STC Presents Free For All production of Much Ado About Nothing

Jul 5, 2013
Shakespeare Theatre Company DC

The Shakespeare Theatre Company's annual Free For All is a much-loved Washington tradition, offering free Shakespeare performances to the general public for the past 22 years. This year the beloved tradition launches the Company's 2013-2014 Season by reviving Much Ado About Nothing, initially presented during the 2011-2012 Season with original direction by Ethan McSweeny. Much Ado About Nothing will run at STC's Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW) from August 20-September 1, 2013. Resident Assistant Director Jenny Lord will direct this delightful summer comedy for residents and visitors to D.C.

Beatrice claims that no man on Earth can please her; Benedick vows he will die a bachelor. Everyone but Beatrice and Benedick can see these two were made for each other. In one of the greatest romantic comedies ever written, Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare tells the story of two young lovers, Hero and Claudio, their quick-witted sparring companions, Beatrice and Benedick, and the schemes of friends and foes to twist the couples' relationships. A perennial fan favorite, Much Ado About Nothing has become ingrained in popular culture, thanks in part to Kenneth Branagh's 1993 film starring Branagh and Emma Thompson, and most recently in Joss Whedon's modern cinematic retelling starring Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker. The setting of STC's production of Much Ado About Nothing is inspired by 1930s Cuba, updating the original play's island milieu, frothy mix of military and social conflict and Catholic background for a new era and continent. Shakespeare's most playful of romantic comedies comes to life through the sound and rhythms of Afro-Cuban music and dance.

More than 640,000 people have attended the Free For All since 1991, when Shakespeare Theatre Company Artistic Director Michael Kahn and Founding Chairman R. Robert Linowes inaugurated the tradition of free Shakespeare in D.C. with Kahn's production of The Merry Wives of Windsor. The Free For All will be staged at STC's state-of-the-art theatre, Sidney Harman Hall, for the fifth year (610 F Street NW; Metro Stop: Gallery Place/Chinatown). "We are pleased that STC is able to offer free Shakespeare productions to as wide of an audience as possible even during these challenging economic times," said Kahn. "One of the major goals of the Free For All is to make Shakespeare accessible to diverse audiences-people who have never been to the theatre, people who are unable to pay for tickets or afford a babysitter, young people, students, people on fixed incomes. They all come to experience the magic of Shakespeare, to see how his words and ideas still resonate with us more than 400 years later."