As You Like It (Classic Stage Company)
Closed 1h 40m
As You Like It (Classic Stage Company)
74

As You Like It (Classic Stage Company) NYC Reviews and Tickets

74%
(139 Reviews)
Positive
78%
Mixed
16%
Negative
6%
Members say
Entertaining, Great acting, Delightful, Clever, Disappointing

About the Show

The Bay Street Theater cast reprise their roles in John Doyle's music-infused production of Shakespeare's pastoral romance at Classic Stage Company. Featuring Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn.

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Member Reviews (139)

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67
Slow, Confusing, Indulgent, Great cast, Disappointing

See it if You already know and love this play. I admit I have a hard time sometimes with Shakespeare but I think I would get more w/better direction.

Don't see it if You don’t already know this play. The minimalist approach (again!) makes it very hard to decipher what’s going on. Read more

65
Enchanting, Cliched, Silly, Fluffy, Disappointing

See it if You love Shakespeare comedies and would like to see a somewhat entertaining rendition. It was light-hearted and amusing.

Don't see it if While the language was pretty, overall I found the play boring. A bunch of corny love affairs and sweet songs in the forest.

Critic Reviews (38)

The New York Times
September 28th, 2017

"So cut down it has bled out...You can get a glimmer of what Doyle is after: a plain, vernacular presentation of the text by actors who look and sound like today...Admirable as this approach may seem in the abstract, there is something stingy about it in practice. All pageantry is lost...The deeper problem here is what happens when there is no style, or rather when the lack of style becomes a style in itself...It feels wrong to blame the cast for what is evidently Doyle’s doing."
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Time Out New York
September 28th, 2017

"The principal characters and speeches remain, but without the tension and texture that cohere them. The result is a lot of coming and going that rarely makes best use of its ensemble cast...What’s missing is the weight that can give romance its footing. There are moments to like here, but not enough to love."
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The Hollywood Reporter
September 28th, 2017

"If a production falls flat in a forest, does anyone hear it?...The question springs to mind while watching John Doyle's 'As You Like It'...Whenever things threaten to become tedious, which is often, Doyle has the actors engage in such bits of business as sweeping the playing area or kicking around a soccer ball...The performances are all over the map, with the standouts being Hannah Cabell's feisty Rosalind and Quincy Tyler Bernstine's appealing Celia."
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The Wall Street Journal
October 5th, 2017

"Perhaps in part because the first song doesn’t come along until a half-hour into the proceedings, Doyle’s 'As You Like It' gets off to a slowish, oddly unspecific start...Truth to tell, I never really thought that Doyle’s underlying concept for the production registered with full clarity, nor did it seem that he was entirely at ease with Shakespeare’s comic side. Fortunately, the rest of the cast is full of fine performers, and the second half of the show took wing and gave much pleasure."
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Deadline
September 28th, 2017

"Rarely have I seen such widespread joy cross so many faces like the wave at a football game as I observed during John Doyle’s fleet, exuberant, giddy-making production. And for good reason...The comedy is robust, the gravitas is deep yet not portentous...The heavy linguistic lifting is handled with ethereal bliss by a trio of experts...There’s magic in the air, and then, in just 90 too-brief minutes, it’s gone."
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New York Daily News
September 28th, 2017

"Between life-or-death exiles and jumbled romances, 'As You Like It' is built to spark a gamut of emotions. Alas, CSC’s revival of Shakespeare’s rom-com fires so few of them...Burstyn's take on the famous 'all the world’s a stage speech' comes and goes without making a mark. That’s pretty much par for the course for director Doyle’s staging...The show has a couple bright spots. Music by Schwartz for the song-stuffed play enhance the mood. And Doyle cleverly conjures the Arden woods."
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AM New York
September 28th, 2017

"Doyle’s textual cuts are so numerous that the play becomes too choppy. The transition from the royal court to the woods is also muted due to the bare, all-purpose scenic design. Nevertheless, the intimate production is mostly enjoyable, possessing a speed and seamlessness that suits the play’s whimsical nature. The audience receives a good deal of attention, and one lucky guy is even selected for a cameo. The cast is excellent."
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Theatermania
September 28th, 2017

