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Wednesday, 20 April 2011 20:41

Shakespeare on the Sound Announces Casting and Design Team for MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING




“ M U C H   A D O   A B O U T   N O T H I N G ”





Rowayton, CTShakespeare on the Sound, Connecticut’s premier outdoor summer Shakespeare theater company, today announced complete casting for their upcoming production of Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing, under the direction of Joanna Settle.  Much Ado About Nothing will play two beautiful locations on Long Island Sound and feature actors Mozhan Marnó (Beatrice), Gregory Wooddell (Benedick), Claire Brownell (Hero), William Jackson Harper (Claudio), Jesse J. Perez (Don Pedro, Borachio, Ursula), Orlando Pabotoy (Don John, Dogberry, Margaret), Ramsey Faragallah (Leonato), Chivas Michael (Balthasar), and James O’Reilly, Jithendra Seneviratne, and Jacob Presson (Dogberry’s Men).  

As previously announced, Stew and Heidi Rodewald will again return to Shakespeare on the Sound for a third consecutive season to create all new music and songs for the production.  Jesse J. Perez will choreograph.  Set Designer Andrew Lieberman, Costume Designer Tilly Grimes, Lighting Designer Keith Parham, and Sound System Designers Jessica Paz and Obadiah Eaves will also return this summer.  Much Ado About Nothing will play Pinkney Park, Rowayton June 16 – 26 and Baldwin Park, Greenwich July 5 – 10, 2011. 

Much Ado About Nothing will get the now famous Settle/Stew/Rodewald treatment as they plunge into the whirlwind romance, rivalry, and revelry of Beatrice and Benedick, who like so many modern couples are quick to defend themselves from love with wit and humor.  As the characters undo each other through Shakespeare’s biting and cunning language, Shakespeare on the Sound audiences will be undone alike by this intimate waterfront production.

“This summer's production of Much Ado About Nothing finds us throwing a party with the play,” enthused Settle.  “We will ride the story into an unpredictable night when love is found, lost, and then found again.  We will dance 'til we drop, sing song after song, and emerge from the night of hard truths with new joys.  See you in the park!”

Now in its sixteenth season, Shakespeare on the Sound has established itself as one of the most popular summer theater companies on the East Coast, drawing large audiences to each performance in the unique under-the-stars settings of its waterfront venues.

Audiences are invited to arrive early and picnic in the park before the performance.  There is no admission fee, but a donation of $20 ($10 for students and seniors) is suggested.  In Rowayton, parking is limited and early arrival is suggested.  In Greenwich, the production is a five minute walk from the Greenwich Metro-North stop.  Ample parking is available.

For rail and road directions, visit


Mozhan Marnò (Beatrice) was last seen on stage in the one woman production of 9 Parts of Desire, also directed by Joanna Settle, which she performed at the Geffen Playhouse and Berkeley Rep.  She played the title role in the feature film, The Stoning of Soraya M., which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and won the Cinema for Peace Prize at the Berlin Film Festival.  Other film credits include: Traitor, Charlie Wilson's War (Mike Nichols, dir.), and August.  She has made recurring and guest appearances on television shows such as “The Paul Reiser Show,” “The Mentalist,” “Hung,” “Bones,” and “Medium.”  She is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama. 

Gregory Wooddell (Benedick).  Shakespeare on the Sound: A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Theater: Cymbeline (Lincoln Center Theatre); Girl Crazy (Encores! at City Center, Director: Jerry Zaks); Some Men (World Premiere by Terrence McNally, Philadelphia Theatre Company); School of Night (American Premiere, Mark Taper Forum); Miracle at Naples (World Premiere, Huntington Theatre); Dissonance (Bay Street Theatre); Splitting Infinity (Summer Play Festival, Clurman Theatre); An Ideal Husband, The Merchant of Venice, Cyrano, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lady Windermere’s Fan, Othello, Two Gentlemen of Verona, 12th Night, The Country Wife, Don Carlos, Richard II, Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington DC); Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde (Alley Theatre); Much Ado About Nothing, Richard III (Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis). TV/Film: “'30 Rock,” “Exposed,” “'Third Watch,” “Paradise Virus,” “Guiding Light” (recurring), “One Life to Live” (recurring), “'Days of Our Lives.” Training: The Juilliard School.

Claire Brownell (Hero) is making her Shakespeare on the Sound debut.  Broadway: Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps; National Tour: Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps, also seen at La Jolla Playhouse and Seattle Repertory Theatre; NYC Theater: Wonder of the World (The Children’s Theatre Company), Dirge (Ohio Theater), Powerful Voices, Women of Ancient Greek Drama (The Onassis Cultural Center with Olympia Dukakis). Regional Theater: An Ideal Husband (Shakespeare Theatre Company DC), The Rivals, A Christmas Carol (American Conservatory Theater); Bring Love to my Doorstep (Guthrie Studio Theater), Twelfth Night (Montana Shakespeare Company).  Brownell is a graduate of the American Conservatory Theater MFA program and received her BA from Carroll College in Helena, MT.

William Jackson Harper (Claudio) is making his Shakespeare on the Sound debutOff-Broadway: Measure for Measure (The Public Theater), A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick (Playwrights Horizons), Ruined (Goodman Theatre and Manhattan Theatre Club), Queens Boulevard (the musical), Paradise Park (Signature Theatre Company), Microcrisis, The Children of Vonderly (Ma-Yi Theatre Company). Rich Boyfriend (The New Group).  Off-Off-Broadway: In Quietness, They Float Up, Neglect, Bike Wreck, (Ensemble Studio Theater), Stomp Shout! (Babel Theater), The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G (Vampire Cowboys Theater Company).  TV & Film: “Law and Order,” “Law and Order: CI,” “All Good Things,” “That’s What She Said,” “The Electric Company,” “Mercy,” “30 Rock.”

