American Shakespeare Center (ASC) celebrates its 35th anniversary season in 2023, and joins the worldwide Folio400 Celebration, in honor of the 400th anniversary of the first printing of Shakespeare’s works. All five of the Shakespeare plays in ASC’s 2023 artistic year were published in the First Folio, including four which had never been published before. In addition to the five Shakespeare titles – As You Like It, Hamlet, Measure for Measure, The Taming of the Shrew, and Coriolanus – ASC will also stage Sarah Ruhl’s ethereal comedy Eurydice, Lauren Gunderson’s witty and moving recounting of the creation of the First Folio, The Book of Will, and the holiday favorite, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. All productions will be performed in American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s original indoor theater.
American Shakespeare Center’s 2023 artistic year begins with a pair of comedies: Shakespeare’s As You Like It (February 17-May 14) and Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice (February 24-May 13).
One of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies, As You Like It weaves a web of complicated love lives in the Forest of Arden, where disguised lovers on the run meet cute, and happy endings including four—count them, four–weddings ensue. Ruhl’s wildly imaginative bittersweet comedy Eurydice reimagines the classic myth of Orpheus and Eurydice not through Orpheus’s infamous pilgrimage to retrieve his bride, but through the eyes of its heroine. Dying too young on her wedding day, Eurydice must journey to the underworld, where she reunites with her father and struggles to remember her lost life. With contemporary characters and plot twists to rival Shakespeare’s most twisted plotlines, the play is a fresh look at a timeless love story.
Both plays will be performed in repertory, with a shared cast of actors who “double” in multiple roles, just as they did in Shakespeare’s time. The spring season sees the return of ASC veterans Topher Embrey, Summer England, Michael Manocchio, Annabelle Rollison, and Constance Swain; and celebrates the ASC debuts of Kayla Carter and Kenzie Ross.
Constance Swain (Utah Shakespeare Festival, several seasons at ASC), returns as the feisty heroine Rosalind in As You Like It. Topher Embrey (Denver Center for the Performing Arts, several seasons at ASC) returns as Orpheus in Eurydice and Duke Senior in As You Like It. The title role in Eurydice (and the role of Orlando in As You Like It) will be played by Kayla Carter (Goodman Theatre, FOX, NBC).
The spring season will welcome two directors new to the American Shakespeare Center. From the 2019 Off-Broadway production of Dog Man: The Musical, Brooklyn-based director/choreographer Jen Wineman will direct As You Like It. New York-based Nana Dakin will direct Eurydice. A core member of Thailand’s most highly awarded theatre company, B-Floor Theatre, Dakin was the first Thai theatre director to direct at the Royal Court Theatre in London (Anchuli Felicia King’s White Pearl).
Tickets for As You Like It and Eurydice are on sale now and can be purchased online at americanshakespearecenter.com or by calling 1.877.MUCH.ADO (1.877.682.4236).
About the American Shakespeare Center
The American Shakespeare Center recovers the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education. ASC’s innovative programming and “shamelessly entertaining” (The Washington Post) productions have shared the delights of Shakespeare, modern classics and new plays with millions over the past 35 years, performing year-round in Staunton’s Blackfriars Playhouse — the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre — since 2001. Beyond the Playhouse, ASC is a hub for Shakespeare education and scholarship and with a long history of touring nationally from Texas to Maine. Founded in 1988 as Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, the organization became the American Shakespeare Center in 2005. ASC programming is sponsored in part by the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge, The Shubert Foundation, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, the Krongard Foundation, and the generosity of countless donors.