Shakespeare Theatre Stages 'Free For All' MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, Now thru 9/1
The Shakespeare Theatre Company's annual Free For All is a much-loved Washington tradition, offering free Shakespeare performances to the general public for the past 22 years. This year the beloved tradition launches the Company's 2013-2014 Season by reviving Much Ado About Nothing, initially presented during the 2011-2012 Season with original direction by Ethan McSweeny. Much Ado About Nothing will run at STC's Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW) from today, August 20-September 1, 2013. Resident Assistant Director Jenny Lord will direct this delightful summer comedy for residents and visitors to D.C.
Beatrice claims that no man on Earth can please her; Benedick vows he will die a bachelor. Everyone but Beatrice and Benedick can see these two were made for each other. In one of the greatest romantic comedies ever written, Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare tells the story of two young lovers, Hero and Claudio, their quick-witted sparring companions, Beatrice and Benedick, and the schemes of friends and foes to twist the couples' relationships. A perennial fan favorite, Much Ado About Nothing has become ingrained in popular culture, thanks in part to Kenneth Branagh's 1993 film starring Branagh and Emma Thompson, and most recently in Joss Whedon's modern cinematic retelling starring Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker. The setting of STC's production of Much Ado About Nothing is inspired by 1930s Cuba, updating the original play's island milieu, frothy mix of military and social conflict and Catholic background for a new era and continent. Shakespeare's most playful of romantic comedies comes to life through the sound and rhythms of Afro-Cuban music and dance.
More than 640,000 people have attended the Free For All since 1991, when Shakespeare Theatre Company Artistic Director Michael Kahn and Founding Chairman R. Robert Linowes inaugurated the tradition of free Shakespeare in D.C. with Kahn's production of The Merry Wives of Windsor. The Free For All will be staged at STC's state-of-the-Art Theatre, Sidney Harman Hall, for the fifth year (610 F Street NW; Metro Stop: Gallery Place/Chinatown). "We are pleased that STC is able to offer free Shakespeare productions to as wide of an audience as possible even during these challenging economic times," said Kahn. "One of the major goals of the Free For All is to make Shakespeare accessible to diverse audiences-people who have never been to the theatre, people who are unable to pay for tickets or afford a babysitter, young people, students, people on fixed incomes. They all come to experience the magic of Shakespeare, to see how his words and ideas still resonate with us more than 400 years later."
STC's 2013-2014 Season subscribers and Friends of Free For All may reserve tickets in advance for select performances. Anyone may become a Friend of Free For All by making a tax-deductible contribution of $200.
Leadership Support for this year's Free For All production of Much Ado About Nothing is provided by Ameriprise Financial, CoStar Group and The Free For All Community Partners, the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities-an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts-the Friends of Free For All, the Philip L. Graham Fund, Westfield and The Washington Post. Additional support has been provided by PEPCO.
Similar to last year, STC is offering multiple ways for patrons to obtain tickets to the Free For All. Performances will take place today, August 20-21, 25, 27-28 and September 1 at 7:30 p.m.; August 22-24 and 29-31 at 8 p.m.; and August 24-25, 31 and September 1 at 2 p.m. All tickets are general admission.
ONLINE TICKET LOTTERY:
For those patrons who like to plan ahead, an online ticket lottery is available. Prior to each performance, STC will release tickets to the lottery winners at random. Each winner will receive up to TWO (2) tickets via the online lottery.
Visit http://www.shakespearetheatre.org/ffa between 12:01 a.m. and 8 p.m. on the day BEFORE an evening performance. The lottery closes precisely at 8 p.m. Patrons will be notified via email if they have been selected for the next day's performance. Tickets can be picked up from will call starting two hours before show time on the day of the performance and all tickets MUST be picked up by one half hour prior to show time or they will be released to the Ticket Line. Lotteries for the matinee performances will close one day earlier. The lottery will close on Thursday at 8 p.m. for the Saturday Matinee performance and Friday at 8 p.m. for the Sunday Matinee performance.
The Ticket Line is an option for those who weren't able to enter the online ticket lottery, for anyone who didn't win the online ticket lottery, for groups who want to sit together and for those last minute planners. The Ticket Line will form outside of Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW) prior to each performance. STC will reserve up to 200 tickets for the Ticket Line for each performance. Tickets will be released to patrons in the line two hours before each performance. Often, the line begins to form earlier. Each person in line can receive up to TWO (2) tickets.
As in previous years, Season subscribers and Friends of Free For All may reserve tickets in advance for select performances. Anyone may become a Friend of Free For All by making a tax-deductible contribution of $200.
Patrons can follow STC on Facebook (facebook.com/ShakespeareinDC) and Twitter (twitter.com/ShakespeareinDC) for chances to win Free For All tickets, daily updates on the line and additional information including trivia. Patrons are also encouraged to connect with other theatregoers through social media and talk about their Free For All experiences.