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4th Wall Theatre Presents MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING This December

For the upcoming holiday season, 4th Wall Theatre Company (formerly Stark Naked Theatre Company) brings love and laughter to Houston audiences with Shakespeare's beloved romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing. Widely considered to be one of Shakespeare's best comedies, Much Ado is a delightfully hilarious and witty tale of love, friendship and intrigue. Appropriate for all ages, this not-to-be-missed holiday treat opens on December 1st and runs through Christmas Eve.

Much Ado About Nothing reunites Houston's favorite acting couple-Philip Lehl and Kim Tobin-Lehl, last seen onstage together in 4th Wall Theatre's critically acclaimed and electrifying production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. In Much Ado, the Lehls play Benedick and Beatrice-long-standing friends and verbal sparring partners-who are viewed as the epitome of true love by everyone in town except themselves. Determined to convince the pair to admit their true feelings for one another, young lovers Hero and Claudio hatch a misguided plot to trick Benedick and Beatrice into confessing their love. Susan Draper, Philip Hays, and Herman Gambhir round out this talented ensemble cast.

A perennial favorite, Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing continues to delight theatre-goers from Broadway to the West End and beyond. In the U.K., Telegraph theatre critic Charles Spencer declares Much Ado to be "the greatest romcom of them all...More than 400 years on, Shakespeare's play has lost none of its power to delight - and to astonish." Likewise on this side of the pond, the New York Times lovingly proclaims Much Ado About Nothing to be a "show that reminds you that plays are meant to live off the page, jostling for space in a room full of people...[I]t feels like magic every time."

This holiday season, bring family and friends to 4th Wall Theatre Company's production of Shakespeare's beloved romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing.

Previewing on December 1st, Much Ado opens on December 2nd, and runs through Saturday, December 24th, 2016. Performances will be held at 4th Wall's STUDIO 101, located at Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring Street, Houston, Texas, 77007. Regular show times are as follows: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3:00 pm, and a special "Pay What You Can" performance on Monday, December 19th at 7:30 pm. Individual tickets (priced at $29 for adults, $23 for seniors and $15 for students) and $49 Premier Reserved tickets are available for all performances. To purchase tickets for Much Ado About Nothing, please visit 4th Wall Theatre Company's (formerly Stark Naked Theatre Company) website at 4thwalltheatreco.com or call 832.786.1849.

Cast and Creative Team of Much Ado*

Philip Lehl (Co-Director/Benedick and others) is a Houston-based actor, director, and teacher. Co-Founder and co-Artistic Director of 4th Wall Theatre Company, Philip has appeared in the company's productions of True West, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Stage Kiss, The God Game, The Winter's Tale, Faith Healer, Macbeth, Dinner With Friends and Debt Collectors. As a director, Philip's productions include: Body Awareness (at 4th Wall Theatre), Almost, Maine and Reckless (with Brave Dog Theatre), Art (at Generations), Ferdinand the Bull (at Stages Repertory Theatre), On the Town (co-director, Bayou City Concert Musicals) and Debt Collectors (co-director, 4th Wall Theatre Company). On Broadway, Philip's acting credits include roles in Blood Brothers and The Kentucky Cycle, the Off-Broadway production of Hundreds of Hats as well as the first National Tour of Titanic, the Musical. Since arriving in Texas in 2001, Philip has been a mainstay of the Houston theatre scene, and he was most recently seen in the Alley Theatre's production of The Nether. Philip's extensive list of credits also includes: Oh, the Humanity, Yankee Tavern, I Am My Own Wife, Mr. Marmalade, Lady, Souvenir, Amy's View, The Pavilion, and Dirty Blonde with Stages Repertory Theatre; over thirty productions (and former resident company member) with the Alley Theatre, including: Clybourne Park, The Pillowman, The Farnsworth Invention, Eurydice, The Crucible, The Exonerated, Our Lady of 121st Street, The Mousetrap, Hamlet and The Invention of Love; Main Street Theatre's Arcadia; as well as King John, Romeo and Juliet, Love's Labours Lost, Julius Caesar, and Cymbeline with the Houston Shakespeare Festival. As a current member of the Classical Theatre Company's resident Acting Company, Philip has appeared in productions of Ghosts, The Tempest, Uncle Vanya, and The Merchant of Venice. With Theatre-Under-The-Stars (TUTS), Philip has appeared in A Wonderful Life, The Sound of Music, and one memorable performance as Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. Other productions include: 12 Angry Men with AD Players; Our Town, Bat Boy, and Spring Awakening with Generations; Turn of the Screw at Unity Theatre, as well as several productions with the Bayou City Concert Musicals (BCCM), including: On the Town, Fiorello, Assassins, and She Loves Me. Philip has worked with numerous regional theatres throughout the country, including: St. Louis Repertory, Cleveland Play House, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Missouri Repertory Theatre, McCarter Theatre, Portland Stage Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, The New Harmony Theatre and Weston Playhouse. Film and Television credits include Tripwire, The Nanny, Martial Law and Hollywood Off-Ramp. Philip graduated from the Drama Division of the Juilliard School and Drake University, and trained with the National Theatre Institute as well as the Moscow Art Theatre School.