Jesse J. Perez (Don Pedro, Borachio, Ursula).  Shakespeare on the Sound: Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Iago in Othello.  Off-Broadway: Triple Happiness (Second Stage Uptown), Barrio Girl (Summer Play Festival), Recent Tragic Events (Playwrights Horizons), In the Penal Colony (Classic Stage Company), Up Against the Wind (New York Theatre Workshop). Regional: Candide (The Goodman and The Shakespeare Theatre Company), The Servant of Two Masters, Lulu, The Cherry Orchard, and Taming of the Shrew (Yale Repertory Theatre), The Hard Weather Boating Party (Humana Festival of New American Plays), Arabian Nights and Argonautika (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), Celebrity Row (Portland Center Stage), Hamlet (McCarter Theatre Center), Lucia di Lammermoor (The Metropolitan Opera). Choreography: Jesse started choreographing in 2003 when Brian Mertes asked him to do a dance for The Seagull at the Lake Lucille Chekhov Project.  He's done the project every year since, choreographing all of Chekhov's major works.  He also did all the choreography for The Greeks and The Americans Part 1 at The Juilliard School.  He has directed and choreographed The Lorca Project also at Juilliard and recently choreographed Steel Magnolias at (Trinity Rep). Film/TV: Enter Nowhere, American Splendor, “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Life on Mars,” “Third Watch,” “The Job.”  Training: The Juilliard School.

Orlando Pabotoy (Don John, Dogberry, Margaret) is making his Shakespeare on the Sound debut. He has performed for the Met Opera House, The Public Theater, The Globe Theater, Yale Rep, The Kirk Douglas Theater, and in numerous Off-Broadway shows.  His Television/Film credits include three seasons on “Strangers With Candy” with Stephen Colbert and Amy Sedaris (Comedy Central), and guest starring on “JAG” (CBS), “In the Weeds” (Independent Feature), “Blue Hour,” “The Beat” (WB) and “Whoopi” (NBC).  He has taught for the Juilliard School, the Graduate Acting Programs at NYU, UCSD, University of Texas in Austin, The Old Globe, Cal Arts, for the Public Theater’s Summer Lab and USC.  Orlando also taught for Cal State Long Beach and at the Actors Center in New York.  He is currently a faculty member for the Tisch School of the Arts' Drama Department.  Orlando teaches internationally in both the Netherlands and Italy.  He has created and directed shows Off-Broadway for The Juilliard School, University of Southern California, The Ma-yi Theater Company, and The Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis.  He is a co-founder of Studio Six Los Angeles, school of clowning and is a recipient of a John Houseman Award, Fox Fellowship, and an OBIE award.

Ramsey Faragallah (Leonato) is making his Shakespeare on the Sound debut. Theater: The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center Lab, The Public Theater, Hartford Stage, Manhattan Theater Club, Yale Rep, South Coast Repertory, New York Stage & Film, New York Theater Workshop, The Lark, Grove Shakespeare, and Culture Project.  Television: “Blue Bloods,” “The Good Wife,” “Army Wives,” “Betrayed,” “Flight of the Conchords,” “30 Rock,” “The Sopranos,” all of the “Law & Orders,” “The Watch List,” “The Unusuals,” “Life on Mars,” “Conan O'Brian.”  He is a regular on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and has been in the films of Sidney Pollack, Sidney Lumet, Tony Gilroy, and Woody Allen, among others. 

Chivas Michael (Balthasar).  Shakespeare on the Sound: A Midsummer Night’s Dream. OFF-BROADWAY: Brooklyn Omnibus (Brooklyn Academy of Music), Romeo & Juliet (Classic Stage Co), The Broadway Problem (Lincoln Center Concert), The Total Bent (workshop, Public Theatre), Sliding into the Beast (NYTW). Regional: A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum (Williamstown Theater Festival), Hamlet (Tulane Shakespeare Festival), A Chorus Line, Oklahoma! (Porthouse Theatre), Flyin’ West, Once on This Island, I Am a Man (Mahogany Theatre).Film/TV: Fish: The True Story of a Boy in a Man's Prison (Fish films).  NYU: The Winter’s Tale, Our Lady of 121st St., Kalakkuta Show, Rocket to the Moon, Gem of the Ocean, A Month in the Country, A Raisin in the Sun.  Other: El Haj Milik, The Wiz (Dillard University).  Training:BA, Dillard University; MFA, NYU Graduate Acting Program.

James O’Reilly (Dogberry’s Men) lives in Redding.  He has been acting since middle school, but became serious about it when he started working with Shakespeare two years ago.  O’Reilly has acted in many of Shakespeare’s plays such as Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, Othello, and As You Like It.  He is extremely excited to add Much Ado About Nothing to the list.

Jithendra Seneviratne (Dogberry’s Men) is a graduate student from Sri Lanka studying theatre at Sarah Lawrence College (NY).  Although he began studying theatre academically for the first time at Sarah Lawrence, he has been involved in serious theatre since he was fifteen years old.  His first taste of proficient theatre came when he was cast as Angelo in a high school production of Measure for Measure.  Since then, he has taken part in numerous plays and musicals in Sri Lanka, the most notable of which was Blood Brothers is 2007, in which he played Edward Lyons.  He is currently concentrating on the art of playwriting.

Jacob Presson (Dogberry’s Men) is thrilled to be making his professional debut in Much Ado About Nothing.  High School credits include Our Town, The Taming of the Shrew, The Music Man, Arabian Nights, and Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.  He served as the lighting assistant for Richard 3, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic with heavy metal that was featured in the NYC Fringe Festival of 2010.  He is a member of the Marymount Manhattan College class of 2015, where he will be majoring in Theatre Performance. 

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Last modified on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 15:44