Benedick and Beatrice trade barbs and match wits under the Theater Tent:
Scandal abounds in Shakespeare’s hilarious, biting comedy about lies, courtship, and the chaos created in pursuit of true love. The famous bantering lovers, Benedick and Beatrice, trade barbs while matching wits (and hearts) in this celebrated romantic romp.
Explore the Story
Prince Don Pedro’s army makes a triumphant return home from the war. Benedick and Claudio, two of the prince’s soldiers, visit the home of Duke Leonato for a celebratory masked ball. Claudio falls for Leonato’s daughter, Hero, and the prince agrees to woo her in disguise on his behalf. Claudio and Hero’s marriage is soon arranged.
Hero’s cousin Beatrice and the dashing Benedick, on the other hand, are fiercely opposed to love, swearing off marriage and railing against courtship in all forms. The two resume their long-waged war of wits, and as insults fly, Benedick and Beatrice’s friends hatch a plot to trick them into falling in love with each other.
Meanwhile, the prince’s misanthropic brother Don John hatches a plot of his own, leading Claudio to believe that his beloved Hero has been unfaithful on the eve of their wedding. At the ceremony, Claudio publicly denounces her and she faints amid the chaos. Leonato and the Friar agree to fake Hero’s death, and Beatrice demands that Benedick avenge her by killing Claudio.
A bumbling constable and his watchmen uncover Don John’s malicious trick, and the conspiracy is exposed. To make amends, Claudio promises Leonato that he will marry one of Hero’s cousins in her place. As the couple approaches the alter, one final deception leads everyone to a fresh understanding of the truth.
Cast & Creative
Antonio Stephen Paul Johnson*
Beatrice Tina Chilip*
Benedick Charlie Semine*
Claudio Jose Gamo
Dogberry Kurt Rhoads*
Don John Stephen Michael Spencer*
Don Pedro Sean McNall*
Hero Alexandra Templer*
Leonato Michael Early*
Ensemble Kendall Cafaro (cc), Kayla Coleman (cc), Jon Cook (cc), Brandon Dial (cc), Timiki Salinas (cc), Ryan Washington (cc)
Director May Adrales
Costume Designer Valérie Thérèse Bart
Lighting Designer Oona Curley
Sound Design Nathan A. Roberts and Charles Coes
Composer/Music Director Nellie McKay
Props Designer Joshua Yocom
Production Stage Manager Roxana Khan*
Casting Stephanie Klapper Casting
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
(cc) Member of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival Conservatory Company
Much Ado About Nothing was written between 1598 and 1599. Elements of the play, such as the Hero-Claudio plot, were likely drawn from Greek, Spanish, or Italian romances, or from earlier English works.
Much has been written about the multiple meanings of “nothing” and “noting,” which would have been pronounced similarly in Shakespeare’s day. “Noting” can refer to gossip or overhearing — which plays a pivotal role throughout the play, leading to betrayal and renewal (in Hero’s case) and love (in Benedick and Beatrice’s case) — or the written word, as Leonato instructs Claudio to lay a hand-written statement on Hero’s tomb proclaiming her innocence.
Q & A
Can I read the play before I arrive?
You can read the play in its entirety here!
Is this show appropriate for my children?
Much Ado About Nothing includes playful discussion of adult courtship and references to infidelity. Although every family’s tolerance for grown-up themes is different, we believe this production is appropriate for school-aged children. Little ones under 5 should stay home.
How can I learn more about the play?
What’s the style of the show?
Our designers are still building the world of Much Ado, so anything is possible! However, productions under the Theater Tent usually incorporate contemporary music and dress because we believe creating pathways for audiences to make personal connections to the text is vital.
How long is the show?
Our production is still in development so we do not yet have an accurate run-time to share. However, productions under the Theater Tent tend to run over two hours and include a fifteen-minute intermission. Much Ado’s duration will be posted in early June.
Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.Benedick, Much Ado About Nothing Act 5, Scene II
- Sunday, June 9, 7:30pm (Preview)
- Wednesday, June 12, 7:30pm (Preview)
- Saturday, June 15, 7:30pm (Preview)
- Sunday, June 16, 7:30pm (Preview)
- Wednesday, June 19, 7:30pm (Preview)
- Thursday, June 20, 7:30pm (Opening)
- Sunday, June 23, 7:30pm
- Tuesday, July 2, 7:30pm
- Monday, July 8, 7:30pm
- Friday, July 12, 7:30pm
- Thursday, July 18, 7:30pm
- Saturday, July 20, 7:30pm
- Tuesday, July 23, 7:30pm
- Friday, July 26, 7:30pm