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Much Ado About Nothing

By William Shakespeare

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On the sun-drenched island of Sicily, a group of soldiers have made a triumphant return from war, flush with victory—only to find that the battle between the sexes is not so easily won. Two River Theater launches our season with Shakespeare’s wittiest and most delightful romantic comedy, directed by Tony Award-nominee Sam Buntrock and starring two of the country’s most acclaimed Shakespeare actors, Michael Cumpsty and Kathryn Meisle, as Benedick and Beatrice.

WATCH

Official Trailer

Meet and Greet

CRITICAL ACCLAIM

Inspiring and innovative.

THEATERMANIA

Remarkable.

ASBURY PARK PRESS

Nothing short of sublime.

SCENE ON STAGE

Directed with great imagination and variety.

THE NEW YORK TIMES

MEET THE ARTISTS

THE CAST

Dogberry

John Ahlin
John Ahlin

John Ahlin has previously appeared at Two River as Zuckerman in Charlotte’s Web and in The Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Waiting for Godot. Most recently John was seen in A Dram of Drummhicit, a world premiere by Arthur Kopit and Anton Dudley at La Jolla Playhouse, and B.H. Barry’s adaptation of Treasure Island in New York. Broadway credits: Waiting for Godot (with Bill Irwin, Nathan Lane, and John Glover), Journey’s End (2007 Tony Award Best Revival), The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Voices in the Dark, One Mo’ Time, Whoopee! and Macbeth. Off-Broadway John portrayed Orson Welles in Orson’s Shadow. TV credits: Law & Order: SVU, Third Watch, As the World Turns, The Education of Max Bickford. Regional experience includes Pittsburgh Public Theater, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Old Globe, Goodman Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, and the Goodspeed Opera House.

Leonato

Tom Bloom
Tom Bloom

Tom Bloom has appeared on Broadway in Cyrano, Henry IV, and Racing Demon. Off Broadway: Timon of Athens (New York Shakespeare Festival); The Widow’s Blind Date (Circle in the Square); All’s Well (Theatre for a New Audience); Arms and the Man (Roundabout); The Winter’s Tale (Classic Stage). Also: Lincoln Center, Manhattan Theatre Club, Pearl, Playwrights Horizons. Regional: The Clean House (Yale Rep); Taming of the Shrew (Shakespeare Theatre, DC); Ah, Wilderness! (Baltimore Center Stage); Learned Ladies of Park Ave (Hartford Stage); The Rivals, Taming of the Shrew, many more (Williamstown). Other regional: Portland Stage (ME), Portland Center Stage (OR), George Street, Guthrie, Huntington, McCarter, NY Stage & Film, Bard SummerScape, Buffalo’s Studio Arena, Trinity Rep. Film/TV: The Thomas Crown Affair, Joshua, Emperor’s Club, Best Thief in the World, Max Bickford, Damages, Wonderland, Ed, Law & Order, L&0: SVU, L&O: Criminal Intent, The Jury. Directing: Abingdon, Pearl (NYC); Capital Rep; Theatre By The Sea, NH; Caldwell Theatre, FL; American Premiere Stage, Boston (AD); others.

Friar Francis, Verges

Connor Carew
Connor Carew

Connor Carew is thrilled to return to Two River after appearing in last season’s Much Ado About Nothing (Friar, Verges). Regional credits: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Snout) and tours ofRomeo and Juliet (Friar Laurence), Macbeth (Banquo), andThe Odyssey (Eurylochus) with the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey;Troilus and Cressida (Antenor) and tour ofJulius Caesar (Brutus) with Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival; 2011 Apprentice with the Pearl Theatre Company in NYC. Connor holds degrees from Temple University and the New School for Drama.

Benedick

Michael Cumpsty
Michael Cumpsty

Michael Cumpsty has appeared in The Lion in Winter, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Absurd Person Singular, Present Laughter and Much Ado about Nothing at Two River Theater, where he also directed The Importance of being Earnest and Third. Broadway credits include Machinal, The Winslow Boy, End of the Rainbow (Tony nomination), Sunday in the Park with George, The Constant Wife, Democracy, Enchanted April, 42nd Street, Copenhagen, Electra, 1776, Racing Demon, The Heiress, Translations, Timon of Athens (Bayfield Award), La Bête and Artist Descending a Staircase. Off-Broadway credits include Hamlet (Obie Award), Richard II and Richard III (all for Classic Stage Company); Twelfth Night, Timon of Athens, All’s Well That Ends Well, Hamlet, Cymbeline and The Winter’s Tale (all for the New York Shakespeare Festival); The Body of an American (Primary Stages and Hartford Stage). He has appeared in many of America’s premiere regional theaters, and played Leontes in The Winter’s Tale for the Royal Shakespeare Company at their home in Stratford-upon-Avon. TV: recurring roles on Boardwalk Empire, Nurse Jackie and Star Trek: Voyager; L.A. Law (series regular); Red Oaks, The OA, Madam Secretary, The Good Wife, Law & Order and Elementary. Film: Eat Pray Love, Wall Street 2, Starting Out in the Evening, The Ex, Flags of our Fathers, The Visitor, The Ice Storm, Fatal Instinct, State of Grace, Downtown Express and Collateral Beauty.

