Much Ado Completes LBSC’s A Wake for Shakespeare Celebration

Much Ado - Long Beach Shakespeare Company

Photo credit Jackie Teeple Two-Eight Photography

Long Beach Shakespeare Company has been celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016 with a special series of events and performances they are calling “A Wake for Shakespeare.” The final production in this gala series is Much Ado About Nothing, the comedy that paved the way for screwball movies produced in the early years of Hollywood.

Unlike the abusive encounters between Kate and Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing’s Beatrice and Benedick are equally matched in temperament, and their relationship crackles with undeniable electricity. Though they profess to hate each other, love will most certainly win in the end in LBSC’s production featuring 16th century costumes, singing, dancing, and a fair measure of laughs.

August 26 – September 17, 2016
Long Beach Shakespeare Compnay
Richard Goad Theatre
4250 Atlantic, Long Beach, CA, 90807
Tickets: or (562) 997-1494
Tickets may also be purchased at the box office on performance days one hour before showtime.


T.U. Studios Presents a Rock ‘n Roll Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado

A new production of Much Ado About Nothing featuring a rock ‘n roll score will open at T.U. Studios beginning July 30. Shakespeare’s comedy of love, and the hilarity that ensues when two of his most loved characters, Beatrice and Benedick, engage in a sparring match of words. It was revolutionary for its patriarchal time period for featuring a heroine with a sharp tongue and sparkling wit. This pair would later become the prototype for characters portrayed in 20th Century film comedies by actors like Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.

Gloria Gifford directs a large cast that includes Tracey Ali, Hayley Ambriz, George Benedict, Raven Bowens, Jeff Hamasaki Brown, Billy Budinich, Marlin Chan, Leana Chavez, Heather Compton, Yvette DeVito, Sonia Diaz, Chad Doreck, Justine Estrada, Joshua Farmer, Joe Filippone, Lindy Fujimoto, Dylan George, Keturah Hamilton, Chris Jones, Abigail Kochunas, Christian Maltez, Sam Mansour, Tahlia McCollum, Alex Miller, Maya Moore, Kelly Musslewhite, Benito Pajr, Nakta Pahlevan, Kasia Pilewicz, Lauren Plaxco, Antonio Roccucci, Cynthia San Luis, Deidra Shanell, Danny Siegel, Tejah Signori, Samiyah Swann, Justin Truesdale, Nancy Vivar, Keith Walker, Lucy Walsh, Jade Warner, Teagan Wilson and Sabrina Won.

July 30 – September 18, 2016
T.U. Studios
10943 Camarillo Ave., North Hollywood, CA 91602.
Limited free parking behind the theater
Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7:30 pm.
Tickets and Info: (310) 366-5505 or

Shakespeare at the Bowl (Plus a discount on tickets!)

Shakespeare at the Bowl
Summer Shakespeare under the stars? In Hollywood that can only mean that it’s time for Shakespeare at the Bowl — two performances only, August 30 and September 1, at the Hollywood Bowl. On these joyous evenings, actors from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre will perform classic scenes from the playwright’s best works, directed by Iqbal Khan, adapted by the Globe’s music director, Bill Barclay.

Bramwell Tovey conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a program that includes:

KORNGOLD: Much Ado About Nothing Suite, Op 11
SCHMITT: Antoine et Cleopatre Suite No. 1
BERLIOZ: Roméo et Juliette: Queen Mab Scherzo
TCHAIKOVSKY: Romeo and Juliet, Fantasy Overture

Our friends at the Bowl have also got a great deal for you on tickets. Get 20% off with the exclusive discount code SHAKESPEARE! Tickets are available now at Shakespeare at the Bowl.

