It’s a new year, and Folger Spotlight is already looking toward the next production when we head off to the Forest of Arden in As You Like It. Let’s take a moment to meet the new friends and reunite with the familiar faces that will be bringing Shakespeare’s seductive comedy to life.
We begin with the friendship at the heart of the story, a witty clown, and a trio of Folger debuts. Lindsay Alexandra Carter is Rosalind, daughter of the banished Duke, who finds herself falling in love with a young man named Orlando (but we’ll get to him in a second). Antoinette Robinson is Celia, Rosalind’s cousin, best friend, and travelling companion once they decide to strike out and leave the court. Robinson joins the Folger from the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, where she played Celia earlier this year. Aaron Krohn rounds out this group as the court jester, Touchstone, whose quick wit is flavored with a heavy skepticism. All are in store for a world of comic hijinks and romantic escapades once they head into the woods where, as Shakespeare shows us time and time again, anything is possible!
Just Outside the Court
Adjacent to the court, we find the de Boys household, where Lorenzo Roberts is another cast member making his Folger debut. Roberts plays Orlando, the young man who catches the eye of Rosalind during a court wrestling match. Orlando is trying to prove himself and escape the tyranny of his elder brother, Oliver, played by longtime Folger friend Michael Glenn, who was last seen in our breakout production of Sense and Sensibility this past November. A far cry from Glenn’s previous role as the jovial Sir John Middleton, Oliver has devious plans for Orlando…the young man might want to consider running away…to a forest, perhaps? But not before he faces off against Charles the wrestler, played by Will Hayes. Hayes last worked with the Folger in 2015 as an understudy for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, which also featured Ian Merrill Peakes, who will take the stage in Timon of Athens later this year.
The Forest of Arden
Just as Rosalind does, we find friends both old and new when we head into the Forest of Arden. Dani Stoller, who appeared in both A Midsummer Night’s Dream and District Merchants last season, returns to play Phoebe, a shepherdess who crosses paths with a disguised Rosalind. Phoebe is the heart’s desire of Silvius, played by Folger newcomer Brian Reisman. Reisman and Kimberly Chatterjee (who plays the Arden goatherd Audrey) are two more actors who have performed with the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Finally, Tom Story makes his much anticipated return to the Folger as Jaques, the melancholy courtier who famously thinks that all the world’s a stage. Story was last seen on the Folger stage in 2008, when he gave two very contrasting performance during that year: Lady Sneerwell in The School for Scandal and Prince Hal in 1 Henry IV .
A Bridge Between Worlds
Much is made of the divide between court and country in the world of As You Like It, but our last talented group of performers make themselves at home in both. Allen McCullough was last seen at the Folger in Romeo and Juliet, playing Lord Montague. This time, he’s twice as noble, playing both the banished Duke Senior and his evil brother, Duke Frederick. It may be the first time the Folger has welcomed her to our stage, but local audiences will know Daven Ralston from her work with theaters across the DMV. Jeff Keogh does double duty as both Adam, Orlando’s loyal servant, and later reappears as Corin, a shepherd in Arden. Keogh is also no stranger to the Folger stage, having understudied for such productions as District Merchants, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Pericles, and playing Drugeon Drury and Sheriff in Mary Stuart. Finally Cody Wilson is our last guest from Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, portraying both the servant Denis and Arden native William.
This talented cast takes to the stage January 24, when performances begin with our popular Pay-What-You-Will evening. We hope to see you then!
Come see Folger Theatre’s As You Like It, on stage January 24 – March 5. For tickets and more information, visit us online or call the Folger Box Office at 202.544.7077.