Much Ado

Kaitlyn Rogers, left, Christianne Montoya and Jonathon Duke



 The game of love and the shadows of conspiracy fuel William Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy “Much Ado About Nothing,” opening Sept. 6 at the Manchester Arts Center.

Director Laurie Burger says, “Sometimes people are afraid of Shakespeare because they don't think they'll understand what's going on, but that's definitely not the case with this production. Our amazing cast will make sure you leave laughing.”

This Millennium Rep production is set in 1945, just after the end of World War II. Returning GI Benedick (JD Dill) and feisty and independent hometown girl Beatrice (Amanda N.J. Wright) rekindle their love/hate relationship by hurling flurries of clever insults at each other. He is determined to “die a bachelor,” and Beatrice would rather “hear a dog bark” than hear a man say he loves her, but their friends plot to bring them together.

It’s not all fun and games in Messina, though. Not when there’s a villain, Don John (Hope Petty) and her henchmen Borachio (Rick Ruiz) and Conrade (Ashlee Owens), spreading lies and rumors, and not when the innocent Hero (Kaitlyn Rogers) is defamed at the altar by Claudio (Jonathon Duke) and abandoned by her own mother, Leonato (Christianne Montoya).

The day may be saved by an unlikely crew of bumbling officers of the law, led by the Master Constable Dogberry (Joel Longstreth), who does more damage to the English language than he does to the villains’ schemes.

Also in the cast are Mark Duke as Don Pedro; Jean Frantz as Seacole and Friar; Abby Johnson as Margaret; Casandra Buckner as Ursula; Jennifer Dennison as Verges; and Hailey Hansen as Watchman and Messenger.

Performances are Sept. 6 - 15 at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays.

Tickets are $15, $13 for seniors/military, $5 for students, and are available at or at 931.570.4489. The Manchester Arts Center is located at 128 E. Main St.



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