Much Ado About Shakespeare in the Park

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Georgia ShakespeareGeorgia Shakespeare brings Atlanta’s favorite outdoor theatre tradition back to Piedmont Park this May with “Shakespeare in the Park.” Formerly known as “Shake at the Lake,” the event now has a new name to reflect its move in 2012 to a new location at the Legacy Fountain.

At this year’s event, Georgia Shakespeare will present Much Ado About Nothing May 1 through 5 at 7:30 p.m., with picnicking before and during the performances. On a spring night under the stars, the beautiful outdoor venue is the perfect place to present Shakespeare’s beloved romantic comedy.

Directed by Suzi Award-Winning Georgia Shakespeare’s Producing Artistic Director Richard Garner, this production turns up the heat with sizzling costumes, a sexy setting, and red-hot romances on the hillsides of Sicily.

Passions ignite when a troop of young soldiers arrive in steamy Messina, Italy. Claudio, played by Eugene H. Russell IV, quickly falls in love with the governor’s daughter Hero, portrayed by Ann Marie Gideon. Meanwhile Benedick (Associate Artist Joe Knezevich) resumes a battle of wits with her cousin Beatrice (Associate Artist Courtney Patterson) that began years ago.

As Claudio and Hero scheme to trick Beatrice and Benedick into falling in love, other members of the household are plotting to break up Claudio and Hero, setting off a series of misunderstandings that lead to some truly hilarious moments. Audiences will relish the bumbling antics of Georgia Shakespeare Associate Artist Chris Kayser and newcomer Veronica Duerr as the well-meaning but ridiculous officers Dogberry and Verges.

Just as the characters are about to burst with their love for each other, the set design by Kat Conley also evokes a sense of eruption. Plant life bursts with blooms and explodes with greenery, overflowing planters and beds like lava. In the sultry costumes by Sydney Roberts, characters also seem to want to break out of their confines, if even just to squelch the heat of the Italian summer.

With convenient parking, indoor restrooms, and space for 1,800, Shakespeare in the Park is more patron-friendly than ever. Patrons can purchase reserved tables for six, chairs, or general admission tickets. Limited free tickets will also be available on a first come, first serve basis on April 20 and 27 at the Piedmont Park Green Market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. New this year, Happy Belly Food Truck will have dinners available for purchase at each performance.

This event is made possible with the support of a three-year, $300,000 grant from the Charles Loridans Foundation, and a challenge grant from the Wilhelmina D. and John H. Harland Charitable Foundation.

Performances are Wednesday through Sunday at 7:30 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.gashakespeare.org or call the Georgia Shakespeare Box Office at 404-504-1473.