As You Like It: A Community Theater Experience
The Grace Theatre Company took on a unique task this spring for their third show of the year and their annual musical. The musical adaptation, "As You Like It," was originally commissioned and produced by The Public Theater as a part of their Public Works project, with alumna Rebecca Naomi Jones ’95 starring as Roaslind, last summer. The head of the drama department, Sabrina Jacobs, saw the original production and immediately reached out to The Public to commission the show for our students.
The spring production followed the Public Works model and opened auditions to the entire Grace community. Over 100 people auditioned for the show, far surpassing the expectations of both Ms. Jacob and associate director and musical director, Andrew Leonard. “This was a huge learning process for us,” Ms. Jacobs recalled, “especially in terms of managing expectations all around.” This community forum, while exciting also brought its challenges. Given the variety of the cast, the rehearsal process was much different from previous performances. As a whole, the cast rehearsed together only once a week, while musical numbers and smaller group rehearsals took place three to four times a week. For Ms. Jacobs, the most exciting part of this show was watching how the diverse cast worked together. “It has been really fun to see the younger students interact and look up to the high school actors, and some of the more seasoned adults set the example for professionalism for everyone in the room.”
Keep an eye out for a full feature in the next issue of Grace Magazine this summer.
See the photos by Irene Kaufman here.