FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training Presents AS YOU LIKE IT, By William Shakespeare DECEMBER 31 – JANUARY 18

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December 3, 2014
FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training Presents

By William Shakespeare


(SARASOTA, December 3, 2014) — The FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training continues its 2014-15 season with a whimsical, circus-inspired production of Shakespeare’s playful comedy AS YOU LIKE IT. A farcical story of self-discovery, humor and good fun, AS YOU LIKE IT is a Shakespeare favorite with more than 20 Broadway runs since 1786 and over 15 adaptations for film and television in the U.S. and around the world. It has been translated into numerous languages, staged in a variety of time periods and adapted into musicals, ballets and more. The show previews at 8pm on New Year’s Eve with a special “Pay What You Can Performance,” allowing audience members who purchase their tickets on December 31 to pay whatever they can afford to see the show. It will officially open on Friday, January 2 at 8pm and run through Sunday, January 18.

Directed by Shakespeare veteran and FSU/Asolo Conservatory second-year acting instructor Jonathan Epstein, AS YOU LIKE IT stars the entire second-year class of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. While this is Epstein’s first time directing Shakespeare at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory, it is not his first AS YOU LIKE IT. A seasoned Shakespeare actor, director and teacher, Epstein has performed in six different productions of AS YOU LIKE IT and has more than 25 years of experience working with Massachusetts’ Shakespeare & Company, as well as numerous roles on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in London’s West End.

When exiled by her uncle, the treacherous Duke Frederick, Rosalind and her loyal cousin Celia turn their backs on court and escape to the enchanted forest of Arden under the guise of a male sheep herder and “his” sister, respectively. There Rosalind re-encounters the handsome Orlando and discovers that just as she secretly swooned over him, so he now pines for her. Keeping up her disguise as a boy, Rosalind tutors him in what it means to truly love, and in the process learns this vital lesson for herself.

In this production, Epstein has chosen a slightly abstract and acrobatic approach. The set utilizes a bare stage embellished with a colorful forest of aerial silks. The costumes are likewise circus-inspired and whimsical, though not so abstract as to lose their sense of humanity.

“The woods of AS YOU LIKE IT are magical, but it isn’t the rough magic of The Tempest or the mischievous magic of A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” said Epstein. “The Asolo Conservatory production will create its own set of magical woods out of a thick stand of climbing silks—you could think of it as a huge deconstructed maypole where actors can swing, hide, climb, woo, and reflect on who they are whom they want to become. It’s particularly poignant that they embark on this at the midpoint of their training at the Conservatory, and as each character discovers herself or himself, the actors also discover themselves as artists.”

(In Alphabetical Order)

            Kevin Barber
Mark Comer
Chris Alexey Diaz
Ally Farzetta
Tom Harney
            Josh James
Joe Knispel
Kelsey Petersen
Jordan Sobel
Kim Stephenson
Evan Reynolds White+
Lisa Woods
Duke Frederick, Amiens, Sir Oliver Martext
Duke Senior, Willem
A Charles Boy, Jaques
Adam, Rousillon, Jacques de Boys
A Charles Boy, Silvius
Gentlewoman, Phebe, Deer
Oliver, Corin, Deer
Lebeau, Audrey

             +Appears courtesy of the Actors’ Equity Association.
JONATHAN EPSTEIN is in his second year with the Asolo Conservatory, where he is responsible for the Shakespeare performance training of the second-year MFA candidates. His directing credits include A Moon for the Misbegotten, Henry V, Henry IV Part 1, Coriolanus, Women of Will, The Hollow Crown, Barnes & Noble Conquer the World, The Pretext and The Verdict among others, including last year’s production of Loot here in the Cook Theatre. As an actor he has performed on and Off-Broadway, in London’s West End, and at dozens of regional theatres across the country, but is probably best known for his 25-year association as actor, director and teacher with Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts. His roles with that company have included everything from kings to clowns—Lear, Macbeth, Richard III, Feste, Touchstone, Dogberry, Puck, Benedick, Bottom and scores of others. He was text and sonnet teacher in more than 30 of the company’s month-long workshops for professional actors. This summer at Shakespeare & Company he directed his own adaptation of Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2. He is a two-time recipient of Boston’s Elliot Norton award for Outstanding Actor.

The FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training is a celebrated three-year graduate program culminating in a master of fine arts degree. For more than 35 years, tens of thousands of actors from across the continent have auditioned for admission. A maximum of 12 students are admitted each year. In their second year, the students perform in the Cook Theatre, a 161-seat space designed to create an intimate experience for the audience and actors. Third-year students are seen on the Mertz Stage working with the Asolo Rep’s professional actors in exciting and significant roles. For more information, visit http://www.asolorep.org/conservatory/welcome.


Tickets for AS YOU LIKE IT and the entire 2014-15 FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training season are on sale now at $28 for matinee performances and $29 for evening performances. To purchase tickets, call 941.351.8000 or 800.361.8388, visit tickets.asolorep.org, or visit the Asolo Repertory Theatre Box Office, located at 5555 North Tamiami Trail in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. Box office hours are Monday 10am–4pm, Tuesday 10am–7:30pm, Wednesday–Saturday 10am–8pm, and Sunday 10am–2pm. The box office closes at 5pm when there are no evening performances, and phone lines close one hour prior to the start of any performance. Season subscription packages are also available online and by visiting or calling the box office.


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