“Much Ado About Nothing is Much About Something Good!”

The great reviews just keep rolling in for Much Ado About Nothing!  James Murray from Showbiz Chicago writes,

Midsommer Flight has been performing his plays in different parks throughout Chicago since 2012 and if their current production of Much Ado About Nothing is any indicator, this is a company with a strong vision, great artistic direction and some strong actors who are at ease with the language, possess excellent diction and understanding of the text and excel at the art of story-telling…. Director Beth Wolf has done a fine job with staging the piece and getting some really great comic performances out of the actors…. Benedick and Beatrice [are] played with matched skill and strong chemistry by Martel Manning and Ashlee Edgemon…. Beth Wolf and Midsommer Flight’s Much Ado about Nothing is highly entertaining and people should flock to see the magic that is created by this talented group through poetic language, superb story-telling and strong direction and acting. Read the whole review.

More Praise for “a rollicking, high-energy Much Ado About Nothing”

Yet another reviewer loves Much Ado About Nothing.  Hugh Iglarsh of Newcity Stage writes,

Some of the nicer things in life really are free, such as Shakespeare served al fresco on a summer evening by the talented and community-minded Midsommer Flight theater collective. Now in its third year, the troupe is presenting a rollicking, high-energy “Much Ado About Nothing” …

The trick to staging the most difficult-to-follow playwright in the most distracting of settings is to visually underscore the action. Director Beth Wolf gives us a good example of this…

Ashlee Edgemon [as Beatrice] and Martel Manning [as Benedick] offer us convincingly zesty, bawdy versions of the two lovers…  Midsommer Flight gives us the meat of a marvelous play in a form that all can enjoy, for one evening turning a nothing scrap of city park into an imaginative something to behold. Read the whole review.

Another Rave Review: “Get thee to a park! Make haste!”

Another rave review for Much Ado About Nothing!  Barbara Keer of Splash Magazine called the show an “amazing production.” She writes,

Summer Magic in a Chicago Park
We could not remember a Shakespeare production that we found more enjoyable including outdoor productions in Cardiff, Wales, Livermore, CA and even formal productions at the Stratford Festival in Canada.

The large cast kept the action moving and with no raised stage, the actors essentially surrounded the audience and involved us in the action. It was fascinating to see the way the performance space became defined. The actors spoke each and every word clearly and audibly.  It was a delightful performance, accessible and involving.  The costuming was perfect and the actions, sword fight, dancing, singing and movements into the performance space and away held the audience’s attention including the children who attended.  All of the actors were convincing in their roles and the language seemed to flow into the action. (This play is unusual in that it is written in prose rather than poetry.)  However, Ashlee Edgemon as Beatrice was irresistible.  I have been telling all my friends, so I should also tell my readers to “Get thee to a park.  Make haste!”  Read the whole review here.

Ms. Keer also snapped some great pictures of the crowd at the opening performance. Check out the review on Splash Magazine’s website to see her photos!

Much Ado About Nothing is “Something to fall in love with”

Much Ado About Nothing opened this weekend to great weather, big crowds, and delighted critics!  Our first review is out and it’s a rave: Katy Walsh of The Fourth Walsh writes,

Well, this is much ado about something.  The show is a tightly-packed comedy.  Director  Beth Wolf has actors entering and exiting the makeshift stage by running.  The action clips.  The barbs fly.  The love grows.  It’s time to fall in love with Shakespeare’s favorite unlikely couple.Much Ado About Nothing in the park is an ideal summer outing notion.  Read the whole rave review here.

We had a great time this weekend and we can’t wait to get out there at Schreiber Park again next weekend. Plan your visit now to come see the show!

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Get a sneak peek at Much Ado About Nothing

Thanks to photographer Zack Whittingon, we have some early photos to share! Check out our two couples: Beatrice (Ashlee Edgemon) and Benedick (Martel Manning), and Hero (Vivian Knouse) and Claudio (Adam Habben).

