Olney Theatre Center's Summer Shakespeare Festival Presents MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING 5/7-8

Olney Theatre Center celebrates its 21st annual Summer Shakespeare Festival with the return of National Players' production of Much Ado About Nothing.

Much Ado About Nothing plays the Root Family Stage at Will's Place on Friday, May 7, and Saturday, May 8, at 8:00 p.m. These outdoor performances are free to the public; reservations are recommended. For reservations or more information, please call Olney's Box Office at 301.924.3400. Lawn chairs and blankets are strongly encouraged. A limited number of bleacher seats are available.

Much Ado About Nothing tells a story of the battle of the sexes. Old adversaries Beatrice and Benedick wage their merry war of witty insults while Benedick's friend Claudio is deceived into thinking that his beloved, Hero, has betrayed him. Potential tragedy yields to high comedy, however, as the lexically challenged Constable Dogberry stumbles upon the truth.

Much Ado About Nothing is directed by Olney's Associate Artistic Director, Clay Hopper. He is also directing Triumph of Love on the Olney Mainstage, opening in later this month. In addition, he has been directing for National Players and Olney's Summer Shakespeare Festival since 2003. In 2002, he founded and produced a new play series called New Works/After Hours at Lincoln Center Institute's Clarke Studio Theatre.

Olney will offer a second Summer Shakespeare Festival production - A Midsummer Night's Dream - later in August, giving audiences a second chance to enjoy Shakespeare under the stars for free.

Since 1990, Olney Theatre Center's National Players has produced Summer Shakespeare, with the purpose of bringing plays of a classical nature to regional audiences in outdoor venues. The Summer Shakespeare Festival develops a new appreciation for "The Bard" by presenting classical dramas and comedies to families in a festival setting.

PERFORMANCE DATES AND TIMES: Friday, May 7 and Saturday, May 8 at 8:00 p.m.


BOX OFFICE: 301.924.3400; olneytheatre.org. Please call for reservations.

LOCATION: Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Maryland 20832. Located just north of Washington, DC, the theater sits 1¼ mile from the intersection of Olney-Sandy Spring Road (Route 108) and Georgia Avenue (Route 97). Parking is free.

ABOUT OLNEY: Olney Theatre Center is a 72-year-old nonprofit professional Equity theater in Olney, Maryland. Located in arts-rich Montgomery County, Olney Theatre Center is easily accessible from Washington, DC, and Baltimore, MD. Olney Theatre Center's mission is to create professional Theater Productions and other programs that nurture artists, students, technicians, administrators, and audience members; and to develop each individual's creative potential using the skills and imaginative possibilities of theater and the performing arts.

In operation since 1949, National Players is America's longest running touring company. Comprised of young professional actors, each year the company travels throughout the country (including every region of Maryland) performing two plays in repertory - one Shakespearean play and one dramatic classic. National Players reaches students and families who might otherwise have a limited opportunity to see live, classical theater. In addition, Players conducts workshops with students in such theater-related areas as Shakespeare, playwriting, acting, stage combat, scene analysis, and improvisation. Committed to the development of young theatrical talent and audiences, National Players' tours celebrate the experience of theatergoing by presenting the world's greatest dramatic literature.

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