Creative Loafing Best of the Bay
Considered one of the most popular and charming of Shakespeare’s comedies (and one of the very few where the female lead doesn’t have to dress up at some point as a dude), Much Ado About Nothing features the classic couple Benedick (an arrogant and confirmed bachelor, played by Ned Averill-Snell) and Beatrice (his favorite sparring partner, played by Roxanne Fay).
While the feisty couple hides their infatuation beneath witty barbs, young love blossoms as Hero (Betty-Jane Parks) and Claudio (J. Elijah Cho) race to the altar. When the just Don Pedro’s (Matt Lunsford) wicked brother Don John (Michael C. McGreevy) conspires to break up the wedding, will false accusations and misunderstandings prevent the young couple’s happy ending? Will Dogberry (Spencer Meyers) and his misfit watch save the day? Witty wordplay, passionate poetry and clever plot twists make this the perfect romantic evening to share love and laughter.
Jobsite is presenting Shakespeare’s text of Much Ado About Nothing, a distinction the company learned needed to be made in 2011 when producing The Taming of the Shrew – some fans assumed it was a modern language re-telling as the company did with the mob-musical Pericles. The Much Ado script has been shortened slightly and some of the smaller characters have been combined to be played by a single actor, not at all uncommon in the modern theater. Conceptually, the production is set in a timeless fantasy land reminiscent of films such as Terry Gilliam’s Baron Munchausen or Neil Gaiman’s Stardust.
Jobsite’s production is surrounded by a few interesting coincidences. In July of this year, filmmaker Joss Whedon’s (The Avengers, Serenity) anticipated black and white indie project turned full-blown studio release of Much Ado hits screens. Jobsite Producing Artistic Director David Jenkins (who directs) at first considered his casting of Beatrice and Benedick as slightly non-traditional, as the roles are typically filled by younger actors than he hired, but in December his thunder was stolen when it was announced that this year Vanessa Redgrave (75) and James Earl Jones (81) will play the famous pair at London’s Old Vic.
In addition to Shrew and the Popp-Paonessa-Gobioff adapted Pericles, Jobsite has had success with Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and of course their multiple sold-out engagements of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) dating back to 2001.
Teachers: we have a daytime performance of Much Ado About Nothing on Mar. 28 at 11am at a greatly reduced student group rate.
With $20,000 from two local foundations, the theater can expand its educational outreach.
- David M. Jenkins – Director
- Matthew Ray – Stage Manager
- Ned Averill-Snell – Benedick
- J. Elijah Cho – Claudio/Conrade
- Jason Evans – Borachio/Antonio
- Roxanne Fay* – Beatrice
- Matt Lunsford – Don Pedro/Verges
- Michael C. McGreevy – Don John/Watchman
- Spencer Meyers – Balthasar/Dogberry/Friar Francis
- Alvin Jenkins – Leonato/Watchman/Sexton
- Betty-Jane Parks – Hero/Watchman
- Katrina Stevenson – Margaret/Watchman
- Tierra Bonser – Dramaturg
- Greg Newcomb – Poster Artist
- Brian M. Smallheer – Scenic/Lighting Designer
- Dave Steinweg – Sound Desginer
- Katrina Stevenson – Costume Designer
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