Don John

Sean Dugan
Sean Dugan

Sean Dugan: Broadway: Next Fall (Drama Desk nomination). Off-Broadway: The Illusion, Next Fall, The English Channel, Perfect Harmony, BFF, Nerds, Valhalla, Corpus Christi, Flesh and Blood, Shakespeare’s R & J. Regional: The Picture of Dorian Gray (Round House Theatre); Rough Crossing (Yale Rep) The Cry of the Reed (Huntington Theatre Company) The English Channel (Walsh Theatre/Vineyard Playhouse); The Four of Us (The Old Globe); Three Sisters, Enrico Four, Antigone, The Doctor’s Dilemma, Loot, Richard II, The Idiots Karamazov, The Cripple of Inishmaan (American Repertory Theatre); The Seagull, Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 (California Shakespeare Festival); Spring Forward, Fall Back (Theatre J and Vineyard Playhouse). National Tour: Swiss Family Robinson. International: Three Sisters at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival. Film/TV: On the Slope, Gigantic, Trust the Man, Company Man, Overnight Sensation, I Just Want My Pants Back, Eden, The Good Wife, Fringe, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Beat, Oz. Education: B.A. Theater Arts, Brandeis University

Borachio

Christopher Hirsh
Christopher Hirsh

Christopher Hirsh is making his first appearance at Two River Theater. New York: First Prize at ArcLight Theatre, kef productions; The Ring Cycle: Part 1 at PS122 undergroundzero festival; The Ring, Part 1+2 at the Bushwick Starr, Performance Lab 115; iTake 101 2010 at Walkerspace presented by Theater Masters. His regional credits include Berkshire Playwrights Festival; The North Carolina, Great River, and Illinois Shakespeare Festivals; and Connecticut Repertory Theatre. Film: God of Love, a Luke Matheny Production, which won the 2011 Academy Award for Live Action Short. He received his MFA from the University of Connecticut.

Margaret

Tia James
Tia James

Tia James is thrilled to be part of Much Ado with Two River Theater. Tia has recently been seen in UglyRhino’s debut of #nyc. You may have caught her on Broadway earlier this year in The Public’s Merchant of Venice, she previously spent an amazing summer in Merchant and The Winter’s Tale with Shakespeare in the Park. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program, Tia has starred in a number of plays including Once in a Lifetime; Tongue of a Bird; Rift, Mud, River, Stone; The Philanderer, Strindberg-Strindberg; and Hot 1 Baltimore. Tia’s TV credits include Nurse Jackie and Treme. She received her BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Tia thanks God, family, and friends for their love and support. “This above all: to thine own self be true..,” Hamlet Act I, iïi Polonius.

Conrade

Kevin Kelly 
Kevin Kelly 

Kevin Kelly Two River Theater: Accidental Death of an Anarchist, All My Sons,Opus, Much Ado About Nothing. New York theater includes NYSF/Public Theater (Richard III, The Brother/Sister Plays, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing), the Acting Company, HERE, Lincoln Center Institute, 59E59. Regional appearances include Adirondack Theatre Festival, Arena Stage, Delaware Theatre Company, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Guthrie Theater, O’Neill Center/National Playwrights Conference, Palm Beach Dramaworks, Peterborough Players, Portland Stage, Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, Triad Stage. Film/TV includes As the World Turns, All My Children, Guiding Light, One Life to Live, Law & Order, and Looking Out, a new film by Chris Haag. Musical appearances include Erin and Her Cello, Zibaldone, and particular subway stations around the city. Education: NYU/Tisch Graduate Acting Program.

