Much Ado About Nothing begins previews at the Festival!

by Lisa Middleton

Much Ado About Nothing is Shakespearean comedy at its finest!  I had the great pleasure of attending the first preview of Much Ado yesterday, and it was positively enchanting.  Here are a few highlights of the show that I think you’ll enjoy… regardless of your age!

  • Real-life couple Ben Carlson and Deborah Hay bring their marital experience to the stage as the feuding Benedick and Beatrice. What are their thoughts about working together in these roles? Check out this great article from the Toronto Star. It is fabulous to watch the scornful Benedick and quick-witted Beatrice turn from enemies to lovers!
  • Beeeeautiful Brazilian-inspired costumes and set! Santo Loquasto’s design for the production is stunning. You can almost feel the sea breeze through the theatre. The stage floor really sets the mood (the 30-foot palm trees help, too)! Check out this fabulous time-lapse video as the stage floor is painted — two weeks of work narrowed down to three minutes!

  • Music and dance are blended into the production seamlessly. You’ll be swaying your hips as you leave the theatre – in keeping with the Brazilian flavour!
  • The cast for Much Ado is both large and talented! Here are just a few of the Festival favourites you can expect to see on stage!
    -Gareth Potter as Don John – both sinister and hilarious!
    -Bethany Jillard as the sweet and innocent Hero
    -James Blendick as Leonato – in his 29th Festival season!
    -Juan Chioran as the prince Don Pedro
    -Tyrone Savage as the impressionable and impassioned Claudio
    -Richard Binsley as Dogberry, detective extraordinaire!
    And so many more…

Pssst, we’re giving away 10 pairs of tickets to the 2 p.m. performance of Much Ado About Nothing on May 1, 2012!  Tell us why you’re looking forward to seeing this performance in the comment box below, and then send an e-mail socialmedia@stratfordfestival.ca to confirm your submission (you must do both to be eligible to win).  We’ll announce the lucky winners on our blog on April 30, 2012 and contact them by e-mail with their tickets!

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50 thoughts on “Much Ado About Nothing begins previews at the Festival!

  1. I’m looking forward to this show because it’s a play I haven’t seen before, because every night at Stratford is a good night, and because my daughter is a high school theatre student and would love a chance to see this!

  2. I would love to see Much Ado because I am a theatre student and it is not every day I can afford to go to the theatre. I have always loved the Stratford festival and I have always loved watching shows there. Stratford is one of the reasons I went into theatre. Thanks so much Stratford Shakespeare Festival your always my number 1!

  3. I’m looking forward to seeing whether or not directors have chosen to cast claudio as the gullible and conniving person who is hung up on male honour. I’m writing a Shakespeare exam today from 2-5 and this would be a treat to help me recover from the copious amounts I will be writing in about an hour (blegh).

  4. I’m looking forward to seeing Much Ado About Nothing since my wife and I are big fans of Ben Carlson!

  5. What a great show! It looks like a million laughs. My husband and I would so enjoy seeing a “real” married couple playing these roles. We moved to Stratford just over a year ago and can’t enough of the theatre, people and events in this amazing small town with a huge heart!

  6. I am looking forward to seeing Much Ado about Nothing because it is a play I have always enjoyed because of the love/hate relationship between Beatrice and Benedick and because I have always enjoyed plays directed by Christopher Newton at the Shaw Festival.

  7. I will certainly make much ado about how much I REALLY, REALLY want to see this play! My dear, patient husband will have to listen to me rave for yet another season about the amazing and incredible talents of the wonderful Ben Carlson. I will get to fill the deep, gaping hole left in my theatre-loving self when Twelfth Night closed last year. I will get to delight in the incredible talents of so many beloved SSF actors (I won’t start naming them; I’d be afraid to forget somebody, and they’re all so very, very good). I will be able to revel in yet another magical creation of the completely superior artisans that make up the SSF backstage company. Oh, please, can I win a pair? Pleeeeeeeeeease???

  8. I’m looking forward to seeing Much Ado about Nothing because it’s one of my favourite Shakespearian plays!

  9. Excited to see this performance as it would be the first Shakespeare play I would get to see live – and as a student, it’s not everyday that I can afford to see something as amazing as this! And also because it was the first Shakespeare play I ever read 🙂 would absolutely LOVE to win tickets to see this and share this amazing experience with a friend!!!

  10. I like this play a lot. Even when you know the ending, the story is fun to watch. Beatrice and Benedict… Let the records show that I am an ass…

  11. I am looking forward to seeing Much Ado on the Stratford stage again. It was a performance I saw in high school on a class trip. And now (years later) I live in Stratford and can enjoy the performances every year. I am very excited to celebrate the festival’s 60th season.