"Doyle seems to have eschewed comedy in favor of a host of recycled ideas, leaving his actors to fend for themselves...The major problem with this production is that, for a comedy, it's just not that funny. Doyle embellishes the play with his usual kabuki-like flourishes...Sadly, Doyle neglects to refine the comic beats...Original songs fail to inject much levity...The result is a middling production of a second-rate comedy. But at a zippy 1 hour, 45 minutes, it goes by quickly enough."
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Lighting & Sound America
October 11th, 2017

"The production is filled with likable talents, none of them doing their best work...Still, the most notable thing about all of them is their rushed approach to the dialogue...The more breathless the action, the slower this 'As You Like It' seems. Because it never gives us a minute to relax and get to know the characters, it's all too easy to tune out and simply mark time...This is the least enchanting 'As You Like It' I've ever seen."
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Talkin' Broadway
September 28th, 2017

"A frustrating amalgam of beautiful visual images that are undermined by the cast's inconsistent delivery of the text...The reason the show falls short is both simple, yet surprising: the cast's delivery of Shakespeare's text lacks both clarity and volume...Schwartz's jazz-inflected songs...are quite lovely but they don't feel integrated into Doyle's overall vision of the show...While Doyle's directorial approach is simple and unfussy, the cast all seem to be in different productions vocally."
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Theater News Online
September 29th, 2017

"At its best, director-designer Doyle’s production conjures moments of giddy awe that approximate the sense of being a child at play in a forest...Such a genial, organic approach has its pluses and minuses: You gain intimacy and emotional delicacy, and lose some of the drive and anarchic wit. Still, Cabell makes for one of the brightest and pluckiest Rosalinds I’ve seen in years. She’s countered amusingly by Quincy Tyler Bernstine’s Celia."
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TheaterScene.net
October 2nd, 2017

“While the early parts of the play seem a bit rushed from all the cuts, once the play moves to the Forest of Arden it settles down into a stable comic rhythm. Performed without an intermission, John Doyle's production moves swiftly and ends on a happy, upbeat note. This pared-down Shakespeare seems to be the current new trend, not to all minds, but offering pleasures of its own. The Stephen Schwartz song settings turn this into almost a full-fledged musical comedy.”
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Theater Pizzazz
September 29th, 2017

"A lighthearted romp that forgoes some of the heavier political and personal grievances that chased the main characters into the forest in the first place...Schwartz’s catchy jazz melodies...take the often scene-stalling 'songs' that are already in the play and extend them out much further to practical effect...De Shields’ performance is both magical and uproariously funny...Burstyn’s delivery is revolutionary...A satisfyingly full production that almost feels like a terrifically fun musical."
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CurtainUp
September 28th, 2017

"The play's essential pleasures are unharmed by all the text and character cuts...Hannah Cabell is a terrifically engaging Rosalind...Overall, the whole closely knit ensemble is fun to watch...If I had to pick a single standout from all these excellent performers, I wouldn't hesitate for a minute: He may be older than most Touchstones but I can't recall seeing a more memorable one than song and dance veteran André De Shields."
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Front Row Center
September 30th, 2017

"Burstyn’s understated, precise performance delivers a riveting lesson in dramatic economy, simplicity, and truthfulness...There are a number of other moments during the course of 'As You Like It' that rise to almost the same performance level. But these moments are few and far between, and they do not channel Shakespeare as profoundly, or quite so effortlessly...This 'As You Like It' is reduced to a distillation of itself; more the idea of 'As You Like It' than the actual play."
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Stage Buddy
September 28th, 2017

"Doyle has put the emphasis in William Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy on imagination, music and the actor-audience relationship...Although I missed some scenes, dialogue and characters that were cut, there are many delightful additions, such as the way the country bumpkin William was cast from the audience and the way Orlando’s bad poetry was smartly musicalized. Kudos to Mr. Doyle for shaking any cobwebs off of 'As You Like It' and giving us a vibrant new rendering of a classic."
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Front Mezz Junkies
September 28th, 2017

"All the ingredients are here for a delightful skip and swing through the woods into love and marriage, but strangely it just doesn’t really grab hold. Even with the wonderfully fun characterizations...the language doesn’t feel wondrous enough...The poetry of Shakespeare’s 'As You Like It' isn’t there, and what is there is not to my liking. It stumbles in the woods, and no amount of colorful globes of light, rainbow umbrellas, or jaunty tunes will save the story from falling on its face."
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Exeunt Magazine
October 2nd, 2017

