespeare Company, including Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Viola in Twelfth Night and Desdemona in Othello, touring throughout the UK and internationally with the company. She is a graduate of, and has served as a member of Council for, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA); gives workshops to schools or community groups; and works regularly as a guest director in drama schools.

STC Affiliated Artist Derek Smith returns to STC as the melancholy Jaques, having previously appeared in The Government Inspector, Much Ado About Nothing (mainstage and Free For All productions), The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, The Doctor’s Dilemma, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 (Helen Hayes Award nomination) and The School for Scandal. His Broadway credits include The Green Bird (Tony nomination), The Government Inspector, Timon of Athens, Jackie: An American Life, Ring Round the Moon, Getting and Spending and The Lion King. He has also appeared Off-Broadway in Sylvia (Drama League, Los Angeles Ovation awards), King John (2000 Derwint award), Ten By Tennessee and The Green Bird (Obie award), among others, and in regional theatres around the country. His film roles include Advice from a Caterpillar, The Stand-In, Jungle to Jungle, Internal Affairs and The Jew of Malta.

Andrew Veenstra, previously seen at STC in The Heir Apparent and The Two Gentlemen of Verona, will play Orlando. His credits include Hamlet at Lincoln Center Theater, the 1st National Tour of War Horse, and Off-Broadway roles in An Error of the Moon. Regional credits include Romeo and Juliet, Lion in Winter, Measure for Measure, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Tartuffe, Dial “M” For Murder, The Seagull, Parade, Beauty and the Beast and A Christmas Carol. Among his film and television credits, he has appeared in Blue Door, Rabbits Foot, Kingdom of Hills  (Short, Festival Award for Best Acting) and Bones.

Andrew Weems takes on the role of the court fool Touchstone. He has appeared on Broadway in Born YesterdayInherit the Wind, The Green Bird and London Assurance, as well as in numerous Off-Broadway productions with such directors as Bartlett Sher, Julie Taymor and Sir Peter Hall, including Troilus and Cressida, Pericles, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night. Among his many regional credits are Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (directed by Ethan McSweeny), Don Juan, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, King John and , as well as performances at Hartford Stage, Actors Theater of Louisville, La Jolla Playhouse, Arena Stage, Chautauqua Theater Company and with the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-Upon-Avon.

STC Affiliated Artist Gregory Wooddell returns in the role of Oliver. Previous STC credits include The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband, The Merchant of Venice, Cyrano, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lady Windermere’s Fan, Othello, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Twelfth Night, The Country Wife, Don Carlos, Richard II and The Comedy of Errors. He has appeared on Broadway in The Lyons and Cymbeline and Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre, Encores! at CityCenter, Red Bull Theatre and Clurman Theatre. Numerous regional appearances include PhiladelphiaTheatre Company, Huntington Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Mark Taper Forum, Alley Theatre, Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis and Shakespeare on the Sound.

The cast of As You Like It also includes Happy Anderson as Corin, Ian Bedford as Charles, Jeff Brooks as Adam, Tara Giordano as Audrey, Te’La Curtis Lee as Hymen, Valeri Mudek as Phebe, Stephen Pilkington as Silvius, Joel David Santner as Le Beau, Matthew Schleigh as Amiens, Todd Scofield  as First Lord, Timothy D. Stickney as Duke Senior and Duke Frederick and Adina Verson as Celia. Other cast members include Jonathan Feuer, Luis Alberto Gonzalez, Alex Piper, Theodore Snead and Nathan Winkelstein.

Michael Attenborough is an acclaimed British director who has served as the Artistic Director for numerous theatres throughout the UK, most recently of the Almeida Theatre in London, 2002-2013. He was the principal associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1990 to 2002, where he continues to be an honorary associate artist. Previously, he was associate director of the Mercury Theatre Colchester 1972-74; the Leeds Playhouse (now West Yorkshire Playhouse) 1974 to 1979; the Young Vic 1979 to 1980; then artistic director of the Palace Theatre, Watford, 1980 to 1984; and artistic director of Hampstead Theatre 1984 to 1989. He has transferred productions of The War At Home (Hampstead theatre, 1984) and Through a Glass Darkly (The Almeida, 2011) to New York, and directed the world premiere of Peter Whelan's The Herbal Bed at The Other Place, the Pit Theatre and the Duchess Theatre in the West End and subsequently on Broadway. Attenborough is the recipient of two Honorary Doctorates, from the Universities of Leicester and Sussex, where he is also Honorary Professor of English. In 2012 he was presented with the Award for Excellence in International Theatre by The International Theatre Institute, and was awarded the CBE in June 2013.

Attenborough has assembled an international team of designers to realize his vision on stage, including Set and Costume Designer Jonathan Fensom, Lighting Designer Robert Wierzel, Composer and Sound Designer Steve Brush, Fight Choreographer Robb Hunter and Choreographer Karma Camp.

For this production, Attenborough is assisted by Resident Casting Director Carter C. Wooddell, Vocal Coach Ellen O’Brien, Literary Associate Drew Lichtenberg, Assistant Director Katherine Burris, Stage Manager Bret Torbeck and Assistant Stage Manager Elizabeth Glewley.

*Artists and dates are subject to change.

Recipient of the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) has become one of the nation’s leading theatre companies. Today, STC is synonymous with artistic excellence and making classical theatre more accessible.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Kahn and Managing Director Chris Jennings, STC’s innovative approach to Shakespeare and other classic playwrights has earned it the reputation as the nation’s premier classical theatre company. By focusing on works with profound themes, complex characters and poetic language written by Shakespeare, his contemporaries and the playwrights he influenced, the Company’s artistic mission is unique among theatre companies: to present theatre of scope and size in an imaginative, skillful and accessible American style that honors the playwrights’ language and intentions while viewing their work through a 21st-century lens.

A leader in arts education, STC has a stable of initiatives that teach and excite learners of all ages, from school programs and acting classes to discussion series as well as accessible programs like the annual Free For All, one of STC’s most beloved annual traditions, allowing audiences to experience Shakespeare at no charge.

Located in our nation’s capital, STC performs in two theatres, the Lansburgh Theatre and Sidney Harman Hall in downtown Washington, D.C., creating a dynamic, cultural hub of activity that showcases STC as well as outstanding local performing arts groups and nationally renowned organizations. STC moved into the 451-seat Lansburgh Theatre in March 1992, after six years in residency in the Folger Library’s Elizabethan theatre. At that time the Penn Quarter neighborhood was not considered desirable by many; since then, STC has helped drive its revitalization. The 774-seat Sidney Harman Hall opened in October 2007.