Balthasar, Watchman

Nick LaMedica
Nick LaMedica

Nick LaMedica is so excited to be working on this show with Two River! NY theatre: Romeo and Juliet (Romeo with Sink or Swim Rep and Crash Theatre), Birthday Triage (Horace Mann Theatre), Return to the Onion Cellar: A Dark Rock Musical (NY International Fringe Festival/La MaMa), Titus Andronicus (American Globe Theatre), Regional: Romeo and Juliet (Romeo with Shakespeare Miami and Tybalt with Castle Shakespeare Rep). Other recent favorites include Rabbit Hole, Our Town, and She Stoops to Conquer. He is a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College: BFA Acting & Musical Theatre. Special thanks to the Wilton family for letting me crash-you guys rock! My love and gratitude to my incredible parents, friends, family, and Lilly. Without your support and love, none of this would be possible! Visit Nick on the web: www.NickLaMedica.com and bit.ly/NickLaMedica.

Beatrice

Kathryn Meisle
Kathryn Meisle

Kathryn Meisle has appeared on Broadway in A Touch of the Poet, The Constant Wife, Tartuffe (Tony Award nomination and Calloway Award), London Assurance, The Rehearsal, Racing Demon (Lincoln Center). Off-Broadway: Women Beware Women at Red Bull Theater (Calloway Award); Living Out (Second Stage);Top Secret, What You Get and What You Expect, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told (New York Theatre Workshop);Old Money (Lincoln Center); Twelfth Night, As You Like It (Drama Desk nomination) and Othello (New York Shakespeare Festival). Recent regional credits include: Leaving by Václav Havel with David Strathairn at Wilma Theater; Creditors at La Jolla Playhouse; A Flea in Her Ear at Williamstown Theatre Festival; The Real Thing and Three Sisters at The Guthrie. In NJ: Wonderful Tennessee, Humpty Dumpty, and Mrs. Packard at the McCarter; Blithe Spirit and Little Foxes at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Film and TV appearances include: Private Practice, Body of Proof, The Closer, Bones, The Unusuals, Lie to Me, Grey’s Anatomy, Damages, New Amsterdam, Brothers & Sisters, Without a Trace, OZ, Law & Order, NYPD Blue, Bereavement, You’ve Got Mail, The Shaft, and Rosewood.

Claudio

Aaron Clifton Moten
Aaron Clifton Moten

Aaron Clifton Moten: Recent New York credits include Regan in King Lear directed by Ed Iskandar; Henry V in The Life of King Henry the Fifth directed by Nigel Smith; The Seagull directed by Richard Feldman; A Raisin in the Sun directed by Jade King Carroll (The Juilliard School). Regional: Sweeney Todd (Texas Long Center). Film: Soft Focus (Roderick Gailes OBC Productions). Alumnus, The Juilliard School.

Ursula, Sexton

Mary Anne O'Brien
Mary Anne O'Brien

Mary Anne O’Brien is a member of Two River’s Local Artists Network. As such, she made her debut on stage here last season as Mrs. Zuckerman’s understudy in Charlotte’s Web. She has also understudied Amanda in The Glass Menagerie, Ariadne in Heartbreak House, Mom in ReEntry, and Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other professional credits include print, commercials, industrials, and film. Many thanks to her family, especially her husband Kevin and her two sons Kevin and Matt; her teachers Terrie, Ruth and Cheryl; and everyone at Two River Theater Company for this performing opportunity and for their ongoing support.

Don Pedro

Steven Skybell
Steven Skybell

Steven Skybell returns to Two River, where he was previously seen in On Borrowed Time, The Electric Baby, Much Ado About Nothing, and Candida. Broadway: Pal Joey; Wicked; The Full MontyLove! Valour! Compassion!Café CrownAh, Wilderness!. Off-Broadway includes: Antigone in New York (Obie Award); Love’s Labor’s Lost (The Public); A Man’s a Man, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Galileo, and The Age of Iron (all CSC); The Lesson (Atlantic); The Controversy (The Public), What Didn’t Happen (Playwrights Horizons); numerous Shakespeare productions at the Delacorte, The Public, and Theatre for a New Audience. Regional credits include Arthur in Camelot (Helen Hayes nomination); title roles in Uncle Vanya (McCarter/La Jolla) and Hamlet (California Shakespeare); Berkshire Theatre Festival; Westport Country Playhouse; former company member of American Repertory Theatre, Cambridge, Mass.; inaugural season of Shakespeare’s Globe, London (PBS Great Performances). BBC radio drama: The Day That Lehman Died (Peabody Award). TV/Film: 666 Park Avenue, ElementaryLaw & OrderSex and the CityAll My ChildrenSimply IrresistibleCradle Will RockTom and Francie.

Hero

Annapurna Sriram
Annapurna Sriram

Annapurna Sriram is a southern native hailing from Nashville Tennessee. She is making her Two River debut with Much Ado About Nothing. Past favorite roles include Frida Kahlo in McCarter Theatre’s Youth Ink! Festival, Henrietta Iscariot in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot at Rutgers University, Pharaoh Hatshepsut in Egyptology at Rutgers University, various roles in Fire Mirror at Rutgers University, and Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe, London and Rutgers University. Annapurnais recent graduate of the BFA Acting Program at Rutgers University.