Much Ado About Nothing Sequel, The Devil’s Bride, Returns to TU

The Devil's Bride - Theatre Unleashed

Have you ever wondered what might have happened to the lovers Benedick, Beatrice, Claudio and Hero after Much Ado ended? Or, what became of the villainous Don John the Bastard? You’ll see one possible way the story might have continued when Joan Silsby’s original sequel to Shakespeare’s classic comedy Much Ado About Nothing returns to Theatre Unleashed April 14 – May 21 at The Belfry Stage in North Hollywood.

In The Devil’s Bride, a romantic comedy-mystery that takes place a week after the events in Shakespeare’s classic, Don John is in jail following his attempt to thwart his rival’s wedding, however, he is given a chance to redeem himself if he consents to marry Benedick’s sister Allegra. Unfortunately, Lady Allegra is under a Gypsy curse. She has already been engaged three times, and all three of her intended bridegrooms have died before reaching the altar. Will Don John be next?

“Nearly ten years ago, The Devil’s Bride was the first full-length L.A. production I performed in and I remembered how much fun it was for patrons and actors alike,” says artistic director Jenn Scuderi Crafts. “While choosing shows for this, our 10th season, I remembered the script and knew it would be an excellent addition. Much Ado About Nothing is such a beloved play, that I know our audience will delight in following these familiar characters on their next journey.”

Director Wendy Gough Soroka adds, “The Devil’s Bride is a witty, insightful and sexy take on the redemption of John the Bastard. The play takes us back to our favorite characters from Much Ado, but this time we see them through the lens of a 21st-century playwright, which I personally find delightfully satisfying. It’s the romance between John and Allegra, though that truly makes the play sizzle.”

Starring Jenn Scuderi Crafts as Beatrice, Jim Martyka as Benedick, and Michael Cortez as Don John, with Richard Abraham (Dogberry), Isabelle Gronlund (Margaret), Sammi Lappin (Lady Allegra), Matthew Martin (Don Pedro), Carey Matthews (Borachio), Cyanne McClairian (Verges), Gordon Martin Meacham (Count Claudio), Molly Moran (Marisol), Steve Peterson (Duke Leonato), Lee Pollero (Conrade), and Caroline Sharp (Hero)

For more information, visit

From Green to Groovy: Nicole Parker gets a ’60s Makeover for These Paper Bullets!

Nicole Parker

Nicole Parker stars opposite Justin Kirk in the west coast premiere of These Paper Bullets! A Modish Ripoff of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing at Geffen Playhouse this month. Written by Rolin Jones (Weeds, Friday Night Lights, Boardwalk Empire) with songs by Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong and directed by Jackson Gay, the show opened to great reviews at Yale Repertory Theatre where it premiered in 2014. Now the Geffen begins its 20th anniversary season with what promises to be a British invasion on stage not seen since the Beatles. Still high on the adrenaline of a full day of rehearsal, an energetic Parker spoke to me about her experience working on the new production. I think you’ll see why the former star of Wicked and MADtv landed the role. This is one all-around great gal.

Nicole, what has it been like working on a brand new show like this one?

What’s great about working on something new is, while the creative team has done a version of the show before, they’ve made sure we know, as the new actors to the piece, that we can make it our own. That’s something you never get when you’re plugging into a show that already exists where you really need to hit the marks and you can give it your own flair but it needs to be what it is. This show isn’t set. Even from a comedic standpoint, I won’t even know whether some things I’m doing will work until we get in front of an audience and they tell me.

Both you and your leading man, Justin Kirk, are new, right?

Correct, which is kind of cool because then we as a couple can find a whole new rhythm. The entire team is so supportive and really just happy to have another opportunity to work on the show and make it better. So many times you don’t get to do that. When you do, it’s all about really defining the story and making sure that it gets told even clearer.

Nicole and Justin

What are your overall impressions of the piece?

