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Paulanne Simmons

Summer Fun “Under the Greenwood Tree”

Under the Greenwood Tree
Directed by Tyler Phillips and Carly Howard
The Flea Theater
41 White Street
From Aug. 8, 2013
Tues. thru Fri. at 7pm, Sat. at 3pm & 7pm & Sun. at 3pm
Tickets: $15 online (www.TheFlea.org,) $20 at the door

This seems to be the season of turning Shakespeare’s comedies into musicals. The Public Theater has made “Love’s Labour’s Lost” into a musical extravaganza, which will probably get much deserved praise. But Phillstock Entertainment has it’s own musical interpretation of Shakespeare, “Under the Greenwood Tree,” a 90-minute re-imagining of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” And it is every bit as praiseworthy.

Adapted and with original music by Tyler Phillips, Under the Greenwood Tree is directed by Phillips and Carly Howard, and has choreography by Jennifer. Oman. Howard is the resourceful Rosalind, while Brett Benowitz is her beloved Orlando and Kendra Jo Brook her cousin Celia. Dan Wilson plays the melancholy Jacques, and Kyle Salle is the clown Touchstone.

In addition to being talented actors, the performers are all excellent musicians. Thus they periodically take up their fiddle, or guitar or saxophone to play Phillips’ very engaging music.

“Under the Greenwood Tree” makes no pretense of being true to Shakespeare’s original, as indicated by the change of title. But Phillips has gotten the essential, and the additions are appropriate enhancements.

Scenic designer Young Jaunc provides a set that strews musical instruments among tree-like structures to reinforce the bucolic and musical aspects of this production. And costume designer Christine Samar dresses the cast in clothing that is vaguely Elizabethan but mostly original.

“Under the Greenwood Tree” will be at the Flea Theater until Aug. 18. Tickets are $15 online and $20 at the door. And you don’t have to wait online.


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