Boston, MA — Boston, MA — Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC) and Artistic Director Steven Maler are pleased to announce the cast and creative team of Free Shakespeare on the Common in the summer of 2022 – William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian. Performances will begin on The Boston Common on Wednesday, July 20 at 8PM (with press opening on Wednesday, July 27 at 8PM) and end on Sunday, August 7.
Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare’s most popular and frequently performed plays. The plot revolves around two couples — witty Beatrice and Benedick, who publicly proclaim their disdain for each other but fall madly in love; and naive Hero and Claudio, who fall quickly in love only to be thwarted and then reunited (in both
cases, with a bit of help from their friends). But it’s more than just a comedic romp. The play tackles serious themes too: trust and betrayal, power and privilege, gendered expectations around chastity and violence. This is a comedy entangled with a tragedy, where love and justice nevertheless manage to prevail with vigorous joy — a perfect
play for our uncertain times.
Our production sets Shakespeare’s hilarious tale of wits and wills among the vibrant and re-defining time of the 1990s. Bringing a new perspective to the roles of Benedick and Beatrice are Tia James and Rachael Warren, with Erik Robles as Count Claudio, Rebecca-Anne Whittaker as Hero, and Michael Underhill as the dashing
Don Pedro. Other principal cast members are Remo Airaldi as Leonato, Siobhan Juanita Brown as Friar Francis, Sarah Corey as Borachio, John Kuntz as Antonio, Gunnar Manchester as Don John, and Debra Wise as Dogberry. Zoe Abuyuan, Siobhán Carroll, Nettie Chickering, Duncan Gallagher, Jessica Golden, Jaime Jose Hernandez, Jordyn Palmer, Jon Vellante, Xander Viera, and Dylan C. Wack complete the cast. Set design is by Lawrence E. Moten III, lighting design by Eric Southern and Maximo Grano De Oro, costume design by Miranda Guirleo, sound design is by Nathan Leigh and Elizabeth Cahill, choreography by Levi Philip Marsman, fight and intimacy direction by Jessica Scout Malone, assistant direction by Ludmila Brita and production stage management by Colleen
Much Ado About Nothing was first performed in 1612 in London. CSC has performed the play once before, in 2004 on the Boston Common. Director Megan Sandberg-Zakian is a theater director, author, and facilitator. Based in
Boston, she has directed at Boston-area theaters including most recently Mr. Parent at the Lyric Stage, as well as at the Huntington Theatre, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, and Merrimack Repertory Theatre, among many others. Her productions have received both Elliot Norton and IRNE awards. She has directed plays across the country, including at the New York Theatre Workshop, Cal Shakes, and Capital Repertory Theatre. Megan
is co-founder of Maia Directors, a consulting group for artists and organizations engaging with stories from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. Her book, There Must be Happy Endings: On a Theater of Optimism and Honesty, is available from the 3rd Thing Press. Megan is a graduate of Brown University and holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. She has previously served as the Associate Artistic Director of Underground Railway Theater, the Providence Black Repertory Company, and the 52nd Street Project in NYC, and as Director-in-Residence at Merrimack Repertory Theatre. She is a recipient of the Princess Grace Theater
Performances of Much Ado will take place at the Parkman Bandstand on the Boston Common and are FREE of charge. Audience members can bring blankets or chairs, or can rent chairs on site for $10, and are permitted to bring modest food items to consume at the show. A limited number of reserved seats are available in our Friends
Section with a donation of $100 per seat to our Friends Fund, starting June 15th. CSC provides a range of accessibility services including assistive listening devices and large print programs at every performance, and ASL interpretation, open captioning, and audio description at selected performances. Specific accessible performance dates TBA.
As part of their commitment to access and equity in the arts, Amazon has joined CSC as a lead sponsor of Much Ado About Nothing. Their contribution aids CSC in our mission to continue to democratize theater in Greater Boston and beyond. Much Ado About Nothing is also supported by our generous sponsors and partners: the Liberty Mutual Foundation, the Klarman Family Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Ovation TV, Xfinity, Boston Cultural Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, GBH, EDGE Media Network, DIG, Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, Downtown Boston BID, the Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, The Boston Globe, Suffolk University, The Newbury Boston, Vantage Graphics, MIX 104.1, Democracy Brewing, and Ben and Jerry’s.
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company is excited to partner with the Boston Lyric
Opera to bring free performances of Charles Gounod’s operatic treatment of Romeo & Juliet to our stage this summer. CSC’s very own Artistic Director, Steve Maler, will direct, and BLO Music Director David Angus will conduct, with Vanessa Bessera as Juliet and Ricardo Garcia as Romeo. It will also host performances of IBA Boston’s
Tito Puente Latin Music Series. More information to come.