Domenique Lozano (Beatrice) and Andy Murray (Benedick); photo by Kevin Berne.
California Shakespeare Theater’s 2010 season concludes with Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, from September 22 through October 17, directed by Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone.
One of Shakespeare’s wittiest plays, and a precursor of many of the famous screwball comedies of the 1930s, Much Ado explores the ideas of seeming incompatibility, alleged infidelity, and outright villainy to create a redemptive, passionate tale of love realized by those who thought it had past them by and those who took it for granted until it was nearly gone. Moscone will set the production in a post-war period during the early part of the 19th century, with a distinctly Italian flair.
“As in all of Shakespeare’s great romantic comedies, there is at the play’s heart a beautiful vulnerability that deeply appeals to me,” says Moscone. “This is the last chance at love for two people who’ve been thwarted by their feelings, and a chance of burgeoning love for two young people who find that only through suffering can a real emotional bond be created. I love this play and hope it’s a perfect way to express the expansive imagination of Shakespeare, who gave us such stark contrast in feeling and tone with Macbeth, which played earlier this season on our stage.”
Danny Scheie as Dogberry; photo by Kevin Berne.
The cast of Much Ado features some of Cal Shakes’ most beloved Associate Artists: Andy Murray and Domenique Lozano as Benedick and Beatrice, Danny Scheie as Don John/Dogberry, Dan Hiatt as Leonato/George Seacole, and Catherine Castellanos as Ursula/Verges. Also appearing, fresh from the cast of Macbeth, are Nick Childress as Claudio; Delia MacDougall as Margaret; and Nicholas Pelczar as Don Pedro. Emily Kitchens, who played Molly Morgan in the season opening Pastures of Heaven, appears as Hero, and Andrew Hurteau, last seen at Cal Shakes in King Lear, plays the Friar. Michael Davison, Thomas Gorrebeeck, Xanadu Bruggers, Luisa Frasconi, John Lewis, and Justin Liszanckie round out the company.
The design team from Macbeth returns to reimagine the Bruns stage once again, removing all vestiges of the Scottish play’s bombed-out asylum and burnishing and refitting the superstructure to create Much Ado’s robustly romantic seaport town of Messina. Dan Ostling (set design), an ensemble member with Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago whose work has appeared at regional theaters across the country and in Europe; Christal Weatherly (costume design), a much-in-demand designer with credits from Los Angeles to New York, most recently for Ruined at Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Russell Champa (lighting design), who designed the recent Broadway production of In the Next Room (or the vibrator play); and Andre Pluess (sound design), who created the evocative, occasionally whimsical music for last season’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Others on the artistic staff of the production are Erika Chong Shuch (choreographer), Cal Shakes Associate Artist Nancy Carlin (vocal/text coach), Philippa Kelly (dramaturg), Elizabeth Atkinson (stage manager), and Briana J. Fahey (assistant stage manager).
Single tickets for Much Ado About Nothing are on sale now and range from $34–$70, with discounts available for seniors, students, persons age 30 and under, and groups. Prices, dates, and artists subject to change. Click calshakes.org/tickets or call 510.548.9666 to purchase.