First Stage Presents One of Shakespeare’s Greatest and Most Beloved Comedies


-Brings Music, Love and Laughter to the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center this March-

By William Shakespeare

Directed by James Fletcher


Milwaukee, WI – March 4, 2019 – Featuring First Stage’s award-winning Young Company, Shakespeare’s delightful romantic comedy AS YOU LIKE IT arrives in March at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center as a needed respite from the harsh Wisconsin winter. Directed by Milwaukee theater professional James Fletcher, AS YOU LIKE IT tells the story of Rosalind as she is banished from her uncle Duke Frederick’s court. She must then flee into the Forest of Arden with her cousin Celia and the fool Touchstone. There they encounter clowns, noblemen and even Rosalind’s new love Orlando – who needs to learn a few things before he will deserve her. AS YOU LIKE IT is filled with music, love, laughter and reminders of what is most important in this world. Sponsored by United Performing Arts Fund.


AS YOU LIKE IT runs March 8 – 24 at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, located at 325 W. Walnut Street in downtown Milwaukee. Tickets are $14. Tickets are available are available online at or through the First Stage Box Office at (414) 267-2961. Performance runtime is approximately two hours and fifteen minutes, including intermission. Suggested for families with young people ages 12+.


In reflecting on the play, director James Fletcher had this to say, “The Forest of Arden possesses a simple magic – it contains the magic of double meaning. This play is filled with words that have double, triple, even quadruple meanings. When language can have unlimited meaning, anything is possible. It has a transformative effect, and with only one notable exception, it transforms everyone who enters its confines. It transforms woman to man, vengeance to forgiveness and hate to love. Arden has no place for evil or cynicism, and those who are unable or unwilling to adapt and transform are banished from its confines. The world of politics from which our protagonists flee is not a world with multiple meanings and multiple possibilities, and much like today, words there are used to wound and silence. In the forest where there is room for thought and reflection, words can and do have a healing effect. It is only in this world of nature that things can be reinterpreted, renewed and refreshed. We are eager for audiences to discover their own meaning in watching our Young Company production of AS YOU LIKE IT.”


Added Director of the Young Company, Matt Daniels, “It is always a joy to hear our students speaking these words. Shakespeare intended his plays to be heard and seen, not read in a classroom, and having age appropriate actors bring Rosalind and Orlando to life (along with all the other young lovers in the play) allows audiences a special look into this piece. Plus it’s fun and smart and has Shakespeare’s greatest heroine, and one of his most famous lines, which reminds us that we all have roles to play in every aspect of our lives.”



James Fletcher (Director) is a theater professional in Milwaukee and wears many hats as a producer, director, actor, writer, teacher and fight choreographer. Past directing credits for First Stage include THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT, THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, THE VISIT, ROMEO AND JULIET, TWO SHAKESPEAREAN ACTORS, JUNIE B. JONES IS NOT A CROOK and HAMLET. He is the founder of The Bunny Gumbo Theatre Company, where he serves as Artistic Director.


Matt Daniels (Director of the Young Company) is a frequent collaborator at First Stage, as an actor (THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE, A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, ELLA ENCHANTED, SHREK THE MUSICAL, A MIDNIGHT CRY and A WRINKLE IN TIME, among others), director and movement director (Roald Dahl’s JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, THE SNOW, RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER™: THE MUSICAL among others), and Director of the Young Company, where he teaches and directs (HENRY V, ANIMAL FARM, TXT U L8R, OUR TOWN, among others). Matt’s other acting credits include appearances at Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks, In Tandem Theater, and the late Milwaukee Shakespeare, as well as Forward Theater, Kentucky Repertory Theater, Lake Geneva Theater Company, several regional Shakespeare Festivals and on many independent stages in New York. In addition to First Stage his directing work has been seen at MCT’s New Play Development series, Sunset Playhouse, goats & monkeys and in New York with his company Tyrannosaurus rep. An avid ukulelist, he is working on his first album, “Welcome to Clowntown.” Matt is a graduate of the Juilliard School Drama Division.


