‘Bridge’ to Shakespeare’s worst show? - Brooklyn Paper

‘Bridge’ to Shakespeare’s worst show?

As they like it: The Brooklyn Academy of Music has another gala opening this week with “As You Like It,” the latest production of The Bridge Project, a collaboration between U.S. and British actors. Director Sam Mendes (front and center) is flanked by his cast.
Evan Kafka

The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s trans-Atlantic “Bridge Project” will start its second season with a Shakespeare play that’s a bit of a comedown from prior works in the series, “The Cherry Orchard” and “The Winter’s Tale.”

“As You Like It,” one of the Bard’s most-performed, but certainly not best, plays, began previews on Jan. 12, but critics won’t be allowed in until next week (catch The Butcher of Flatbush Avenue Extension’s review in our issue of Jan. 29).

One thing that will be on our minds is the low-wattage of this particular Bridge Project event. Where “The Cherry Orchard” and “The Winter’s Tale” boasted the stylings of Ethan Hawke, plus radiant performances by Simon Russell Beale, Rebecca Hall, Josh Hamilton and Sinéad Cusack, “As You Like It” features Michelle Beck (from Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Christian Camargo (best known for the film, “The Hurt Locker”), Stephen Dillane (Broadway’s “The Real Thing”), Ron Cephas Jones (Broadway’s “Gem of the Ocean”), Juliet Rylance (Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’s “The Winter’s Tale”) and Thomas Sadoski (Broadway’s “reasons to be pretty”).

Holding it all together is Director Sam Mendes, the theater and film auteur (“American Beauty”) who helmed the previous Bridge Project productions.

One of Shakespeare’s so-called “pastoral comedies,” “As You Like It” is actually best known for all the cross-dressing in a plot that has more gender bending than a night at Lucky Cheng’s. The good news? During the run of “As You Like It,” the same cast will also begin performances of “The Tempest,” Shakespeare’s last play. Both shows will then run in repertory through March 13.

“As You Like It” at the BAM Harvey Theater [651 Fulton St. at Rockwell Place in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100], Jan. 12-March 13. “The Tempest” runs Feb. 14-March 13 at the same theater.

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