  12. This year will mark my 10th anniversary with my husband. From the beginning, we have had a Shakespeare inspired relationship; Much Ado in many ways mirrors what we share, have fought for, are stubborn about, and eventually came to terms with. He is my Benedick. We would love to see this together.

  13. My 10 year old daughter loves the theatre. We are often not fortunate enough to see a play. She is always giving to her community of Stratford and well as other countries.She just gave 800 pairs of underwear to girls in Africa to attend school. She ask for nothing in return and I would like to give her something she loves so much to say thank you for inspiring me. A ticket to see Much Ado About Nothing.

  14. I would like very much like to see this production, having just directed and acted in an abridged version of the play (edited by myself) for a one-act drama festival in Brantford. Not only was our production voted Audience Favorite, but we won more awards than any of the other plays in the festival, including Best Ensemble and Best Production. And having an actual teen couple play Claudio and Hero in my show, I am much intrigued to see an actual married couple play Beatrice and Benedick.

  15. I REALLY want to see Much Ado as it’s my favourite Shakespeare play of all time, and I’ve never seen it live, only on DVD in various versions (including the ’87 production with Richard Monette adn Tandy Cronyn, which was beautiful). And Ben Carlson is bound to steal the show as Benedick, so that’s something I definitely want see 🙂

  16. I majored in Shakespeare at University over twenty years ago…..this is by far my favourite comedy! The last time I was at the festival was in 1989! Alot of time and life changing events have passed since then! This year I’ve decided to return!

  17. Much Ado is a wonderful comedy with stunning costumes and an amazing stage change. To see real married couples act together is a unique experience for them and the audience. Winning tickets for see such a performance would be greatly appreciated by anyone.

  18. It would be wonderful for me to win two tickets to this production. It sounds very romantic what with the Carlsons both in starring roles, and the Brazilian music and costumes. May 1 is my 31st Wedding Anniversary, and Much Ado would be a wonderful performance to attend on such a lucky day.

  19. I’d love to win tickets to see Bethany Jillard’s performance in Much Ado…Her mom is a friend of mine since high school “camp days.” Stratford is my home town and I love to go to the theatre there!

  20. I’m excited to see Much Ado About Nothing because, well, I’d be excited to see anything at Stratford! Every show is so great and the acting ensemble outstanding! Also, it has one of my favorite lines: I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest!

  21. My boyfriend has never been to Stratford,,, i am so excited to share the whole Stratford experience with him. The Joy i have had over the years going to Stratford i am anticipating seeing this joy in his eyes too. We would be so pleased if
    we could see one of the first shows this year.

  22. I’ve directed it twice, and it’s always such a complete experience! The characters’ relationships are all off-kilter, and trying to balance out- the entire evening runs on people not getting each other…

  23. I’m excited to see this production because a couple years ago I had the wonderful experience of playing the role of Beatrice in an abridge version of the play performed by a group of homeschooled kids between the ages of 8-18. Over the years I have read and seen many adaptations of this wonderful play, and I would love to be able to see these talented actors in all of the roles that I have come to know and love so well!

  24. To win a pair of theatre tickets for Much Ado About Nothing would be a lovely gift for Mother’s Day. When I saw Mr. Carlson’s portrayal of Hamlet, it was mesmorizing, vibrant and breathtaking. To have an opportunity to witness a stellar ensemble with Ben Carlson and Deborah Hay in Much Ado About Nothing would be a grand event. To view the melodrama, absurdity and sarcastic wit of Beatrice and Benedict “Suffer love! A good epithet. I do suffer love indeed, for I love thee against my will” would be a delightful adventure. I would sincerely appreciate the opportunity to witness this comedic adventure upon the Festival stage.

  25. I would love to take my hockey son James for his 14th birthday. There is a Lecture on Sexism, Identity and Intimacy in a Pornagraphic culture in Waterloo and I was trying to explain the objectification of women to him. How much easier to just show him the relationship between Beatrice and Benedict! Try to objectify her!

  26. I’ve moved back to the Stratford area from the east coast, where I missed the Stratford Festival terribly. This will be my first year – in too many – that I’ll get to go to the Festival so it would be lovely to start my theatre love affair again with Much Ado … one of my favourites.

  27. I would love to see this show because it’s been a while since I’ve been I Stratford and it’s always a pleasurable experience!

