Shakespeare Theatre of N.J. brings laughs to the great outdoors
By BILL NUTT | The Daily Record
Two years ago, Caralyn Kozlowski appeared on the Outdoor Stage of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in a comedy that required her to dress as a man.
Starting this Wednesday, June 19, Kozlowski will appear on the Outdoor Stage in a comedy that requires her to dress as a man.
But appearances to the contrary, Kozlowski is not repeating herself. In 2010 she appeared in the Italian farce “Servant of Two Masters” as a woman who disguises herself as her dead brother in order to collect a dowry.
This time, Kozlowski is tackling the role of Rosalind, the irrepressible heroine of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” Rosalind spends most of the play dressed as a man at the court of her father, a Duke who has been deposed by his younger brother. Click here to read more.
“All The World's A Stage”: Shakespeare's ‘As You Like It’ on the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Outdoor Stage
By MICHAEL REDMOND | JerseyArts.com
The critics do what critics do, and a fair number of them don’t have a particularly high regard for Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” George Bernard Shaw, for instance, famously suggested that the play’s title is a subtle dig by Shakespeare himself, i.e., “This play is written as you(the audience) likes it, not as I like it.” That’s a stretch, but there’s truth at its core: Whatever critics may think, audiences love this comedy.
What’s not to love? “As You Like It” takes a remarkably frank look at the joys and folly of romantic love. Its gender-bending elements can seem startlingly modern. The play is clear-eyed and unsentimental about the unpredictability of human nature, about how people change—sometimes in the blink of an eye—for reasons that they themselves do not fully understand. It plays the simple life of forest folk against the sophisticated life of city folk. You have a court jester and a philosopher commenting on all the goings-on, sometimes reversing their points of view. And you have winning songs and one of Shakespeare’s most unforgettable speeches: “All the world’s a stage,/ And all the men and women merely players;/ They have their exits and their entrances,/ And one man in his time plays many parts … ” Click here to read more.
Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey conjures a whimsical 'As You Like It'
By RONNI REICH | The Star-Ledger
When Rosalind must figure out a way to untie the love knots in which she has entangled herself over the course of Shakespeare’s "As You Like It," she casts an arm upward, points to three heartsick travelers and tells them what to do.
She then crosses her arms over her chest to point at herself, comically, but maintaining the authority and mystique of a sorceress casting a spell.
As she says later, "My way is to conjure."
That could be the motto of director Bonnie J. Monte’s resourceful, imaginative production on the outdoor stage at the College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, which plays up the playful side of the Shakespeare comedy while still giving due care to its nuanced language and earnest emotion. Click here to read more.
‘As You Like It’ Charms Audience in Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey Production
By LIZ KEILL| The Alternative Press
Yes, it’s that delightful setting once again. Although the amphitheatre on the College of St. Elizabeth certainly has its challenges, there’s something about Shakespeare under the stars that whisks you off to the verdant Arden forest.
We can well believe we are wandering with the disguised Rosalind as she plots to win Orlando, with the help of her friend Celia. Caralyn Kozlowski is mesmerizing as the love struck Rosalind, mercurial and clever as she taunts Matthew Simpson as Orlando. He is equally smitten, but it takes the entire play for him to finally be united with his true love. Maria Tholl as Celia and Jordan LaRoya as Oliver, Orlando’s privileged brother, are equally smitten. Click here to read more.
'As You Like It': A delightful outdoor staging from The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
By ANTHONY STOECKERT | Princeton Packet
A romantic tale is best for summer, and love’s wonders and heartache are on full display in The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s charming production of As You Like It, running on the company’s outdoor stage at the College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown through July 28.
The Shakespeare Theatre’s annual outdoor show is a highlight of any summer, an intelligent but light and entertaining production in a beautiful setting, beach chairs, picnics and wine welcome. It’s also a family-friendly atmosphere, making it a great way to introduce children to the Bard.
And As You Like It seems made for this venue. Not only is it a romantic comedy, but its setting in the Forest of Eden is perfect for an outdoor production. Click here to read more.
As You Like It: A CurtainUp Review
By SIMON SALTZMAN | CurtainUp
On route to the Greek amphitheatre on the Campus of the College of St. Elizabeth there is enough foliage, trees and general greenery to help us imagine that we are approaching the midlands Forest of Arden. As expected, being in the company of a band of patriots who are making the best of living in exile is, as it is meant to be, a diverting entertainment. Included among the exiles is a convergence of lovers from a variety of social classes, all of whom can be expected to end up happily ever after: some will even get to return to their homeland to see the end of a corrupted government as well as the end of its usurper's reign.
Director Bonnie J. Monte is making a return visit to this "joyous" comedy that previously captured her imagination when she set it in a winter wonderland on the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's main stage for the Christmas holiday time in 2005. It's summertime again and the living is easier, even if designer Paul Canada's elaborate 18th century costumes seem a little fussy for frolicking out-of-doors. The attractive rotating out-of-doors/indoors setting designed by Jonathan Wentz looks on one turn like an arboretum and then with a little spin of the wheel, the royal digs or elsewhere. Click here to read more.
A Lushly Verdant and Sylvan As You Like It for a Summer Night
By BOB RENDELL | Talkin' Broadway
This summer's Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Annual Outdoor Stage production is a buoyant and delightful As You Like It.
