André De Shields, Ellen Burstyn and More Set for Stephen Schwartz’s Jazz Era AS YOU LIKE IT at CSC

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Classic Stage Company is presenting AS YOU LIKE IT by William Shakespeare, with Tony Award winner John Doyle at the helm, with music by Stephen Schwartz, beginning Wednesday, September 13 as the first production of CSC’s 50th Anniversary Season. As You Like It is a co-production with Bay Street Theater. Click here for tickets. Classic Stage Company is located at 136 E. 13th St., New York, NY  10003.

The production will star two- time Tony nominee and Emmy Award nominee André De Shields (The Full Monty, Ain’t Misbehavin’, The Wiz) as Touchstone, Hannah Cabell (The Father, Men on Boats, Major Barbara) as Rosalind, and Academy Award, Emmy Award and Tony Award winner Ellen Burstyn (Same Time, Next Year, The Last Picture Show, The Exorcist) as Jacques.

Hannah Cabell, David Samuel, Leenya Rideout, Kyle Scatliffe, Ellen Burstyn. Photo Credit: Lenny Stucker

The production will also feature Quincy Tyler Bernstine (In The Next Room, Small Mouth Sounds) as Celia, Kyle Scatliffe (The Color Purple, Les Miserables) as Orlando, Noah Brody (Co-Artistic Director of Fiasco Theater) as Oliver/Corin, Leenya Rideout (War Horse, Company, Cabaret) as Phoebe, Tony Award nominee Bob Stillman (Grey Gardens, Songbird, As You Like It) as Duke Frederick/ Duke Sr., Cass Morgan (Memphis the Musical, Mary Poppins) as Old Adam/Audrey and David Samuel (The Diamond in the Rough, To Kill a Mockingbird) as Silvius.

An exiled Duke, his banished daughter, a gentleman in love, and a melancholy traveler. Tony Award-winning director John Doyle and Tony Award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz bring Shakespeare’s pastoral romance into the Jazz Age, with lovers in disguise, troubadours in trouble, and some of Shakespeare’s most beloved characters.

AS YOU LIKE IT will feature scenic design by John Doyle, costume design by Ann Hould-Ward and lighting design by Mike Baldassari. David Arsenault is Associate Scenic Designer and Amy Sutton is Associate Costume Designer.

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields (Touchstone) In a career spanning forty-eight years, André De Shields has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, choreographer and educator. He is the recipient of three Jeff Awards, one as Director for Victory Gardens’ 1987 production of The Colored Museum, and two as Featured Performer in a Musical for the Goodman Theatre productions of Play On! (1998) and Mary Zimmerman’s The Jungle Book (2013). In fact Mr. De Shields’ professional career began at Chicago’s Shubert Theatre, now the Bank of America Theatre, in the 1969 production of Hair. From there he moved on to The Me Nobody Knows at the Civic Opera House, and ultimately became a member of The Organic Theatre Company, where he created the role of Xander the Unconquerable, Ruler of the Sixth Dimension in the cult sensation Warp. A multiple Tony Award nominee, he is best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway musicals: The WizAin’t Misbehavin’Play On! and The Full Monty.

His numerous accolades include an Emmy Award for the NBC Special based on Ain’t Misbehavin’, the 2007 Village Voice OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance, the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award, a 2012 Fox Foundation Fellowship in Distinguished Achievement, Florida Atlantic University’s 2014 Making Waves Award, the Theatre School at DePaul University 2015 Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Riant Theatre’s 2016 Pioneer of the Arts Award, the Black Theatre Network’s 2016 Winona Lee Fletcher Award, a 2016 Beinecke Fellowship at Yale School of Drama and nine AUDELCO Awards. and two Doctor of Fine Arts degrees honoris causa one each from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the State University of New York-College at Buffalo.

Ellen Burstyn (Jaques) Ellen Burstyn’s sixty-year acting career encompasses film, stage, and television. In 1975 she became the third woman in history to win both a Tony Award and an Academy Award in the same year, for her work in Same Time, Next Year on Broadway and the film Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. She has received five other Academy Award nominations. She has been nominated for seven Golden Globe awards, winning in 1979 for Same Time, Next Year. She became a “triple crown winner” when she received her first Emmy for a guest appearance in Law & Order: SVU (2009), and won again in 2013 for her role in the miniseries Political Animals. She has been nominated for an Emmy six additional times. In 2014 she was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. Early films include The Last Picture Show (1971 – Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations) and The King of Marvin Gardens (1972), among others.

