Music-Filled As You Like It, Starring Lily Rabe, Launches Shakespeare in the Park Season

The Public Theater's 50th anniversary season of Shakespeare in the Park begins June 5 with As You Like It, starring Tony nominee Lily Rabe and David Furr as exiled lovers in the enchanted Forest of Arden.

Stephen Spinella and David Furr in rehearsal
Stephen Spinella and David Furr in rehearsal (Photo by Nella Vera)

Tony Award-winning director Daniel Sullivan ( Proof, Rabbit Hole, The Columnist), who helmed The Merchant of Venice for Shakespeare in the Park in 2010, returns to stage As You Like It, which will officially open June 21 at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Performances are scheduled through June 30.

Sullivan's vision for the play sets the Forest of Arden "in the rural American South, circa 1840, where folk and roots music perfectly capture the mood of the time," according to Public notes.

As You Like It also includes Tony winner Stephen Spinella as Jacques, as well as Brendan Averett (Charles), Andre Braugher (Duke Senior/Duke Frederick), Donna Lynne Champlin (Audrey), Jon DeVries (Corin), MacIntyre Dixon (Adam), Susannah Flood (Phoebe), Renee Elise Goldsberry (Celia), Robert Joy (Le Beau/Lord), Jesse Lenat (Amiens), Omar Metwally (Oliver), Oliver Platt (Touchstone), Will Rogers (Silvius), Michael Rudko (First Lord), Brendan Titley (William), Grantham Coleman, Andrew Hovelson, Erik Mathew, Justine Salata, Paul Saylor and Anna Phyllis Smith.

Grammy and Emmy-winning actor/comedian/musician and bestselling author Steve Martin composed the original music for As You Like It, which features a live Bluegrass band composed of Tashina Clarridge (fiddle), Jordan Tice (guitar), Tony Trischka (banjo/musical direction) and Skip Ward (bass). The comedy is Shakespeare's most song-filled play.

As You Like It features scenic design by John Lee Beatty; costume design by Jane Greenwood; lighting design by Natasha Katz; and sound design by Acme Sound Partners. In As You Like It, according to The Public, "Rosalind, Shakespeare's most breathtaking heroine, and her boyfriend Orlando find themselves in the enchanted Forest of Arden, where all the world's a stage, and where sudden infatuation is as confusing as it is beautiful. Along with other 'country copulatives,' they discover that nothing transforms, redeems, or enriches experience quite as powerfully as love. As You Like It has everything we adore about Shakespearean comedy: mistaken identity, cross-dressing, madness, mayhem, rage, lust, laughter, and of course plenty of romance, both heartbreaking and joyous."

The Shakespeare in the Park season will continue July 23-Aug. 25 with Into the Woods.

Performances of Shakespeare in the Park begin at 8 PM. Tickets are free and are available on the day of the performance (two per person) at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park beginning at 1 PM, or by entering the Public's online ticketing lottery at

The closest entrances to the Delacorte are located at 81st Street and Central Park West or 79th Street and Fifth Avenue.

David Furr, Renee Elise Goldsberry and Lily Rabe
David Furr, Renee Elise Goldsberry and Lily Rabe (Photo by Joan Marcus)