Shakespeare's Romantic Comedy MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Set To Tour Region
How much Shakespeare is too much Shakespeare? Is there such a thing? In the opinion of Midsummer Shakespeare and The Glass Horse Project's Shakespeare in NB, the answer is a resounding no! Which is why both companies have come together to join forces and co-produce a regional tour of Shakespeare's beloved romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing.
Much Ado tells the story of Beatrice and Benedick, contemporaries evenly matched in a war of wits, who are tricked into admitting their love for each other by well-meaning friends. However, the two are put to the test when Beatrice's cousin Hero becomes the pawn in a revenge scheme by the jealous Don John. In true Shakespearean fashion, hijinks ensue as the characters work to come to a resolution that is both heartfelt and hilarious.
Such schemes and antics may sound dated, but this production of Much Ado is set in 2019 and takes place on a yacht club overlooking the water, a locale that may be both familiar to the audience and fresh to Shakespeare's text (which remains largely intact with only minor changes to clarify the language for modern audiences). "In modern day society, we can so often overlook Shakespeare as uninteresting or unfamiliar due to its age. By revamping this production with elements from our own time period, we are invigorating his work in a way that attracts new audiences," adds production director Maura Van Voris.
Inhabiting the country club set Much Ado is Jess Wilson as Beatrice, Nate Punches as Benedick, Kate Martin as Leonata, Sue Salvesen as Antonia, Allison Dukes as Donna Petra, Bill Levasseur as Don John, Michael Cabral as Claudio, Riley Fortin as Hero, Leeandra Booth as Margaret, Palmer Biddle as Borachio, Jordan Smith as Conrade/Messenger, Kerri Lamothe as Mother Frances/Sexton, Taylor K. Corbett as Dogberry, Korey J. Pimental as Verges, Cody Salvesen as First Watch/Ensemble and Juliana Bianchi as Second Watch/Ensemble
The cast of sixteen work together to create the fictional yacht club on stage that marks another instance of "audience-friendly Shakespeare" for the Southcoast, a common core that both Midsummer Shakespeare and Shakespeare in NB hold dear. The production will run approximately 90 minutes and all performances are free to attend. Donations will be gratefully accepted at all shows.
In past years, Midsummer Shakespeare has run for a full month in Onset, sponsored in part by the Onset Bay Association, and has also toured their productions to Mashpee. The company's core mission has been producing high-quality productions that make both Shakespeare and theatrical performances accessible to the community, including a partnership with WCTV in Wareham that allows their productions to be livestreamed and replayed on local cable. Helmed currently by executive producers Bobby Genereau, Melissa Masi Genereau, and Jess Wilson, Midsummer Shakespeare is excited to be celebrating their seventh season by partnering with Shakespeare in NB.
Shakespeare in NB began in summer 2017 with a dystopian, matriarchal Romeo & Juliet and in 2018 produced a female-centered Macbeth. Both organizations seek to break the barriers with Shakespeare and show his works' continued relevance in theatre, literature, and day-to-day life. Says Korey Pimental, of Shakespeare in NB: "I'm so excited to be co-producing this show with Midsummer Shakespeare because I've never seen a production of Shakespeare so rooted in the region that the audience will recognize it right away. It feels special!" Midsummer Shakespeare's Jess Wilson agrees, adding "Shakespeare's works have endured through the centuries because his stories and characters are timeless. They continue to be relevant today, and it's our hope that by setting this production in modern times while leaving the original language, audiences will both enjoy the story and realize that Shakespeare can be timely and fun."
Much Ado About Nothing will tour the Southcoast region for three weekends this summer! The tour kicks off at the Lillian Gregerman Bandshell in Onset July 26-28 at 6:30pm each night. The following weekend, the production will perform on August 3rd on the steps of Fairhaven Town Hall for two shows (1 and 5pm) and on August 4th, the production moves to Shipyard Park in Mattapoisett (at the gazebo) for a 1pm matinee performance. On August 9 and 10, the production travels to Wings Court in New Bedford for 2 shows on Saturday (1pm and 5pm) and a Sunday matinee at 1pm. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and refreshments to productions.
New dates are still being announced, and all shows are weather permitting (some dates do have rain locations); please see their Facebook pages for the latest information and full details of all performances. As always, all shows are free and open to all; donations will be gratefully accepted after all performances.