EXCLUSIVE Q&A: Angel Universe of Public Works’ As You Like It

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It’s the most magical time of year in New York City when The Public Theatre presents its annual Free Shakespeare in the Park at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park. (This year marks their 60th time doing so AND the 10th Anniversary of Public Works.) After a wildly successful gender-swapped Richard III, the second play of the summer is actually a musical version of the comedy As You Like It. We got the pleasure to speak with Angel Universe about his role.

SRS: What do you hope audiences take away from As You Like It

AU: Community is possible. I would want the audience to be able to see that you can create an environment that is love and care focused, and to be inspired to do that in their own worlds and to share that with their communities. 

SRS: How do you relate to your character? 

AU: My character starts as a Lady in Waiting who works for Rosalind in the Court, who gets exiled to Arden and transitions to a more masculine presenting Ardenite who is apart of Duke Senior’s entourage. As a AFAB trans person, who comes from a very feminine and constricting childhood, being able to break free from that and find myself and be celebrated for expressing myself in the trans community is a direct correlation to my character. I’m really honored to be able to share my story through my character. 

SRS: This is a musical adaptation. Do you have a favorite song in the show? 

AU: My favorite song is definitely the final ensemble number “Still I Will Love.” 

SRS: What would your Forest of Arden look like? 

AU: My forest of Arden would definitely be a tropical island, with a community centered on care and action towards liberation of ourselves and others. 

SRS: What would be your dream Shakespearean role? 

AU: My dream Shakespearean role would actually be Rosalind in As You Like It, her character of being exiled because she inspires her community is something I really admire and would love to play. 

SRS: You have worked with The Public in the past. What makes you come back for more? 

AU: How much fun I have. I’ve been doing Public Works for the last 8 years and every time I come back I’m welcomed, and embraced and you can feel that Public Works is about taking care of one another while also having fun, and producing some beautiful art. 

SRS: Do you have any pre-show rituals? 

AU: I am a naturally really anxious person, so before show or rehearsal I always spend some alone time to calm my nerves and give myself some affirmations. 

SRS: What are your dressing room necessities? 

AU: Water and deodorant. Especially working outside, I always keep my deodorant in my dressing room.

Find out more and how to get your free tickets HERE.