Antonio, Watchman

Zeke Zaccaro
Zeke Zaccaro

Zeke Zaccaro has worked as an actor, designer, technician, and administrator in theater, film, dance, opera, and television for more than 40 years, in venues ranging from storefront theaters to summer stock barns to the Metropolitan Opera. He has worked with, among others, Mandy Patinkin, Meredith Baxter, Treat Williams, Michael J. Fox, David Birney, a rabbit, and a goat. During the past 14 years, Zeke has served in various capacities at Two River Theateróas carpenter, Technical Director, and Production Manager. For the past seven years he has been the theater’s Director of Operations.

THE CREATIVES

Director

Sam Buntrock
Sam Buntrock

Sam Buntrock directed the first Broadway revival of Sunday in the Park with George, a production that originated at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory and also played in the West End and at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre. Honors for the production include five Olivier Awards including Outstanding Musical Production and an Olivier nomination for Best Director; nine Tony nominations including Best Director; and a Drama Desk nomination for Best Director. His other recent credits include A Maze (New York Stage & Film), Cradle and All (Manhattan Theatre Club), Cradle to Rave (UK National Tour), God Collar (Edinburg UK National Tour and West End), the World and American Premieres of Take Flight (Menier and Mc Carter) the current European tour of the Rocky Horror Show (since 2008), the first London revival of Assassins (New End), Get a Life and Help Yourself (both Edinburgh and UK tour). He has also worked as an Animation Director on numerous projects including the feature film Stuart, A Life Backwards for Neal Street Productions, HBO, and the BBC. Sam trained at Bristol University and as Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar Warehouse.

Scenic Designer

Tony Straiges
Tony Straiges

Tony Straiges: Broadway credits include Enchanted April, Golden Child, I Hate Hamlet, Artist Descending A Staircase, Into the Woods, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Rumors, Sunday in the Park with George, and Timbuktu!. Off-Broadway credits include: Chasing Manet, Tea at Five, Diamonds, From Door to Door, Meet Me in St. Louis, Treasure Island. Regional Theater credits include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (Yale Rep); Galileo, the Importance of Being Earnest (Arena Stage); Savages, Misalliance (CENTERSTAGE) Summer and Smoke, the Glass Menageries (Hartford Stage); Angels in America, A Flea in Her Ear (Alley Theatre); Dividing the Estate (People’s Light and Theatre). Tony has designed for the Royal Swedish Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. His designed models and sketches are included in the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts-McNav Art Museum, San Antonio, Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute at the University of Ohio, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Library, New York City; Harvard Theatre Collection, Harvard University.

Costume Designer

Mattie Ullrich
Mattie Ullrich

Mattie Ullrich is a New York-based costume designer working in opera, theater, and film. Upcoming productions include Nabucco (Washington National Opera, Minnesota Opera, and Opera Company of Philadelphia), Yentl (Asolo Rep, Sarasota), I Due Foscari (LA Opera), and Don Giovanni (Norwegian National Opera). She has spent a major part of her career designing cutting-edge theater in New York City for companies such as The New Group, Vineyard Theatre, Second Stage, Manhattan Theatre Club, Classic Stage Company, Playwrights Horizons and New York Theatre Workshop. Off-Broadway credits include Cradle and All at MTC (directed by Sam Buntrock), The Pride (directed by Joe Mantello), The Starry Messenger (starring Matthew Broderick), Things We Want (directed by Ethan Hawke) and Fault Lines (directed by David Schwimmer). She recently designed the costumes for Stephen Shwartz’s much-loved musical Working, reworked with new songs from Tony-winning In the Heights creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, for Broadway in Chicago. Amongst her notable film designs are Year of the Fish (Sundance), Sweet Flame (starring Mira Sorvino) and Sovereignty (award-winning short). She was awarded the First Prize in the European Opera Prize competition in 2006 with Thaddeus Strassberger for their creation of Opera Ireland’s production of La Cenerentola, which was a co-production with the Hessisches Staatstheater in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Lighting Designer

