Shakespeare in Clark Park: Much Ado About Nothing, July 20-24




PHILADELPHIA, PA – Shakespeare in Clark Park (SCP) returns to University City for a sixth summer with Much Ado About Nothing, running July 20-July 24 at 7:00 pm and helmed by The Comedy of Errors director Alex Torra. A comedy of love and wit, Much Ado About Nothing centers around that classic sparring duo of Beatrice and Benedick. Bring a picnic blanket, a picnic dinner, the whole family (including the dog) — and enjoy an evening of free theatre underneath the stars.

In post-war Messina, a town celebrates life, gossip, and love, while a small war boils between two staunch rivals: Beatrice and Benedick. It’s painfully obvious to everyone around them—including the audience—that they were meant for one another. But it will take some tricks and some teasing before this prickly pair can own up to their hearts’ desires.

“This one’s about love,” says director Alex Torra. “About being scared of it, about indulging it, about feeling the sting of its loss. It’s also about eavesdropping, high-stakes pretend, villains, dumb cops, and an awesome game of ‘who’s smarter’. But, mostly, the play’s about a group of people, a community, playing together. It’s the perfect piece for a summer night in Clark Park.”

Local favorite Allen Radway makes his SCP debut as the wise-cracking Benedick, while Victoria Frings (Titania in last year’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) returns to the park to play the equally wise-cracking Beatrice. John Jarboe and Marla Burkholder play the young lovers Claudio and Hero, with Johnny Smith providing comic relief as the bumbling Dogberry. The production also features performances by Langston Darby, David Blatt, Dan Higbee, Jenna Horton, Jess Conda, Liam Castellan and Nate Holt.

Original live music is a hallmark of SCP productions and this year Andrew Nelson of the Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret once again composes. A three-piece horn section will accompany the Bard, playing high energy tunes that put a new spin on the sounds of popular American music of the 40s and 50s. Big Mess Cabaret founder Andy Bresnan will be on tuba and trombone, with David Sweeny (aka Johnny Showcase) playing trumpet and Big Mess regular Paul Butler on bass clarinet.

The design team that created last year’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream returns for Much Ado About Nothing, with sets and lights by designer Stephen Hungerford and costumes by Erica Hoelscher.

Shakespeare in Clark Park is committed to producing free, outdoor summer theatre in Clark Park, a vibrant green space that is the cornerstone of a diverse community. While engaging the community and expanding Philadelphia’s summertime cultural scene, Shakespeare in Clark Park re-imagines the world of the park through the works of Shakespeare.

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