"'As You Like It' is a comedy, but you wouldn’t know that from the dearth of laughter surrounding Doyle’s lifeless production...The play plods along with all the zest of a dusty tome...In general, this production of 'As You Like It' suffers from a lack of directorial clarity and specificity. It’s pleasing to look at it, but the various plot points don’t land and the events don’t connect with one another...It’s inoffensive, but bland. There is no passion, no momentum, and no tension."
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T
September 28th, 2017

"Under John Doyle’s exacting direction, the ensemble cast is uniformly excellent. Their performances–believable and authentic–carefully explore their characters’ levels of complexity and the engaging conflicts that drive the comedy’s fluid plot. The production is marred, however, by the inability of the audience to hear the dialogue...Overall, the Classic Stage Company’s 'As You Like It' is a fitting addition to the Company’s fifty years of excellence in theatre."
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Broadway Blog
September 28th, 2017

“Charming but not altogether successful…Some scenes and characters have been trashed or condensed...John Doyle, hewing to his signature style of paring away as much as possible of the script…Doyle's bare, wood-planked, brick-backgrounded set is saved from boredom by a delightfully attractive arrangement of multiple, varisized lighting globes…Stephen Schwartz composed the wonderful, jazz-inflected tunes…Burstyn not only makes every word count, she lands many laughs.”
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Times Square Chronicles
September 28th, 2017

"Fails to elicit any magic...The whole CSC version seems changed and not for the better. The show comes alive when Schwartz’s tunes are sung or played by fiddle, upright bass, and piano. The question becomes, why not musicalize this piece, or at least give us more?...Burstyn is a low-key Jacques, but she has that 'it' factor. Even so, her speech 'all the world’s a stage' just sort of fizzles and this 100-minute production just seems longer than long."
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The Huffington Post
September 28th, 2017

"There’s something admirably loose at the way Doyle tells the story...Because the entire enterprise has the come-what-may feel to it, it has an overall easy appeal. Much of it comes across as understated even at times when the characters are comically overstated...Do notice that at the finale the four couples united are mixed. Is a statement being made? It is, whether intentional or not, and certainly it’s a welcome vision for these racism-stuffed parlous days."
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Wolf Entertainment Guide
September 29th, 2017

"There’s a lot of hell-raising, some of it funny, going on in director Doyle’s staging...But is it Shakespeare?...Doyle’s cast plunges into his conception with enthusiasm, and in particular cases, with special acting talent...While there are doses of charm and humor, the beauty of the Bard’s language is mostly buried. And by truncating the work way beyond some prudent editing, we do not get the play interpreted close to what it probably was meant to be by the author."
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T
October 6th, 2017

"Doyle gives us a hyper-whimsical slant...The trouble is it’s too whimsical, if such a thing is possible...Doyle remembers the goofiness, but the stakes in the romance of the leads and the redemption of the refugees are not very high...There are moments of delight, chiefly during the musical interludes...The leads fail to offer much weight...The action is so short and fast, not much registers in this soap-bubble Shakespeare."
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Daily Beast
October 1st, 2017

"It looks and feels as distinctive as any Doyle production...It is also very confusingly staged...A number of things either don’t happen on stage or happen slightly off stage, with people running hither and thither, which seems like willful and empty rebellions against staging rather than adding to audience pleasure and understanding...It is the melancholy truth-teller Jaques that steals the show...You hang on Ellyn Burstyn’s dry and careworn wisdom."
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TheaterScene.com
September 29th, 2017

"The story’s a little muddy, but director John Doyle and company still fill this trip to Shakespeare’s Forest of Arden with lots of happy sightseeing...The cast all contribute to an eminently watchable production even if the storytelling sometimes seems muddled...The language–abounding in wit and poetry–begins to sound more archaic than usual...Nevertheless, it is a production packed with goodies...The songs give the show yet another extra frisson."
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scribicide
October 1st, 2017

"Mr. Doyle does little to distinguish space, resulting in a somewhat monotonous staging; the shift to the forest is indicated through lighting changes, the wrestling match shoved offstage, and the burden left almost entirely on the shoulders of his actors. What a relief that they rise to the challenge."
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The Stage (UK)
September 28th, 2017