Brian Tovar
Brian Tovar

Brian Tovar: Recent NYC: The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (NYMF), Les Enfants de Paris (NYMF), The Lapsburgh Layover (Ars Nova), Next Thing You Know (CAP21), Just Cause (Flea), Spidermusical (Mint), The Bikinis (QTIP), Follow Me Down (Flea), Veritas (FringeNYC), Accidentally, Like a Martyr (The Wild Project), Hangman School for Girls (Manhattan Theatre Source), Blue Surge (The Wild Project), Street Lights (NYMF), Vote! (FringeNYC), Factory Girls (Ars Nova, Joe’s Pub), Caught in the Threshold (Peter Jay Sharp Theatre), Rabbit Ho (ATA), The Wendigo (Medicine Show), Perez Hilton Saves the Universe (FringeNYC), The Wendy Complex (MITF, Outstan Award), among others. Regional: Northern Stage, ReVisio Twin Tiers. Broadway (asst to): HAIR, Passing Strange. Upcoming projects and more at www.BrianTovar Design.com

Sound Designer/Original Music

Mark Bennett
Mark Bennett

Mark Bennett: Broadway scores and or sound designs include The Coast of Utopia (Outstanding Music for Play, Drama Desk Award; Sound Design, Henry Hewes Award), Driving Miss Daisy, A Steady Rain, Henry IV, Golda’s Balcony, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Goat, A View from the Bridge. Sam Mendes’ The Bridge Project (BAM and The Old Vic, London). Off-Broadway: credits at Lincoln Center Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, and The Public Theater include Mad Forest; Light Shining in Buckinghamshire; Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them; My Children! My Africa!; Valhalla, and scoring 10 Shakespeare productions for The Public Theater. Regional: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (La Jolla Playhouse), An lliad (McCarter), Dead End (Williamstown/Mark Taper Forum). Honors include the Obie for Sustained Excellence in Sound Design, Bessie, Ovation, Robbie and Garland Awards; and 10 Drama Desk nominations.

Vocal Coach

Deborah Hecht
Deborah Hecht

Deborah Hecht previously worked at Two River Theater as Vocal Coach on My Wonderful Day and Much Ado About Nothing. Broadway: Cabaret (upcoming), Bridges of Madison County, Hands on a Hard Body, Golden Boy, Venus in Fur, EvitaSpider-Man, Driving Miss Daisy, A Free Man of Color, A Life in the Theatre, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Finian’s Rainbow, The Seagull, Cyrano, Long Day’s Journey into Night, The Crucible, Mary Poppins, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Angels in America, numerous others. Off-Broadway: Lincoln Center (most recently Blood and Gifts), The Public Theater (including many Shakespeare productions in Central Park), Signature Theatre (including the recent Angels in America), Manhattan Theatre Club, New York Theatre Workshop, Vineyard, others. Regional: Yale Rep, Long Wharf, Seattle Rep, Berkeley Rep, many others. England: RSC, National. Film: Leaves of Grass, The Producers, Kinsey, Stardust, others. Faculty: NYU Grad Acting, Juilliard.

Production Stage Manager

Whitney McAnally
Whitney McAnally

Whitney McAnally has previously stage managed Much Ado about Nothing, Candida, and Opus at Two River. She spent 10 seasons as a resident stage manager at Milwaukee Repertory Theater where she worked on more than 35 productions, including The Normon Conquests, Escape from Happiness, Tartuffe, Half Life, The Magic Fire, Work Song, and The Blonde Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead. Regionally she has also stage managed at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Madison Repertory Theatre, Austin Lyric Opera, and Des Moines Metro Opera. Whitney just returned from her 11th summer season at Cincinnati Opera, where she stage managed A Flowering Tree and The Magic Flute. This is for Raymond, who brought me here to New Jersey in the first place.

Casting

Janet Foster
Janet Foster

Janet Foster, C.S.A. (Casting) Broadway: The Light in the Piazza (Artios nomination), Lennon, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Taking Sides (co-cast), and the upcoming Broadway revival of Talley’s Folly. Off-Broadway: Lucy, Close Ties, Brundibar, True Love, Endpapers, The Dying Gaul, The Maiden’s Prayer, Dream True, Trojan Women: A Love Story. Playwrights Horizons: Floyd Collins, The Monogamis, A Cheever Evening, Later Life, and many more. Regional: Intiman, Seattle Rep, ACT, California Shakespeare Theater, Berkeley Rep, Dallas Theater Center, Pittsburgh Public, Yale Rep, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf, Old Globe, CENTERSTAGE, Westport Country Playhouse, and ART. Film/ IV/Radio: Cosby (CBS), Tracy Takes on New York (HBO), The Deal by Lewis Black, and Advice from a Caterpillar, For BBC World Services and Blackhawk Productions, The Day That Lehman Died (Peabody, SONY, and Wincott Award winner). Ms.Foster is relocating to San Francisco where she will be the Casting Director/Artistic Associate at the American Conservatory Theater.

Dates and tickets

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