  28. Since the announcement of the Festival’s 60th season I have been hoping to see this play, well a lot of them actually, but particularly this play as this is THE one that sparked my interest in Shakespeare. As a theatre student at the time I was quite frankly dreading the Shakespeare part of the curriculum and after reading Much Ado About Nothing for class I was hooked. I found an enjoyment with his works that I didn’t have before. I was more aware of the humour and used this in my own performances during my final year. I have just completed my classes and will graduate soon. This opportunity would be quite the appropriate graduation present!

  29. I want to see Much Ado for a few reasons. Perhaps the most striking is ky desire to see how Stratford chooses to interpret such a popular play. The comedies are extremely playful, and it is wonderful to see the directors take that as a challenge. As You Like It and Twelfth Night in recent years have been excellent examples of using Shakespeare as inspiration rather than as blueprint. What I mean to say is, I am excited to see Stratford’s Much Ado rather than anyone elses.

  30. I’m looking forward to seeing much ado about nothing because I look forward to anything and everything Startford festival puts on.

  31. I love design and stories and of course the Stratford Shakespearean Festivals productions. My family worked with the festival since the beginning and into 2004. I’ve spent a lifetime telling the world how great this theatre is. This years production of Much Ado can not go wrong with Santo Loquasto’s design and a stellar cast. I look forward to seeing this show & all the others.

  32. As a child I have fond memories of having picnics with my grandparents on the lawn outside the Festival Theatre and now, as a theatre student (I just completed my first year at George Brown Theatre School, which Ben Carlson is a graduate of), I am looking forward to watching world-class actors extract the humour on every line of this challenging, yet beautiful text. Having just recently studied Shakespeare and been involved in a community theatre production of ‘Much Ado,’ I would be grateful for the opportunity to be able to say, ‘Ahh, so THAT’S how it’s done.’

  33. I’m looking forward to seeing this performance of Shakespear’s “Much Ado About Nothing” after reading the above review. Your vivid description about everything makes me want to be part of this experience. Thanks!

  34. I want to see this show because it is one of my all-time favourite love stories! It is full of romance, comedy, confusion, trickery, flirtatiousness and so much more! Seeing B&B played by a married couple adds to the intrigue for me in wanting to see this particular production. I’m sure this show is fantastic!!!!

  35. Every time I go to a play in Stratford, upon entering the theatre and sitting down, I feel excited about what is to come. Stratford is one of my favourite places, and I am so grateful and lucky to live here as well! I am looking forward to seeing Much Ado About Nothing, to experience how it will be performed with the energy of a married couple in the lead roles. I have seen it before at the festival, and I always love seeing how it and other Shakespearean plays are performed and interpreted in different ways at the Stratford Festival..

  36. I look forward to one of my favourite Dhakespeare plays brought to life. I read (and re-read) this play for the sheer brilliance of it and the repertoire between the characters. I hav never seen it on stage, and what better place than at the Stratford Festival?!

  37. I look forward to seeing the play “Much Ado About Nothing.” I read Shakespeare plays throughout high school but it wasn’t until I came to the Stratford Festival greatness of his plays. They did a magnificent job of bringing Shakespeare to life. Well its been over 20 years since I was able to make it to the Stratford Festival but I remember the marvelous experience it was. My daughter’s school is making the 4 hour trip from Michigan but my wife and I were not able to get in on the bus so we’re making plans to drive our selves because we know its well worth it.

  38. We would so love to come to see Much Ado About Nothing! We love Stratford but didn’t get there at all last year due to tight finances. Finances are likely tighter than ever, but I couldn’t miss again, so luckily got in on an early deal and will finally get to see Henry V as well as catch The Matchmaker at the end of June. It was tough deciding what to see. Coming May 1 to Much Ado About Nothing would wet my appetite for more, as you have a great season lined up this year! I would love to bring my Drama student son as he is passionate about Shakespearean productions, and is, in fact, in a community theatre production next month which will spoof a number of his plays.

  39. Note: the posting times shown on the comments is incorrect. I’m in the same time zone as Stratford so don’t know why it’s doing this!

  40. Thank you to everyone for sharing what you’re looking forward to in Much Ado About Nothing this season! We had a blast reading your comments and are so excited to share this great production with you.

    A big congrats goes out to our winners who have already been contacted by e-mail: Brett Brownlee, Kanwal, Tracey Hill, Angela Rajic, Nikki McQueen, Crystal, Patti Cook, Karen, Judith and Alan!

  41. Thank you! So happy we will get to see this production! We LOVE Stratford! Also looking forward to seeing Henry V and The Matchmaker in June. These are our getaways of choice this year!

  42. Thank you so very much for the tickets! It will be fabulous to start our year with Much Ado. Can’t wait! The first of many productions to be seen this Season…

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