This is a past event.

Shakespeare In the Park: As You Like It 

When: Thursdays-Sundays, 7:30 p.m. and Mon., Sept. 1. Continues through Sept. 15 2014
Price: $10-50
nashvilleshakes.org
Updating the Bard in search of audience accessibility can be a hit-or-miss proposition. Yet Nashville Shakespeare Festival artistic director Denice Hicks always seems to have fresh ideas for previously untried settings and historical eras, and her summer Shakespeare in the Park mountings have, through the years, fairly reflected the risk-reward entertainment proposition. Back in 2000, Hicks updated As You Like It to a Wild West milieu, and here the popular pastoral comedy — replete with the de rigueur disguised identities and romantic complications — is set during the Great Depression and enlivened by an Americana soundtrack courtesy of songwriting legend David Olney, who performs the role of Amiens and contributes original tunes crafted specifically for the show. For accompaniment, musical director Stan Lawrence leads an authentic jam band that features players from the Musical Heritage Center in nearby Pegram. Hicks’ staging is inspired by the optimistic film comedies of the 1930s, and the Hooverville ambience recalls tough times that are made better via catchy music, good storytelling and some buck dancing. Olney, whose musical colleagues through a long career have included folks like The Band’s Rick Danko and Garth Hudson, as well as songwriting greats Rodney Crowell and John Prine, is fresh off an Aug. 6 Music City Roots gig at The Factory at Franklin. He is joined onstage by talented, experienced and mostly familiar Music City thespians such as Emily Landham, Nat McIntyre, Derek Whittaker, Amanda Card and Brian Webb Russell, plus a dozen energetic members of the NSF Apprentice Company. The tech team is led by Morgan Matens (set), June Kingsbury (costumes) and Anne Willingham (lights). Admission is free as always, but the company really appreciates all reasonable gratuities ($10 suggested donation). Food and drink vendors open at 6 p.m.; preshow entertainment commences at 6:30 p.m.; performance begins at 7:30 p.m. MARTIN BRADY

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