It’s really a new, unique hybrid show. Even though the songs Billie Joe has written are stand-alone Beatles-esque songs, they drive the show and fit what’s going on in the plot. In that sense, where a musical will forward plot or character with a song, or even heighten an emotion, it is similar. But it’s only done in a very realistic way with the band – in this case they’re called The Quartos – singing their songs.  More

Photo Flash: Downtown Rep’s Much Ado About Nothing

Downtown Repertory Theater Company presents Much Ado About Nothing directed by Ivan Rivas, August 20 – September 6, 2015, in the courtyard of the historic Pico House in Downtown Los Angeles. Performances are free but reservations are recommended because there is limited seating availability and tickets for the company’s productions go quickly.

Downtown Rep - Much Ado About Nothing

Downtown Rep - Much Ado About Nothing

Downtown Rep - Much Ado About Nothing

Downtown Rep - Much Ado About Nothing

Downtown Rep - Much Ado About Nothing

Downtown Rep - Much Ado About Nothing

Click HERE for more photos from the production.

Review: ISC’s Much Ado About Nothing is a 1940s Charmer


David Melville (Benedick) and Melissa Chalsma (Beatrice). Photos by Reynaldo Macias

One of the keys to providing great entertainment is understanding your audience. For a theatre company, that means knowing what your audience wants and then being able to provide it so they keep coming back for more. Independent Shakespeare Co. has done a brilliant job of both. Not only do they play to crowds that number in the thousands each night during their Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival, but they always find a way to connect with the audience and make them feel like they’re in on the fun.

In Much Ado About Nothing, their latest production in the park, director Jeff Wienckowski ensures that connection with staging that often takes the characters out among the people, with plenty of hilarious results. The famous pair of scenes in which Beatrice (Melissa Chalsma) and Benedick (David Melville) are each fooled by their friends into thinking the other is in love with him or her takes place right in the laps of those on the lawn, much to the delight of everyone around them.  More

The Geffen gets a new Billie Joe Armstrong Shakespeare Musical!

These Paper BulletsGeffen Playhouse opens its 20th anniversary season with the west coast premiere of These Paper Bullets! A Modish Ripoff of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, September 8 – October 18. Written by Pulitzer Prize finalist and Emmy Award nominated writer Rolin Jones (Friday Night Lights, Boardwalk Empire) with songs by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and staged by Jackson Gay, These Paper Bullets! was commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre where it premiered in 2014.

Meet the Quartos. Ben, Claude, Balth, and Pedro. Their fans worship them. Scotland Yard fears them. And their former drummer will stop at nothing to destroy them. Can these fab four from Liverpool find true love in London and cut an album in seven nights?

The cast features James Barry (Pedro), Kate Blumberg (Paulina, Frida), Damon Daunno (Claude), Chris Geary (Anton), Mr. Crumpet, Queen & Others), Brad Heberlee (Mr. Urges), Justin Kirk (Ben), Tony Manna (Mr. Cake), Rod McLachlan (Boris), Kiera Naughton (Ulcie), Adam O’Byrne (Don Best), Lucas Papaelias (Balth), Nicole Parker (Beatrice), Greg Stuhr (Mr. Berry), Ariana Venturi (Higgy), Nick Ullett as (Leo).

These Paper Bullets! is a co-production with Atlantic Theater Company in New York and will be performed there following the Geffen Playhouse engagement. The two theatre companies last teamed-up in 2009 for the Atlantic Theater Company production of Farragut North starring Dan Bittner, Mia Barron, Justin Huen, Chris Noth, Chris Pine, Olivia Thirlby and Isiah Whitlock, Jr.

The Geffen will also host over a dozen pre-show and post-show Signature Series events during the show’s run. These include TGIF at the Geffen, Talk Back Tuesdays (Audience Q+A with artists), Lounge Fridays, Girls Night Out, and Wine Down Sundays. Many of them include refreshments, music and other festive elements. These events are complimentary as part of your ticket price, thanks to the support of Geffen Playhouse partners and sponsors. Click Here for Signature Series dates and more information.