"A mild-mannered affair – a passable production of limited enchantments. It’s energised by jazzy songs by Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz, but otherwise it favours understatement and fails to capture the play’s joy...As buoyant as these tunes are, the music plays a small role overall — we miss it when it’s gone...The cast, solid actors all, are stronger at the drama than the comedy and the lovestruck couples lack chemistry."
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Village Voice
October 6th, 2017

“Doyle’s overall approach is flattening, abstract, and ‘dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage’...He flattens the rhythm out of much of the text, either driving past the jokes or pounding them into the ground. Regarding erotic spark, in this play full of love and gender ambiguity, he supplies next to none, so that his intermissionless hour and 45 minutes of playing time seem more plot recitation than comic romance...Given its castful of gifted performers, that shouldn’t be the case."
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Z
September 29th, 2017

"There’s a lot that’s mismatched in this production...In fact, there’s downright perplexity along with plenty of charm...The costumes are a mixed bag...Same for the music...Major kudos to Cabell for being not only comprehensible while speed-speaking but actually captivating...The remainder of the cast has highs and lows...There are many charms to this new production. But I say to Doyle: Take ten more minutes of our lives, or maybe fifteen...And the work will be the better for it."
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Off Off Online
October 1st, 2017

"Doyle has slashed the text to its barest of bones and reduced scenic demands...The approach…has made Shakespeare’s breeziest, most joyful romantic comedy even breezier…The troupe is a true company, laughing at each other’s jokes and mistakes, encouraging and challenging one another…The staging and actors’ diction are sharp and unadorned, so that even with gaps the storytelling is clear…It’s not challenging or innovative, but it’s warm, inviting, and utterly lovely.”
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Scene on Stage
September 29th, 2017

"Doyle’s vision unfolds over 100 continuous minutes, made possible by judicious editing that retains the play’s witty interlacing of disguises and mistaken identity...This qualifies as bare-bones Shakespeare, but it retains a degree of charm. Played up close and personal to the audience that remains in half-light throughout, it is unpretentious and high-spirited."
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BroadwayWorld
August 16th, 2017
For a previous production

"A fun production...The entire cast is truly top-notch as is the clever creative team...Bay Street's presentation of Shakespeare's 'As You Like It' is certainly another hit...A hilarious story and phenomenal cast make for an entertaining night of theatre."
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Newsday
August 14th, 2017
For a previous production

“Doyle pares the play to its essentials, focusing on its four intertwined love stories…Ultimately, the actors make it all work, many playing instruments, a Doyle signature. As Rosalind, one of the Bard’s most revered heroines, Cabell is especially convincing when, dressed as a man, she moves the story along to its eventual happy ending. De Shields is a wry, witty Touchstone…Burstyn offers a masterclass in making the most of a part that’s, well, not the lead.”
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Let's Talk Off-Broadway
August 13th, 2017
For a previous production

“'As You Like It' is a wonderful play so that, even with this disappointing production, it’s not a wasted evening. The language is so powerful and some of the scenes so funny that they surpass the flat interpretations they receive here, and in particular two actors—André de Shields and Leenya Rideout–are satisfyingly perfect! But all in all, this is an 'As You Like It' without enchantment."
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Hamptons.com
August 15th, 2017
For a previous production

“Exciting and visionary. Visionary because the production transforms and propels Shakespeare's words into a thrilling new dimension of interpretation. This production gives American energy to Shakespeare's words in a dynamic new form...It is without doubt Shakespeare as never before produced…Once again John Doyle shows his genius as a director and with the scenic design...Cabell commands your attention and is fantastic as the creative glue that makes this production successful.”
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East Hampton Patch
August 13th, 2017
For a previous production

“This innovative and entertaining production is ambitious in scope, as it tries to transcend race, gender, stereotypes, and time itself…Hannah Cabell…is an energetic and likable Rosalind…André De Shields as Touchstone, the clown, is a comedic wonder onstage…‘As You Like It’ overflows with songs, music, lyricism, love, and laughter—who could ask for anything more!”
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27east
August 14th, 2017
For a previous production

“Scatliffe is everything you want in a Shakespearean lover…Cabell, as the object of Orlando's affection, Rosalind, is Mr. Scatliffe’s theatrical match par for par…Ms. Burstyn is so downbeat it feels that, while she wears the costume, she merely is walking through the part...Shakespeare may have invented the rom-com, with all of hot love’s many snags and hitches, and his ever-knowing eye was always on the necessary happy ending between lovers. And thus we exit smiling.”
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