Kim Tobin-Lehl (Co-Director/Beatrice and others) is co-Founder and co-Artistic Director of 4th Wall Theatre Company. In addition to directing credits in both NYC and L.A., Kim has directed the following productions for 4th Wall Theatre/Stark Naked Theatre: True West, Small Mouth Sounds, Ho Ho Humbug 2.0, A Midsummer Night's Dream and A Winter's Tale. Kim has acted in the company's productions of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Small Mouth Sounds, Stage Kiss, Ho Ho Humbug, The God Game, Faith Healer, Macbeth, All Girls, God of Carnage, Body Awareness, Dinner with Friends, Debt Collectors and Reckless & Almost, Maine when Brave Dog Players. A Houston native, Kim has a BA in acting and directing from the University of Houston (including training with Jose' Quintero, Edward Albee & Sidney Berger) and, in addition to appearing in numerous regional productions, she won the "Actress Excellence" award at the Texas College Play Festival for her portrayal of Sarah in Children of a Lesser God. After relocating to New York she trained with/at a number of elite teachers and conservatories, including: Stella Adler & The Stella Adler Conservatory, Gene Frankel, Circle in The Square, The Shakespeare Lab at The Public Theatre and Seth Barrish & Lee Brock at The Barrow Group. In New York, Kim was an officer for the New Mercury Theatre Company, where (among other roles), she produced and starred (as Sally) in the 1995 revival of Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind. Kim later became the Artistic Director of the Blue Sphere East theatre company (the New York sister company to the acclaimed Blue Sphere ALLIANCE THEATRE company based in Los Angeles). Her favorite off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway credits include: Talk to Me Like the Rain..., A Streetcar Named Desire, The Fifth of July, Fool for Love, Savage in Limbo, The Smell of the Crowd, Bed, Bawd & Beyond, Impassioned Embraces (Emotional Recall), Ctrl, Alt, Delete and Trust, the Barrow Group's production of Short Stuff Two, and their production of her original one-woman show, Inside Out. Kim spent over three years in Los Angeles studying with SAndy Marshall and Larry Moss, and highlights of her LA theatre productions include: the world premiere of Children of Shame, The Interrogation, Masseur, Baby with the Bathwater, Check to Check, and The Foreigner. Kim's film credits include roles in The Big Lebowski, The Alarmist, Ash, and Sex Maniac, as well as the television series Sunset Beach. In addition to her extensive body of work, Kim is a highly sought-after acting teacher, and her studio (based on the teaching principles of Meisner, Adler and The Barrow Group) offers an array of courses (from beginner to advanced levels) in acting technique, improvisation, script analysis and scene study. More details about Kim's background and her current class offerings can be found at her studio website: www.kimtobinactingstudio.com.