Sept. 8 – Oct. 18, 2015 (opening night 9/16)
Gil Cates Theater at Geffen Playhouse
10886 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tickets: (310) 208-5454 or

ISC Gets Ready for Much Ado About Nothing in Griffith Park

ISC - Much Ado

L-R: Ashley Nguyen, David Melville and Erwin Tuazon.

This summer, Griffith Park becomes the post-WWII Mediterranean countryside when Independent Shakespeare Co. opens Shakespeare’s beloved comedy, Much Ado About Nothing. The show will begin previews at The Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival on Thursday, July 30 at 7pm and will open on Saturday, August 8 at 7pm and perform through Sunday, August 30 at Old Zoo in Griffith Park. All ISC Summer Shakespeare productions are FREE to the public.

The time period is summer of 1945 in Messina, where we find Don Pedro and his battalion enjoying a much-needed respite in Leonato’s bomb-riddled villa. While awaiting the nuptials of Claudio and Hero, Don Pedro and his men amuse themselves by playing Cupid between Beatrice, Hero’s witty and sharp-tongued cousin, and confirmed bachelor-for-life Benedick. As the wine flows in Leonato’s villa, discord emerges, judgment is clouded, and passions are set ablaze by the most powerful intoxicant of all: love.

Much Ado About Nothing will fill the Park with laughter, music and dancing,” says director Jeffrey Wienckowski. “But in this roaring party there is a sudden turn where things get very real and very dark. It is this dichotomy that allows clownish physical comedy to live right alongside very real dramatic tension. This works perfectly with ISC’s trademark spontaneous style that always expertly walks that line between comedy and drama. The play will feature music of the 1940s as well as original compositions by Chris Porter. The 1940s gives an important backdrop of battle to the play, and it also instills a sense of nostalgia and romance. Much Ado About Nothing is a very human story about the fallibility of lovesick hearts.”

The cast will feature Jose Acain, Richard Azurdia, Danny Brown, Danny Campbell, Melissa Chalsma, Joseph Culliton, Thomas Ehas, William Elsman, André Martin, David Melville, Xavi Moreno, Marcelo Olivas, Evan Lewis Smith, Bernadette Sullivan, Napoleon Tavale and Erwin Tuazon. Season production design is by Caitlin Lainoff. Season lighting design is by Bosco Flanagan and costume design is by Amanda Lee. Currently ISC is presenting Romeo & Juliet in Griffith Park through July 26. For more information, call (818) 710-6306 or go to

The Old Globe Offers Free Monday Night Film Series

This summer, the Old Globe will include FREE Monday night screenings of four Shakespeare films as part of its 2015 Summer of Shakespeare. The films will relate to Shakespeare through the eras and celebrate both the Balboa Park Centennial and the theatre’s 80th Anniversary. They are: Henry V, directed by Laurence Olivier in 1944; Orson Welles’s 1965 classic Chimes At Midnight; Joss Whedon’s 2012 Much Ado About Nothing; and Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins’s groundbreaking 1961 West Side Story. Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein and Beth Accomando, author of the KPBS blog Cinema Junkie, will alternate introducing the films.

June 29: Henry V (8:15 pm)
Sir Laurence Olivier made his 1944 directorial debut and starred in Henry V, a sparklingly inventive, Oscar-nominated film adaptation of Shakespeare’s epic history play. Olivier brings the Bard’s heroic king to full-blooded life in this breathtaking and passionate cinematic masterpiece.

Chimes at MidnightJuly 13: Chimes at Midnight
(7:00 pm)
Widely considered the greatest film adaptation of Shakespeare ever made, Orson Welles’s acclaimed 1965 masterpiece finds Shakespeare’s most famous supporting character, Sir John Falstaff, taking center stage. Drawing heavily on Henry IV and other histories by the Bard, the film follows the shifting relationship between Prince Hal and his drunken, obese, and altogether charming companion Falstaff (played by Welles himself). This enduring gem, rarely seen on the big screen, delves deep inside one of Shakespeare’s most intriguing players to shine a light on one man’s joys, struggles, and triumphs.


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