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Hamptons Summer Theater Review: Bay Street's "As You Like It"

T.J. Clemente

The stalwart cast is led by the legendary Ellen Burstyn. (Photo: Lenny Stucker)

Bay Street Theater, in association with the Classic Stage Company, is presenting Shakespeare's As You Like It as its final presentation of the Summer Season. The show is 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, one including jazz music. It is without doubt Shakespeare as never before produced.

The audience was exhilarated to see and hear Shakespeare's words in this in this original production of As You Like It. The original music is the creation of Stephen Schwartz, who creates a jazz vibe set to Shakespeare's phrases. The music does not overwhelm, it accents the energy of the production.

Once again John Doyle shows his genius as a director and with the scenic design. His direction moves the characters about and throughout the theater with energy, motion and imagination. Mike Baldassari, Lighting Design, has placed unique lights all around theater. It is brilliant. Ann Hould Ward shows her expertise with Costume Design.

The stalwart cast is led by the legendary Ellen Burstyn (Jacques), who commands the stage with the grace and dignity of a Tony and Academy Award winner. Although she is a woman playing a man's part, Ms. Burstyn uses her talent to do a quite amazing job.

The As You Like It cast. (Photo: Lenny Stucker)

Quincy Tyler Bernstine is unique and loveable as Celia. Andre De Shields won the crowd over with his personalized portrayal of Touchstone. Cass Morgan (Anna/Audrey) showed her versatility and strummed a wonderful ukulele. Noah Brody (Oliver/Corin) delivered his lines with an affectingly measured determination. Leenya Rideout is outstanding in her complex role of Phoebe, as is David Samuel whose power radiates all over the stage. Kyle Scatliffe presents the role of Orlando with venerability that is charming yet stern.

I was most impressed by Hannah Cabell as Rosalind because she has star power energy and stage presence. She commands your attention and is fantastic as the creative glue that makes this production successful.

After all they have the honor of reciting and singing the immortal words of William Shakespeare.

As You Like It runs through Sunday, September 3.

Bay Street Theater is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 631-725-9500 or visit Box Office and www.baystreet.org.

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