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'Much Ado About Nothing' slated for Shakespearean successspearean success

By Emily Lewson
On February 25, 2014

From Feb. 28 to March 9, the Connecticut Repertory Theatre is presenting "Much Ado About Nothing" by William Shakespeare in the Nafe Katter Theater. Paul Mullins directs the Shakespearean comedy and modernizes the intertwining love stories.
 The play describes the homecoming of Claudio and Benedick, who have been away at war. While visiting Leonato's house, Claudio immediately falls in love with Leonato's daughter, Hero, and they decide to marry. Meanwhile, Benedick and Leonato's niece, Beatrice, have clashing, witty personalities that lead to amusing banter. In the week preceding Claudio and Hero's wedding, tragedy strikes. The characters must deal with societal expectations, adultery and death. The comedy drives characters and audience members on an emotional rollercoaster while laughing all the way.
 "Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy of manners," said Mullins in a media release. "The most socially and psychologically realistic of Shakespeare's comedies, the play and its 'merry war' between the sexes is a precursor of restoration comedies, screwball comedies and even the romantic comedies of today." By setting the play in the 1950's, Mullins modernizes "Much Ado About Nothing." Soldiers are returning home from the Korean War and play out the original Shakespearean storyline.
"We wanted this production to be an American telling of the story," Mullins said. "We chose the early 1950s, the end of the Korean War, as the period for Shakespeare's tale of soldiers returning from war, the women at home, love, jealousy, marriage, laughter and a few tears."
 Although this modern adaptation sounds strange, Mullins has directed many Shakespearean plays. He worked with The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, The Old Globe and The Studio Theatre, which all focus on the bard's works. Besides presenting Shakespearean works, Mullins also has experience with CRT; he staged last season's "Hairspray" and 2011's "I'm Connecticut" by Mike Reiss.
James Jelkin will take center stage as Benedick, with Sarah Wintermeyer as Beatrice and David McCann as Leonato. Jelkin is a 3rd year graduate actor who has had many important roles in CRT's past performances as well as experience with Monomoy Theatre, Mass. and University of Nebraska Kearney. Wintermeyer is also a 3rd year graduate actor who was described in the media release as matching "wits in this hilarious battle of the sexes." McCann has performed internationally for over forty years.
Tickets for all shows can be found on the Connecticut Repertory Theatre website. There will be a preview showing of the production on Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Nafe Katter Theatre.

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