See it if you respond to a joyful, tuneful show. Altho some scenes are unpolished, the evening flies by in a happy glow. Funny, sweet, inspiring.
Don't see it if you want traditional Shakesp. Most important ideas/characters are here, but not many of his lines. Who cares when this AYLI is so much fun!?
See it if you like the mission of the Public Works program. It's not a shiny polished gem, but it's not trying to be and that's part of the magic.
Don't see it if you aren't interested in a show that has valued community engagement over elite production values.
"Rollicking, poignant and flat-out delightful...At about 100 minutes, it is a brief and generous respite from floods and nukes and violent demonstrations...What makes 'As You Like It' so thrilling is that when the cast is all assembled, it looks like New York City — busy, diverse, terrifically vital...For the optimistic, they are reminders that theater, like democracy, is a collaborative form and that when all those disparate voices come together, the effect can be extraordinary."
“The story leaps off the stage with sizzling choreography by Sonya Tayeh, the tenderest of vocal arrangements by Shaina Taub and playful direction by Laurie Woolery…It’s wonderful to see the way the Public’s productions in Central Park bring the ideal of the public park into the show…It is an incredible ensemble of diverse and intriguing faces that is gathered for this production emphasizing this community feeling…You can take your kids to this show and they have a good time.”
"I found this ‘As You Like It’ to be solid entertainment, thanks largely to its spectacular pageantry. In part because of its scale, it isn’t the most subtly rendered version of the story you’re ever likely to see. Its humor runs to the broad (and sometimes self-referential), rather than to the thoughtful and understated. Still, the rapt audience clearly found it winning.”
"An inspiring rendition...The play briefly covers the romance that ensues between Rosalind and Orlando. Had there been more scenes showing the growing affection for one another, the characters’ chemistry might have appeared stronger. The songs and lyrics were standouts in this work...This adaptation succeeded in bringing Shakespeare’s play about conflict, drama, hope, and life’s inevitable adversities, to life on stage."
"A thrilling array of our city’s vibrant population is singing, dancing, speechifying, and wrestling up on the stage...What Public Works participants lack in polish and training, they make up for in sheer, unadulterated joy...The presence of such a large and radiant ensemble has a democratizing effect in more ways than one...It can’t be easy to stage so many bodies. Most of the time Woolery made it work, making those instances where the staging doesn’t flow seamlessly stand out all the more."