2017 Regional Theatre Tony Award Recipient Dallas Theater Center, in collaboration with Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts and AT&T Performing Arts Center, presents Public Works Dallas’ As You Like It, a groundbreaking community engagement and participatory theater project designed to deliberately blur the line between professional artists and Dallas community members. Directed and choreographed by Ann Yee, As You Like It will run for five performances from Friday, Aug. 16 to Sunday, Aug. 18 at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Ticketing information will be released at a later date, but tickets will be free to the public and available at several community locations, by phone and online.
The musical adaptation of As You Like It will feature 200 actors and community members, only five being professional actors. Diane and Hal Brierley Resident Acting Company Members Ace Anderson (penny candy, Twelfth Night, Sweat) as Touchstone; Tiffany Solano DeSena (Twelfth Night, A Christmas Carol) as Rosalind; Alex Organ (Twelfth Night, A Christmas Carol, White Rabbit Red Rabbit) as Duke Senior; Tiana Kaye Blair (penny candy, Twelfth Night, Steel Magnolias) as Jaques; and Christopher Llewyn Ramirez (Twelfth Night, Sweat, White Rabbit Red Rabbit) as Orlando complete the professional cast. Making up the majority of the cast are community actors, many from Public Works Dallas’ community partner organizations: Bachman Lake Together, City of Dallas Park and Recreation, Jubilee Park and Community Center and Literacy Instruction for Texas. Full casting information and cameo group performances for As You Like It will be announced at a later date.
Written by William Shakespeare, Public Works Dallas’ As You Like It is adapted by Shaina Taub and Laurie Woolery, with music and lyrics by Taub. Named one of The New York Times’ best shows of 2017, As You Like It is an immersive
dream-like tale of faithful friends, feuding families and lovers in disguise. Forced from their homes, Orlando, Duke Senior, his daughter Rosalind and niece Celia escape to the Forest of Arden, a fantastical place of transformation, where all are welcomed and embraced. Lost amidst the trees, the refugees find community and acceptance under the stars. Featuring an original folk-pop score by Taub and running 90 minutes long, As You Like It is appropriate for all audiences and groups.
Joining director and choreographer Yee is music director Vonda K. Bowling (A Christmas Carol, Hairspray, Public Works Dallas’ The Winter’s Tale); set and costume designer Lex Liang (Fetch Clay, Make Man); sound designer Andrea Allmond (Public Works Dallas’ The Winter’s Tale, Twelfth Night) and lighting designer Amanda West (Real Women Have Curves, Hairspray, Fade).
Public Works Dallas is affiliated with Public Works, an ongoing initiative of The Public Theater that seeks to engage the people of New York by making them creators and not just spectators. Public Works presented The Tempest in 2013 in New York, directed by Public Works Director Lear deBessonet, who was awarded the SMU Meadows Prize in 2015 to bring the program to Dallas. Dallas Theater Center, SMU Meadows and deBessonet began to develop Public Works Dallas during her Meadows Prize residency.
A key initiative of Ignite/Arts Dallas, led by Clyde Valentín, the Meadows Prize is an award and residency given to pioneering artists and creative professionals that allows students to interact with artists at the top of their fields and integrates the Meadows School more deeply into the community. Public Works Dallas launched in 2017 with the production of The Tempest at the Wyly Theatre and in 2018 presented The Winter’s Tale. The AT&T Performing Arts Center has been a partner since Public Works Dallas began, providing space for performances, rehearsals and parking, as well as staff support, production equipment and more.