Shakespeare Theatre Company Produces Much Ado About Nothing 11/25-1/1


The Shakespeare Theatre Company continues its 2011-2012 Season with the return of Ethan McSweeny (The Merchant of Venice, The Persians, Ion, Major Barbara) directing Shakespeare's romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing. This story of true love and lies comes to life on the Company's Sidney Harman Hall stage (610 F Street NW) from November 25, 2011-January 1, 2012.

A classic tale of matched wits and love, Much Ado About Nothing explores the trials and tribulations of romance. The audience will fall in love and laugh along with this play filled with fun, loveable and devious characters. Everyone can see that Beatrice and Benedick are meant for each other except Beatrice and Benedick. Hero and Claudio, themselves newly betrothed, conspire to trick them into announcing their feelings and falling for each other. Meanwhile, a bitter and troublesome Don John schemes to destroy Claudio and Hero's engagement by besmirching Hero's honor. Touted as "one of the hottest directors to come out of Washington" by The Washingtonian, Ethan McSweeny directs Shakespeare's classic tale.

Much Ado About Nothing is set on a sugar cane plantation in hot and sultry 1930s Cuba. McSweeny was inspired by a previous production of Much Ado directed by his co-artistic director Vivienne Benesch at the Chautauqua Theater Company. He was so taken by the concept that he decided to further exploring the setting. "It's an interesting challenge to return to STC so close on the heels of The Merchant of Venice and with such a different play as Much Ado," says McSweeny. "I don't think anyone would claim that Shakespeare's Sicily and Cuba in the '30s are identical, but if you scratch the surface the parallels ring true: including proximal low level civil conflicts, a society with a strong religious influence, a native sense of machismo, heat, and above all, sexiness. And then there's that great Cuban music and dancing which we will utilize for its maximum celebratory impact."

Some familiar faces will return to the Shakespeare Theatre Company in the lead roles: Veanne Cox as Beatrice and Derek Smith as Benedick. STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn has worked with Cox on multiple occasions and always thought she would be perfect as Beatrice. "I saw Veanne in a show at the Lucille Lortel Theatre several years ago and told her afterwards that I thought Beatrice in Much Ado was the role for her. I'm glad we finally get the chance to see her bring this role to life," says Kahn. McSweeny says of Smith, who recently appeared as Antonio in STC's The Merchant of Venice, "Derek was extraordinary in Merchant; he was the first person to come to mind when I was casting Benedick and I am grateful that he will take this ride with me again."

For tickets and more information, please call 202.547.1122 or visit


Veanne Cox returns to STC to play Beatrice. Cox's STC credits include Michael Kahn's productions of The Way of the World and The Beaux' Stratagem, and Rebecca Bayla Taichman's Twelfth Night. Her Broadway credits include the roles of Mme. Mandragola in A Free Man of Color, Mme. Dindon in La Cage aux Folles, Rose Stopnick Gellman in Caroline, or Change, Yvonne Fouchet in The Dinner Party, Amy in Company (for which she received both Tony and Drama Desk nominations) and Sandra-Kay Macaffee in Smile. Her Off-Broadway credits include performances of Damn Yankees, Paradise Park, Spain, The Wooden Breeks, A Mother, A Daughter, and a Gun (with Olympia Dukakis), House/Garden and Last Easter (Drama Desk Nomination), among many others. Other regional credits include performances with the Kennedy Center, Yale Repertory Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville and others. Her television appearances include Seinfeld, One Life to Live, Cinderella and many others. Cox has been seen in many films including Erin Brockovich, Marci X, Two Weeks Notice and You've Got Mail.

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