Stage Door News
Stratford: “Much Ado About Nothing” begins previews at the Stratford Festival
Monday, May 29, 2023
With a series of hit classic comedies under his belt at Stratford, Chris Abraham is bringing one of Shakespeare’s finest, Much Ado About Nothing, to vivid life at the Festival Theatre. This beloved romantic comedy, featuring Graham Abbey and Maev Beaty, starts previews today.
Much Ado About Nothing has been an audience favourite for centuries. Brimming with wit, romance and pageantry – including a masked ball and a wedding – the play engages the heart and the mind, posing serious questions about love and honour while trusting its audience to craft their own answers. With additional text provided by Erin Shields, this play is sure to inspire joy from beginning to end.
“As a theatre director, I love Shakespeare’s comedies – more than almost any other kind of play in the world,” says Abraham. “I love their enormous challenges, but I also love the opportunities they open up for us to be hopeful about change. And, in my view, there is no better place to do them, or experience them, than on the Festival Theatre stage. On a great night (or afternoon), the theatre is 1,800 people strong; add to this Shakespeare’s expert handling of plot, character, situation and theme and you give a company of actors, a lucky director and a giddy audience the chance to create revelatory delight. When this alchemy surfaces, his comedies can feel like they have magical properties – that they can change the world.”
Much Ado About Nothing features Festival power duo Graham Abbey as Benedick and Maev Beaty as Beatrice. The cast also includes Michael Blake as Don John, Austin Eckert as Claudio, Allison Edwards-Crewe as Hero, Patrick McManus as Leonato, Anthony Santiago as Antonio, and André Sills as Don Pedro with Anousha Alamian, Akosua Amo-Adem, Richard Comeau, Déjah Dixon-Green, Jakob Ehman, Ijeoma Emesowum, Andrew Iles, David W. Keeley, John Kirkpatrick, Kevin Kruchkywich, Josue Laboucane, Cyrus Lane, Devin MacKinnon, Jonathan Mason, Jameela McNeil, George Meanwell, Danté Prince, Glynis Ranney, Jamillah Ross, Jonathan Rowsell, Stephan Szczesniak, Jennifer Villaverde, Gordon Patrick White, Rylan Wilkie and Micah Woods.
The humour and romance of this play are heightened by the beautiful work of Designer Julie Fox, Lighting Designer Arun Srinivasan, Composer and Sound Designer Thomas Ryder Payne, and Choreographer Adrienne Gould.
Much Ado About Nothing has its official opening on June 16 and runs until October 27 in the Festival Theatre. Tickets are available at stratfordfestival.ca or by calling 1.800.567.1600.
The 2023 season also features King Lear, Rent, Les Belles-Soeurs, Monty Python’s Spamalot, A Wrinkle in Time, Frankenstein Revived, Grand Magic, Richard II, Wedding Band, Casey and Diana, Women of the Fur Trade and Love’s Labour’s Lost. For more information, visit stratfordfestival.ca.
Photo: Maev Beaty and Graham Abbey. © 2023 Ted Belton.