The show opens July 19. Make your plans now!

#ctc4respect

There is an online, grassroots movement happening this week in the Chicago Theatre Community.  Several Chicago theatre folks were very moved by the response to the recent UCSB shooting, and specifically the #yesallwomen and #allmencan hashtags.  They have started a campaign for the Chicago theatre community to show our support by posting photos on Facebook of ourselves holding signs with supportive messages.

One of the architects of the movement, John Morrison, said on Facebook, “I strongly believe that the best way to face anger, contempt, and cruelty is with empathy, compassion, and kindness.” Here is Midsommer Flight’s photo, taken at Much Ado About Nothing rehearsal on June 17, 2014.

ctc4respect

Rehearsal Photos

Last night was our first rehearsal outside.  It feels great to be out in the parks again!

Support Free Shakespeare in the Park

Our annual fundraising campaign is underway! Please help us reach our goal to raise $1,000 by July 18, 2014, the day before Much Ado About Nothing opens.

Your contribution will support all areas of our production: costumes, prop & scenic elements, and administrative costs, to name a few. Because we present our performances free to the public, we are counting on support from our generous donors to help defray the costs of production.

Please consider a donation of the average cost of a theatre ticket in Chicago (anywhere from $50 to $20) to support free Shakespeare in the park.

To make your contribution, click here.  Thank you!

Announcing the cast of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Headshot Thumbnail-Much Ado

We are thrilled to announce that casting is complete for Much Ado About Nothing.  Thank you so much to all of the actors who auditioned; we had tough decisions to make and we sincerely appreciate everyone’s time and talent.

And now, the cast of this summer’s Much Ado About Nothing (to see photos of the actors, click here):

Benedick Martel Manning
Beatrice Ashlee Edgemon
Claudio Adam Habben
Hero Vivian Knouse
Leonato Scott Olson
Antonio J. Preddie Predmore
Don Pedro Chris Smith
Don John Frank Sawa
Borachio Jason Markoff
Conrade Liam Fitzgerald
Ursula Kanome Jones
Margaret Meredith Ernst
Balthasar Elizabeth Rentfro
Dogberry Jared Dennis
Verges Christina Renee Jones
Watch 1 Glenn Garrabrant
Watch 2 Meg Harkins
Watch 3 Travis Cook
Sexton/Friar Sheila Willis

Announcing Summer 2014 Plans

A CHICAGO SUMMER TRADITION CONTINUES AS MIDSOMMER FLIGHT ANNOUNCES ITS OUTDOOR SUMMER PRODUCTION OF

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

JULY 19 – AUGUST 24, 2014

Midsommer Flight Returns to Rogers Park’s Touhy Park and Scheiber Park and Adds Gross Park in Lincoln Square to the Chicago Park District Venues Hosting Shakespeare’s Enchanting Comedy, Perfect for the Whole Family.

Midsommer Flight announces its third summer season of Shakespeare in the Park with the delightful comedy Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare and directed by Midsommer Flight’s Founder and Producing Artistic Director Beth Wolf. Dedicated to presenting outdoor performances of Shakespeare’s plays, Midsommer Flight is a proud arts partner with the Chicago Park District.

Much Ado About Nothing runs for six weeks from July 19 through August 24, Saturdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. For performance locations and details, click here. All performances will be presented free of charge (donations gratefully accepted). In addition, live music will be presented a half hour prior to each performance. Audiences are encouraged to come early and bring a picnic to enjoy this free programming.

Midsommer Flight’s Much Ado About Nothing features a cast of 20 and tells a tale of love winning out despite any obstacles. One of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies, Much Ado takes the audience to an Italian villa, where two pairs of lovers, Beatrice and Benedick, and Claudio and Hero, navigate through deceptions ranging from sinister to hilarious on their journey toward happily ever after.

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We are so excited for another summer and we hope to see you at the park!

 

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