Shakespeare in the Park returning with ‘As You Like It’
The Hudson Reed Ensemble will return to Galena Plaza this summer with a production of William Shakespeare’s comedy “As You Like It.” The play will mark the 10th anniversary of the nonprofit’s Shakespeare in the Park series, and the company’s return to the park after a two-summer absence.
“As You Like It” is scheduled to open Aug. 19 and run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Sept. 4. The city of Aspen has been redeveloping Galena Plaza, which has kept the theater troupe out of its summer home since the 2013 production of “Romeo and Juliet.”
The company is coming off of well-received runs of “The Turn of the Screw” in the fall and “Bus Stop” this spring, along with the holiday reading of “A Christmas Carol,” and company director Kent Reed is hoping to impress equally with production value and performance quality in “As You Like It.”
“We’re trying to elevate,” he said last week.
Reed is now looking for actors, singers and dancers to pull of the Shakespeare adaptation. The free summer series condenses Shakespeare’s works into under 90 minutes, and Reed has earned a reputation for making some bold artistic choices with their presentation: Hudson Reed’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” for instance, was set in the Wild West and its “Twelfth Night” featured tap-dancing and songs from the Roaring ’20s.
For this summer’s show, he’s mulling using soft-shoe dance and character-based music from the likes of Joe Cocker and Edith Piaf.
Casting for “As You Like It” will begin with auditions May 22 in the Rio Grande Room. Rehearsals are scheduled to begin July 5. Reed said he is looking for performers ages 16 to 75. He’s open to casting across gender and is particularly interested, he said, in women to play Jacques or Touchstone.
After getting high-caliber performances from children and teens in both “The Turn of the Screw” and “Bus Stop,” Reed said he is aiming to cast young valley actors again in “As You Like It.”
“I’m really excited to do three plays in a row where we have young people in the cast,” he said.
In addition, Reed is preparing for a fall production of Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull.” Reed is planning to workshop the Russian classic with his cast through the summer, in advance of September rehearsals and a late October opening.
“It’s Chekhov, so it’s a difficult play to pull off,” he said. “It takes a depth of acting.”
More info on the “As You Like It” casting call is available at http://www.hudsonreedensemble.org.
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