Susan Draper (Hero and others) is delighted to be spending her third Christmas in a row with 4th Wall Theatre! Other 4th Wall productions include: Ho Ho Humbug 2.0, Ho Ho Humbug, and Macbeth. Other Houston credits include: Unity Theatre: Blithe Spirit, See Rock City, Chapter Two, Deathtrap, Laundry and Bourbon, Last Train to Nibroc, Turn of the Screw, and A Child's Christmas in Wales. Brave Dog Theatre: Reckless. Bayou City Concert Musicals: One Touch of Venus, On the Town, and Pal Joey. Stages: Girls Night: The Musical, and Panto Sleeping Beauty. Main Street Theatre: A Civil War Christmas: It's Only Life and Tomfoolery. Texas Repertory Theater: Miss Firecracker Contest and Little Shop of Horrors. Susan earned her M.A. in Vocal Performance for the University of Houston in 2005 and happily spends her days teaching lower school music and middle school theatre to her amazing students. Bunches of love to family and friends!

Herman Gambhir (Claudio and others) is making his debut performance with 4th Wall Theatre Company. A native Houstonian, Herman grew up in Amsterdam, and acquired a BA (with honors) in Acting from Paul McCartney's Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) and was nominated as one of the UK's top 22 graduates for the annual Spotlight Prize Awards. Herman's Film/TV credits include: 'Harry' in the indie feature: Be Not Afraid, series regular 'Johnny' in British soap opera Cloud 9 for Sky and Virgin Media, 'Diego Rodrigues' in Vault, and appearances in Captain Phillips, Gatecrasher, and Los Jack Machine. Herman's Houston theatre credits include: Much Ado About Nothing and Henry V (Houston Shakespeare Festival); Lidless (Horse Head Theatre Co), Dialogues On Grace, (14 Pews), and The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Stages Repertory Theatre). Other theatre credits include: Bollocks (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, UK), Torch Song Trilogy (Tour of Eastern Europe), Cole Porter's Jubilee (Tabard Theatre London, UK), Karma & Kismet (De Balie Amsterdam, NL), They Shoot Horses Don't They? and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Paul McCartney Auditorium, Liverpool, UK). In addition, Herman has performed with some of the world's best improvisers in over 10 Improvathons worldwide. This includes productions by Oliver Award winning: Extempore Theatre in association with renowned Canadian troupe: 'Die-Nasty'. The Houston Press awardEd Herman with the 2016 Award for 'Best Supporting Actor' for his role as VP in Stage's production of the Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity. He is also a creative associate for design studio ¬ŅReallyStudio? (www.reallystudio.com) and a founding member of CRAFT Theatre (www.craft-theatre.com), both London based companies.

Philip Hays (Dogberry and others) is an actor, director and adaptor based in Houston, TX, for which he was recently recognized as 2016's "Best Utility Player" by the Houston Press Theatre Awards. He is a company member of the Horse Head Theater Co. (Houston Press Mastermind Award 2016), for which he co-conceived and performed the one-man immersive show The Whale; or, Moby-Dick ("Best New Play," Houston Press Theatre Awards). He is also a company member of the Classical Theatre Company, for whom he has directed his own adaptations of Aristophanes' The Birds and Ubu Roi, as well as new adaptations of Doctor Faustus and A Christmas Carol. Philip has been an Artistic Associate with the Prague Shakespeare Company, where he performed in over twelve productions, and directed, co-wrote, and performed in both his original commedia dell'arte-meets-Grand Guignol take on John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi and the new play The Murder of Gonzago, loosely based on Hamlet. As an actor on Houston stages, he has appeared in numerous roles at Main Street Theater (Dog Act, Love Goes to Press, Life Is a Dream, The Coast of Utopia trilogy), Classical Theater Company (The Triumph of Love, Candida, Tartuffe), 4th Wall/Stark Naked Theater Company (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Stage Kiss), Houston Shakespeare Festival (Cymbeline, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream), and more. Philip is a graduate of the University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance, and has studied commedia dell'arte at the Scuola Internazionale dell'Attore Comico. www.philiphays.com

* 4th Wall Theatre Company productions are funded in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.


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