Keegan’s production [of As You Like It] is not a traditional Shakespearean play, but instead the DC-area premiere of the musical version of the show, written by co-adapters Shaina Taub and Laurie Woolery as a commission for The Public Theatre in 2017. Taub and Woolery’s musical version replaces some of the dialogue with songs, including Jaques’ monologue, which is the basis of the charming opening song, “All The World’s a Stage.”
Keegan’s talented cast is well-suited for this performance … Debora Crabbe shines as Rosalind, the daughter of the exiled duke who disguises herself as a man to flee with her cousin, Celia (played by the delightful Linda Bard). Crabbe’s charisma carries the show, and her voice elevates Taub and Woolery’s songs – her recurring solo, “Rosalind, Be Merry” was one of the standout numbers. … [Caroline] Dubberly also gives a noteworthy performance as the melancholy Jaques, who dilutes the show’s saccharinity with a skillful balance of curiosity and cynicism.
Additional recognition should be noted for Matthew Keenan’s immersive set, which is impressive and perfectly captures the whimsical tone. Co-Directors Cara Gabriel and Josh Sticklin and musical director Tiffany Underwood Holmes also deserve credit for keeping the show relatively tight – although there are a lot of moving pieces and characters, the show felt well-paced and hit the ideal level of controlled chaos.
Overall, Keegan Theatre’s musical rendition of As You Like It is whimsical and fun, with some light social commentary of love and acceptance. Despite some rough edges, the production is an enjoyable experience.