The Young Company cast for AS YOU LIKE IT includes: Sylvie Arnold (from Hubertus) as Rosalind; Molly Boyle (from Port Washington) as Orlando; Kayla Salter (from Germantown) as Celia; Magdalyn Rowley-Lange(from Milwaukee) as Oliver; Bradley Nowacek (from Wauwatosa) as Touchstone; Zora Allison (from Milwaukee) as Duke Senior; Mary Jensik (from Greenfield) as Jaques; Megan Grizzle (from Shorewood) as Amiens/Hymen; Eloise Field (from Oconomowoc) as Duke Frederick/Jaques DeBoys; Sam Mulvey (from Milwaukee) as LeBeau/William; Kamani Graham (from Milwaukee) as Charles/Silvius; Morgan McKinnis (from Grafton) as Phoebe; Kate Ketelhohn (from Cedarburg) as Corin; Addy Grace (from Milwaukee) as Audrey; Lindsay Nelsen (from Shorewood) as Adam and Isabel Bastardo (from St. Francis) as Sir Oliver Martext.


The Artistic Staff for AS YOU LIKE IT includes: James Fletcher (Director); Matt Daniels (Director of the Young Company); Brandon Kirkham (Scenic Designer); Marisa Abbott (Lighting Designer); Lyndsey Kuhlmann (Costume Designer); Matt Whitmore (Sound Designer) and Lauren Gingold (Stage Manager).


Tickets are $14 – Tickets may be purchased at or by phone (414) 267-2961.

Group Sales – Groups of 10 or more receive discounts off regular single ticket prices on most First Stage performances at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center. Call (414) 267-2964 or email for more information.

First Stage Family Packages – any combination of tickets for three or more plays in the 2018/19 season – are on sale now. Family package prices are available at up to 30% off the cost of regular single ticket prices. Benefits include unlimited ticket exchanges, backstage tours and more.




What: First Stage Young Company presents: AS YOU LIKE IT


Location: Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, 325 W. Walnut Street, Milwaukee


Dates: March 8 – 24, 2019


Description: When Rosalind is banished from her uncle Duke Frederick’s court, she must flee into the Forest of Arden with her cousin Celia and the fool Touchstone. There, they encounter clowns, noblemen, and even Rosalind’s new love Orlando – who will need to learn a few things before he will deserve her. One of Shakespeare’s greatest and most beloved comedies, AS YOU LIKE IT is filled with music, love, laughter and reminders of what is most important in this world. Performance runtime is approximately two hours and fifteen minutes, including intermission. Suggested for families with young people ages 12+.



  • Friday, March 8 at 7:00 p.m. – OPENING NIGHT
  • Saturday, March 9 at 3:30 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 10 at 3:30 p.m.
  • Friday, March 15 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 16 at 3:30 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 17 at 3:30 p.m.
  • Friday, March 22 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 23 at 3:30 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 24 at 3:30 p.m.


Ticket and information: Tickets are $14. Call (414) 267-2961 or online at



About First Stage

First Stage is one of the nation’s leading theaters for young people and families. First Stage touches hearts, engages minds and transforms lives by creating extraordinary theater experiences through professional theater productions that inspire, enlighten and entertain. Its Theater Academy, the nation’s largest high-impact theater training program for young people, fosters life skills through stage skills and serves over 2,100 students each year. As Wisconsin’s leader in arts-integrated education in schools, First Stage’s dynamic Theater in Education programs promote literacy, character building and experiential learning throughout the curriculum, serving over 20,000 students each year. First Stage was selected to participate in the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2012), and was the recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal’sEureka Award, recognizing creativity and innovation in business, education and the arts for its Next Steps program for students on the autism spectrum (2013, 2015). First Stage is a member of TYA/USA, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, the Wisconsin Alliance for Arts Education, Milwaukee Arts Partners and is a cornerstone member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).

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