Shakespeare sets most of the play in the Forest of Arden with those devoted cousins in exile, Rosalind and Celia (respectively disguised for their safety as a page and a country woman), and their jester Touchstone. Orlando is here searching for Rosalind with whom he had become smitten before she absconded from her father's court. Rosalind toys with Orlando, who fails to recognize her in her disguise.
Of course, that is just a small taste of the complex court and family intrigues which make up the plot of this Shakespearean romp. However, I suggest that you not bother to re-familiarize yourself with these matters in advance or, worse yet, try to stuff them into the heads of pre-adolescent children who are lucky enough to have you to bring them to this production. Click here to read more.
Shakespeare Alfresco–As WE Like It
By SHERRI RASE | QonStage
William Shakespeare’s beloved “As You Like It” is Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ)’s Outdoor Stage production for the Summer of 2013. The performance I attended, on June 26, proved that summer is well and truly “icumen in,” as the sultry high 80 temperatures and high humidity made the evening perfect for a sojourn to the Forest of Arden.
This is a classic Shakespeare comedy with two sets of feuding brothers–identical Dukes: not Patty and her cousin, this time, but rather Bruce Cromer as both Duke Frederick and Duke Senior—which includes some very quick costume changes and temperament changes that only an expert actor could make happen. There is also the story of O’s, Orlando played by Matthew Simpson and the oily, angry Oliver played by Jordan Laroya, both of whom are dashing veterans of the Outdoor Stage. Terence Gleeson plays Adam, the servant of the boys’ father who’s now the servant of two masters–and he certainly has his hands full! Early on there’s a well-staged fight between the brothers followed by a wrestling match featuring Benjamin Sterling as the brawny, cocksure Charles who is initially certain he’ll quickly vanquish young Orlando, only to succumb to the greatest of Achilles’ heels, Pride. Sterling is equally winsome in Act Two as William, a dullard—and quite opposite of Charles—and resplendent as Hymen, presiding over the inevitable weddings that effervesce the ending of a Shakespeare comedy. Click here to read more.
SOMETHING TO LIKE IN STNJ’S OUTDOOR “AS YOU LIKE IT”
By RUTH ROSS | NJ Arts Maven
Outdoor theater, much like painting en plein air or dining al fresco, is a special experience. In the former, the light is clearer, brighter; in the latter, the food tastes better. But a theatrical performance under the stars—notwithstanding the occasional dive-bombing firefly, the hungry mosquito or the intermittent low-flying corporate jet—has a magic all its own. The Greeks may have gone in for tragedy at high noon, but a Shakespearean comedy at the close of day is near perfection.
And no professional company does outdoor comic theater better than the Shakespeare Company of New Jersey at the Greek amphitheater on the bucolic campus of the College of St. Elizabeth. This summer, they have tackled one of Shakespeare's loopiest comedies, As You Like It, in a full production (instead of their usual family-friendly 90-minute versions). The result: an effervescent romp through the Forest of Arden, complete with feuding brothers (two sets!), good people sent into exile because of jealousy, a woman disguised as a man who falls in love with another man, some dimwitted shepherds and shepherdesses and even a flock of sheep! Click here to read more.
Popular comedy moves ‘under the stars’
By THOM MOLYNEAUX | Pascack Valley Community Life
Summer is clearly, indisputably, officially, here. Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey has moved outdoors for its annual evenings of theater under the stars at the amphitheater on the campus of the College of Saint Elizabeth.
This year it’s "As You Like It," one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies. My guess is that the "you" in the title is the audience. Pastoral romantic comedies were popular in Shakespeare’s day and the title announced he’d give them what they liked, but, Shakespeare being Shakespeare, he’d also write with his sharpest satirical pen and he’d affectionately poke some holes in it, and have some fun with, the genre.
The pastoral comedy contrasted life in court and life in the country. Country life was of course, natural, innocent, simple, humane and loving while court was greedy, cynical, manipulative, etc. etc. In Rustic versus Royal, Rustic always won. Click here to read more.
As You Like It at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
By PATRICK MALEY | Exeunt Magazine
There is something powerful about Shakespeare in the summertime that draws theaters to As You Like It. It might be the music—it is among Will’s two or three most tuneful plays—or the romance—jam-packed as it is with four marriages—or the extra-windy road the play travels towards its comic resolution, but summer stages and audiences seem to simply love this play. Of course, befitting comedy, this is not a love without its challenges. As You Like It twists its plot in such a tight knot that the thread is easily lost, a danger not assuaged by its particularly lyrical and complex poetry. When done poorly As You Like It threatens to alienate its audience, or at least test spectators’ patience for dramatic irony.
The play’s saving grace seems to be its charm, and the Outdoor Stage team at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey has found that charm, grasped it eagerly, and amplified it to its fullest. From the production’s whimsical set and soundscape to its briskly developing love affairs to its adorable flock of sheep (Amy Crossman, Tess Hernandez, Isabelle Russo, Kaitlyn Schirard, and Susie Wirthlin deserve special accommodation for yeoman’s work as the baaing chorus), The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey captures all that makes As You Like It a perennial choice for summer stages. Click here to read more.