The boys are coming home in this summer’s production of Much Ado About Nothing starting Thursday (August 16th) so here are a few reasons why you should grab your lawn chairs (or picnic blankets) and head to the park:
1. It’s free!
All performances of Much Ado About Nothing are offered free to the public. We do ask for a $10 donation (so we can keep bringing affordable Shakespeare to you), but if you can’t pay, we won’t turn you away. Shakespeare for everybody!
2. It’s fun!
Much Ado About Nothing as a musical? This is not a stuffy, pretentious production of Shakespeare. In the words of Director Denice Hicks, “If this production of Much Ado About Nothing doesn’t lift your spirits, lighten your mood and tickle your funny bone, why then, you might just be a grouch!”
Side note: Much Ado About Nothing has much in common with a classic screwball comedy. There are farcical situations, a combination of slapstick with fast-paced repartee, struggles between the economic classes, a strong female lead, marriage. Think Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart. Never seen a screwball comedy? Watch this video tribute to see what you’ve been missing!
3. Gene Kelly.
True confessions: Gene Kelly won’t actually be appearing on stage with us (he passed away in 1996), but our Benedick, Patrick Waller, does bear an uncanny resemblance to him. That aside, we were inspired by the pure joy and magic Gene Kelly continues to bring to audiences through musicals like An American in Paris, Singing in the Rain, Take Me Out to the Ball Game and The Pirate. With original music and lyrics by Janet McMahan and David Huntsinger, we aim to have you dancing and singing all the way home in the way these movies do!
4. Shakespeare makes you smarter.
Good news! According to this article, hearing the flowery language of Shakespeare actually engages parts of your brain that just hearing plain old normal words does not, and therefore could improve (or at least maintain over time) brain ability. Professor Philip Davis from the University of Liverpool’s School of English predicts that without this kind of creative language, you could experience “a gradual deadening of the brain.” Perhaps you should come see Much Ado twice.
5. It’s at the park.
The great outdoors. The smell of fresh cut grass. The sound of wind rustling leaves on the trees. Geese. The challenges of both attending and putting on a Shakespeare production outdoors in the late summer are endless. But the benefits of attending a Shakespeare play performed as Shakespeare as Shakespeare would have done it (outside) far outweigh them. If you have never seen a Shakespeare play performed outdoors, hauled your favorite picnic stuffs and lawn chairs to the park, friends and family in tow, you’ve never really seen one. It’s magic.
6. It’s dog-friendly! (Enough said)
If none of those reasons work for you, come see Shakespeare in the Park so that Shakespeare in the Park continues to exist. And who doesn’t love to oogle what other people pull out of their picnic baskets?
Much Ado About Nothing will run through September 16th at Centennial Park in Nashville. More info here.