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Much Ado about Much Ado April 21, 2011


Preview Article: Much Ado About Nothing
Patrick Lighthall

A talented cast and crew have been assembled for Marshall Civic Players "Much Ado About Nothing," William Shakespeare's sparkling romantic comedy, which runs May 13-22 at the Franke Center for the Arts in Marshall.

Considered one of Shakespeare's sharpest and funniest comedies, "Much Ado" is the tale of love between two very different couples: the young and impulsive Claudio and Hero, and the ever-sparring Benedick and Beatrice. Moments of great hilarity-and drama-ensue as Shakespeare investigates the role of love-and lust-in romantic relationships and the power they can hold over us.

With its lighthearted romance, comedic portrayals of robust and unique characters, twisting plot, and devilish intrigue, "Much Ado About Nothing" continues to enthrall audiences today.

Marshall Civic Players theatergoers will recognize some familiar faces-and welcome new ones-among the "Much Ado" cast and crew from Marshall, Albion, and Battle Creek.

As the play opens, the wealthy Leonato (Ed Kernish) is awaiting the arrival of a group of soldiers, fresh from war, to the Italian countryside estate he shares with his family: his beautiful, young daughter, Hero (Madeline Schnorr); his sister, Antonia, (Sue Kernish); and his niece Beatrice (Amity Reading). The soldiers arrive, led by Leonato's close friend, Prince Don Pedro (Ian MacInnes). Members of Don Pedro's company also include Claudio and Benedick (Carlen Kernish and Morris Arvoy, respectively).

While love-struck Claudio courts Hero, the sharp-tongued Benedick and Beatrice engage in delightful and often hilarious verbal jabs at love, marriage, and the sexes. Meanwhile, Don Pedro's illegitimate brother, the evil Don John (Jonathan Scovie), hatches a plot to disrupt the love and forthcoming marital vows of Claudio and Hero. Don John dispatches his loyal-yet-conniving servant Borachio (Greg Reitsma) to woo Hero's lusty servant Margaret (Diane Long), and an unexpected plot unfolds.

Randy Lake acts as the hilariously incompetent head of police, Dogberry, and Shailesh Dubey will play Verges, his deputy, whom attempt to capture and question Don John and his followers, including Eric Stebleton as the exceedingly loyal Conrade.

Rounding out the cast are native Jeff Stierle as George, John Anthony LaPietra as Friar Francis, Kayla Swingholm as Josetta, Paul Rauth as the musician Balthasar, Allyson Miko as Ursula, Alex Veale as the clerk, and Miles McNiff as the messenger.

"Much Ado" is directed by Royal Ward, recently retired Albion College theatre professor and former chair of the Albion College theatre department, in his MCP directorial debut. Ward is assisted by Kyra Hill. The producer is Chris Gorsline, with Paul Rauth as the technical director and Gayland Spaulding creating the costumes.

"Much Ado About Nothing" runs Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays May 13-22. Friday and Saturday shows start at 8 p.m., and Sunday matinee shows start at 2:30 p.m. Performances are held at the Franke Center for the Arts, 214 E. Mansion St., in Marshall. Tickets will go on sale two weeks before opening night.

For "Much Ado About Nothing," Marshall Civic Players is continuing its popular coupon deal for their performances on May 13-15. For the first weekend of performances, patrons who purchase one adult or student ticket at full price will receive one free student ticket.

For more information, please call the Marshall Civic Players box office at 269-781-3335.



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P.O. Box 102 · Marshall, MI 49068 · 269.781.3335