Her recent films include Draft Day (2014), The Calling (2014), Interstellar (2014), The Age of Adaline (2015), Custody (2016), and Wiener Dog (2016). Soon to be released are The Tale, Nostalgia, A Little Something For Your Birthday and House of Tomorrow. She made her Broadway debut in Fair Game (1957). Other Broadway credits include 84 Charing Cross Road (1982), Shirley Valentine (1989), Shimada (1991), and Sacrilege (1995). She also performed off-Broadway many times, including The Little Flower of East Orange (2008) and The Atmosphere of Memory (2011). In London, she starred in The Children’s Hour (2011). She was the first woman elected president of Actors Equity Association (1982-1985) and serves as co-president of The Actors Studio. In 2006 she published her memoir, Lessons in Becoming Myself.

Hannah Cabell (Rosalind) Broadway credits include The Father (MTC), A Man for All Seasons (Roundabout). Off Broadway includes Men On Boats (Playwrights Horizons/Clubbed Thumb), Major Barbara (The Pearl), Grounded (Page 73) for which Cabell won a Drama Desk nomination, best solo performance. Others include 3C (Rattlestick), Compulsion (Public Theater), Pumpgirl (Manhattan Theatre Club), The Zero Hour (13P), Gentleman Caller (Clubbed Thumb), Mark Smith (13P). Regional and International theater includes The Moors Marjorie (Yale Rep), Marie Antoinette (Polignac ART, Yale Rep) , Compulsion (Woman Berkeley Rep, Yale Rep), Three Sisters (John Doyle, dir.) Irina Cincinnati Playhouse; In the Next Room; or the Vibrator Play (Berkeley Rep). Film and Television includes “The Path” (Hulu – recurring), “Mr. Robot” (USA), “Happyish” (Showtime), “The Leftovers” (HBO), “Law and Order: Criminal Intent”. Voice over includes “Grand Theft Auto” and “The Electric Company.” Cabell received her M.F.A, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and later the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship for Young Artists, 2011.

John Doyle (Director and Set Designer) is the new Artistic Director of Classic Stage Company where he has directed Passion, Allegro, Peer Gynt and the recent production of Dead Poets Society. Broadway: Sweeney Todd (Tony and Drama Desk Awards, Best Director of a Musical), Company (Tony Award, Best Musical Revival), A Catered Affair (Drama League Award, Best Musical Production), The Visit (Tony nom., Best Musical), The Color Purple (Tony nom., Best Musical Revival). Off-Broadway: Wings (Second Stage); Road Show (Public Theatre); Where’s Charley?, Irma La Douce (Encores!). Regional: Kiss Me Kate (Stratford); Caucasian Chalk Circle (ACT); Merrily We Roll Along, The Three Sisters (Cincinnati); Ten Cents a Dance (Williamstown); The Exorcist (LA). In the UK, John has been artistic director of four regional theaters. Numerous credits include: The Gondoliers, Mack and Mabel (West End); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Regent’s Park); Oklahoma! (Chichester); Amadeus (Wilton’s Music Hall). Opera includes Madama Butterfly (Grange Park), Lucia Di Lammermoor (Houston/La Fenice/ Sydney Opera House), Peter Grimes (Metropolitan Opera, NY), The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (LA Opera). He directed the feature film “Main Street.”

Stephen Schwartz (Composer) wrote the music and lyrics for the current Broadway hit Wicked, and has also contributed music and/or lyrics to Godspell, Pippin, The Magic Show, The Baker’s Wife, Working (which he also adapted and directed), Rags, and Children of Eden. His most recent musical, Schikaneder, premiered in 2016 in Vienna. He has also worked in film, collaborating with Alan Menken on the songs for Disney’s Enchanted as well as the animated features Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and writing the songs for the DreamWorks animated feature The Prince of Egypt. In the classical music field, he collaborated with Leonard Bernstein on the English texts for Bernstein’s Mass, and composed the opera Séance on a Wet Afternoon. Schwartz has been inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and has been given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Awards include three Academy Awards, four Grammy Awards, and the Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award.

Classic Stage Company (CSC). CSC is committed to re-imagining classic stories for contemporary audiences. The company has been a home for New York’s finest established and emerging artists to grapple with the great works of the world’s repertory that speak directly to the issues of today. CSC serves an average of 35,000 audience members annually, including more than 4,000 students through its nationally recognized education programs. Productions have been cited repeatedly by all the major Off-Broadway theater awards including the Obie, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Body of Work.

André De Shields, Ellen Burstyn, Hannah Cabell and More Set for AS YOU LIKE IT at Bay Street Theater, August 8 – September 3 

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in  Jade Magazine and

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