Review: An all-ages cast makes for a lovable ‘As You Like It’

Don’t miss the show.

Vashon is not short on performing artists.

Through Drama Dock, local thespians have trod the boards for nearly 50 years, and singers have raised their voices through organizations such as the Vashon Island Chorale and the Vashon Free Range Folk Choir.

Now, those organizations have come together to work in harmony — pun intended — with the talented young performers of Vashon High School’s theater department, in Shaina Taub’s thrilling musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.”

Taub’s adaptation premiered in New York in 2016, involving local groups and residents along with professional actors — creating a wonderful precedent that Vashon has faithfully followed.

And based on the response of the audience members last weekend, we can only hope that this intergenerational partnership will be the first of many to come.

“As You Like It” focuses on the meet-cute between Orlando and Rosalind, charmingly played by Sebastian Gallez and Ruby Johnson in Vashon’s production.

On Vashon, the production has been masterfully directed by Christopher Kehoe with the support of VHS Theater director Andy James, musical direction by Marita Ericksen, and choreography by Elise Ericksen.

To see this adaptation, which includes everything from bluegrass to rap, is one thing. But to see Vashon actors represented across the decades — from an eight-year-old to an 84-year-old — is another.

The talented cast of island favorites excelled, milking the bard’s play for all its laughs, interacting with the audience, and putting on several great numbers.

Standouts include the funny Maya Krah and a strong-voiced Michael Wishkoski, back for another turn after debuting last year in “Fiddler on the Roof.” Crowd-pleasing numbers included “You Phoebe Me” and “In Arden” — the latter a Calypso-like number that will remain in my head as a welcome earworm for many years to come.

The biggest pleasure of all was seeing musical theater come alive again at the high school. The school district theater program has not offered musical productions in the last several years, and long-time islanders, including me, remember when that wasn’t the case at all.

For decades, younger kids watched high school-aged-thespians perform in musicals every year — and left dreaming of the day they’d do that, too.

This production finally gave the school’s current and close-knit crop of theater students a chance to shine even more, bolstered by the community’s singers and actors, as the audience cheered them on.

In the theater audience last weekend were long-time theatergoers, high school students, music lovers and family and friends of the cast — all sitting in the same place to delight in the arts and support each other. As the cast of 35 performers embraced the material, the crowd did as well.

The production of “As You Like It” represents the opening of Drama Dock’s 48th season — the perfect way to celebrate a beloved organization.

Seeing emerging high school singers and actors perform in front of an appreciative audience is thrilling.

But there were other stars out there in the dark of the auditorium as well — the shining faces of high school audience members, clapping with enthusiasm, laughing over Shakespearean comedy, and finding fresh joy in a story that has been passed down through the ages. We hope they will have their own time in the spotlight, soon.

Don’t miss the show.

“As You Like It” will be performed at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 29, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 30, at Vashon High School. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $12 for students. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Lauri Hennessey is a long-time islander and Beachcomber contributor.