Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (CSC), Maryland's leading professional classics theatre, will have its longest stay ever at its Ellicott City summer home in 2010. CSC will present seven weekends of programming to accommodate its growing summer audiences. The eight-year-old company will mount its very first production of Hamlet and a first-time CSC director will helm the production of the always popular Much Ado About Nothing.

"Our summer season has continued to grow in popularity, really beyond our wildest expectations," said CSC Managing Director Lesley Malin. "We've extended the season to meet that demand. And since we are running the shows in repertory once again this summer, patrons will have their choice of weekends to see either - or both - shows."

Much Ado About Nothing opens June 11, 2010. Hamlet will open June 25 and run in repertory with Much Ado About Nothing through July 11. Hamlet will continue its run through July 25. Performances are held on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 5pm, with select Thursday performances and Saturday matinees throughout the run.

With its trademark accessibility and energy, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company has built itself a reputation for productions that are intelligent, exciting and entertaining for audience-friendly, informal outdoor stagings. It has put together a cast and crew of talented theater professionals from the region for Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing.

"I'm thrilled that Chesapeake Shakespeare Company is producing Hamlet this summer," said CSC Artistic Director Ian Gallanar, who is directing the show. "Many consider it to be Shakespeare's greatest play and we're hoping to bring our audiences a Hamlet that they will remember with excitement for years to come." The title role will be played by CSC Associate Director Patrick Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick is a familiar face on CSC stages, having previously appeared as Romeo, Bottom, and Henry V, among others.

While it is the world's most popular tragedy, Hamlet is also a vigorous, thrilling adventure, telling the story of Prince Hamlet's efforts to exact revenge on his uncle, who has murdered Hamlet's father before taking the throne and marrying his mother. The play is famed for its layered, deeply developed characters, its roller-coaster plot, and its transcendent language.

Much Ado About Nothing features the beloved characters of Beatrice and Benedick who engage in a "merry war" of caustic wit before they are tricked into admitting their well-disguised love. Funny, sexy, and heartbreaking, it is everyone's favorite Shakespeare comedy. Director Ryan Whinnem's production will be set during the 1930s Spanish Civil War. Whinnem has been directing on area stages for more than a dozen years and served as Artistic Director at Baltimore's well-regarded Mobtown Players, he recently completed his Masters in Theatre, Directing at Catholic University in Washington, DC.

In addition to performances, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company In-The-Ruins features pre-show entertainment that includes musicians, jugglers and stage combat demonstrations to engage the many picnickers who arrive early to enjoy the sights and sounds at Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park. The gates open 90 minutes before show time for picnicking.

The summer season includes other special events and activities, including:
· Free admission for all children under 18, thanks to special sponsorships from Booz Allen Hamilton and Wells Fargo
· Family Friendly Sundays with interactive activities especially designed for children
· Fun Formal Fridays, where couples can rent a private candlelit table
· A special 5pm Fourth of July performance of Much Ado About Nothing with a reading of the Declaration

CSC will continue its program, CSC: The Extended Version, by hosting this special event for each show. The evening will begin at 7pm on Saturday, June 19, with CSC Director of Education, Dr. Kevin Costa, discussing "Villains, Heroes, and the Comic in Much Ado About Nothing." Hamlet's Extended Version will be on Saturday, July 24 at 7pm, with Dr. Dan Collins, a teacher of English at Nichols School in Buffalo, speaking on "The Truth About Hamlet." Both discussions will be followed by 8pm performances.

Tickets can be purchased online at, by calling 866.811.4111 or prior to the performance at the box office. Groups of 10 or more, please call 410.313.8874. For general information, call the CSC offices at 410.313.8874.

Pictures are available under the Media link at

The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company is the center for excellence in classic theatre in the Baltimore-Washington corridor, offering energetic and thought-provoking productions of plays by Shakespeare and other classic playwrights. A strong and diverse ensemble of artists with talent, humor, and insight are the heart of the company. CSC's fresh and accessible performances embrace both traditional and experimental approaches and its lively outreach and educational programming serve the larger community.

Photo Credit: Teresa Castracane

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